What is your level of understanding of the many moral, ideological, and political issues that student affairs educators regularly encounter? What is your personal responsibility to addressing these issues? What are the rationales behind your decisions? What are the theoretical perspectives you might choose and why? How do your responses compare with those of colleagues?
Contested Issues in Student Affairs augments traditional introductory handbooks that focus on functional areas (e.g., residence life, career services) and organizational issues. It fills a void by addressing the social, educational and moral concepts and concerns of student affairs work that transcend content areas and administrative units, such as the tensions between theory and practice, academic affairs and student affairs, risk taking and failure; and such as issues of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and spirituality. It places learning and social justice at the epicentre of student affairs practice.
The book addresses these issues by asking 24 critical and contentious questions that go to the heart of contemporary educational practice. Intended equally for future student affairs educators in graduate preparation programs, and as reading for professional development workshops, it is designed to stimulate reflection and prompt readers to clarify their own thinking and practice as they confront the complexities of higher education.
Student affairs faculty, administrators, and graduate students here situate these 24 questions historically in the professional literature, present background information and context, define key terms, summarize the diverse ideological and theoretical responses to the questions, make explicit their own perspectives and responses, discuss their political implications, and set them in the context of the changing nature of student affairs work.
Each chapter is followed by a response that offers additional perspectives and complications, reminding readers of the ambiguity and complexity of many situations.
Each chapter concludes with a brief annotated bibliography of seminal works that offer additional information on the topic, as well as with a URL to a moderated blog site that encourages further conversation on each topic and allows readers to teach and learn from each other, and interact with colleagues beyond their immediate campus. The website invites readers to post blogs, respond to each other, and upload relevant resources. The book aims to serve as a conversation starter to engage professionals in on-going dialogue about these complex and enduring challenges.