Volume I, Issue 3                                                                                                                    October 27, 2015
Student Affairs @ SVSU
What is it? Why does it exist? And, where does it fit in the organizational structure?
What is Student Affairs? According to the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, "the work done by student affairs professionals helps students begin a lifetime journey of growth and self-exploration" (NASPA, 2015).

If you compare student affairs organizations from one campus to another, the likelihood is you'll not find two alike. Currently at SVSU, the student affairs departments consist of the dean of students, campus recreation and fitness programs, military student affairs, residential life, student conduct programs, student counseling services, the student life center and student wellness programs. Two years ago, the configuration at SVSU looked slightly different, which suggests that the mission of student affairs may be relevant to other institutional resources. A comparison to our sister institution, CMU, reveals that their student affairs organization excludes the departments of recreation/fitness, military student affairs and student wellness programs, but adds career services and sexual aggression services.  If we move on to GV, no surprise, we find yet another completely different org chart.
It might be of value to also contrast student affairs with student services, as they are sometimes used interchangeably. Student services are typically those departments where students manage some type of transaction related to their enrollment, such as admissions, financial aid, registrar's, etc. Student affairs departments focus on student development topics and concerns. To add to the confusion between the two, some institutions combine student affairs and student services departments in the same division of the university, as was the case at SVSU from 1996 - 2010.
Why does student affairs exist? On to a very brief lesson in history: In 1870, Harvard named Professor Ephraim Gurney as its "dean of students". The President of Harvard appointed him in order to take the task of disciplinarian off of his desk (Cook, 1999). But even before that, colleges acted "in loco parentis" (in place of the parents) when it came to dealing with issues outside the classroom (Nuss, 1996). Student activities, such as debate clubs and campus publications became part of the culture in early institutions of higher education. While faculty may have been the initial advisors to these, the emergence of other extra-curricular student activities, such as recreation, saw higher education institutions hiring non-academic personnel to oversee most out-of-class programs.
To quote our Provost, "Students are not just learning robots that shut down once they leave the classroom." Universities have embraced the fact that we can and should guide students to make use of their time outside the classroom to expand their professional and personal development. It has become our job as student affairs professionals to foster and promote these opportunities.
In a sidebar with a peer reviewer during the 2014 HLC site visit, the two of us sketched out this graphic to explain how student affairs fits into the goal of contributing to students' personal and professional development.
Academic experiences are explained as those that occur in the formal classroom environment. Co-curricular are opportunities that stem from classroom, major or faculty initiatives. At SVSU, examples could be Moot Court and undergraduate research.

Extra-curricular experiences are typically activities in which student engage during their discretionary (free) time. In each category of engagement, students have the opportunity to acquire competencies that may transfer to future employment. Besides developing competency and knowledge in a major/minor, students can learn and practice various "soft" skills identified by employers as valuable in the workforce, represented in the green area of the chart. Examples of extra-curricular experiences may include serving as an officer of a student club, participating in a service travel program, taking part in a recreational program ... and much, much more. Students often cite these as life-changing and transformational ... sometimes guiding them to new career goals.
Where does student affairs fit in the higher educational structure? As a profession, student affairs spends considerable time studying its value in the higher education schemata. We continually seek to be a valuable partner to academic affairs contributing to student satisfaction, success and persistence.
That brings the conversation to the present. In future issues of the [email protected] News, the student affairs staff will share programs and activities describing our contribution to student growth and persistence that we've already implemented. We may also offer suggestions for initiatives that could be shaped through collaboration with academic affairs partners at SVSU. Stay tuned!
Merry Jo Brandimore
Associate Provost for Student Affairs/Dean of Students
Cook, Sandra. "A Chronology of Academic Advising in America." 1999.
"NASPA |www.naspa.org/about." Web. Oct. 2015.
Nuss, E. The Development of Student Affairs. In Komives, Susan R., and Dudley Woodard, eds. "Student Services: A Handbook for the Profession." 4th edition.San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1996. 22-42. Print.
Check out our new site!
As an additional way to communicate information from Academic & Student Affairs, a new web presence for ASA has been created. You can find the new site at svsu.edu/asa. Please let us know what you think! You may send your comments, questions or suggestions to [email protected]

Visit the new ASA site 
Upcoming Events

Date & Time

Location & Notes

Cardinal Talks

Every Friday @ 11:45 am

Unity Room

Cozette Phillips Exhibition

October 12 - November 13
beginning @ 11 am
University Art Gallery

Health Lecture:
Immunizations for all

Wednesday October, 28 @ 7pm

Gilbertson Hall
Ott Auditorium
Edwards Lecture
Thursday, October 29 @ 7 pm
Founders Hall
Introduction to the Curriculum Management Process Using Curriculog
Friday, Oct. 30 @ 10 am

C 227A
Click here to register

Annual Hoffman/Willertz Lecture delivered by Dr. Jennifer Stinson
"Laboring in Bondage in a Free Land: Remembering the 19th-Century Midwest's Enslaved and Indentured African Americans"
Wednesday, November 4 @ 4 pm

Rhea Miller Recital

Townes Miller Recital

Monday, November 9 @ 7:30 pm

Rhea Miller Recital Hall
Empowering Women & Children in Nepal with Scott & Sunita MacLennan
Tuesday, November 10 from
4:30 - 6:30 pm

Founders Hall

Developing a Meaningful Non-Profit Organization:
Founders Scott & Sunita MacLennan of the Mountain Fund will be at SVSU to discuss their work in Nepal.
Wednesday, November 11 from
10 - 11:30 am

Rhea Miller Recital Hall 

What We're Reading
  • (ARTICLE) Pollack, E. (2015,October 10). What Really Keeps Women Out of Tech. The New York Times. Retrieved October 27, 2015. Link to Article
    Recommended by: Deb Huntley
    Link to Article
  • (ARTICLE) Huber, C., & Kuncel, N. (2015). Does College Teach Critical Thinking? A Meta-Analysis. Review of Educational Research. Retrieved October 27, 2015, from http://rer.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/09/16/0034654315605917.full
    Recommended by: David Callejo-Pérez
    Link to Article
  • (ARTICLE) Lukianoff, G., & Haidt, J. (2015). The Coddling of the American Mind. The Atlantic, September 2015. Retrieved October 27, 2015. 
    Recommended by: Deb Huntley
    Link to Article
    Provost will treat the first 15 people to sign up to a lunch discussion on this topic. To sign up, click HERE.
Staff Profiles

Janet Rentsch
Director of Sponsored Programs

Janet has worked at SVSU since 1994 initially as adjunct faculty and then full-time for 2 years. She moved to Sponsored Programs to coordinate and manage projects and became Director in 2003. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois and her graduate degree at the University of Louisville. She is married to Stefan and lives in Midland. Their four sons are married and grand-baby #5 is due in January. In her free time, she is the Teaching Leader for a Bible Study Fellowship Evening Women's class in Midland for over 200 women and 50 children. She loves working out at Pure Barre in Saginaw. She loves her job at SVSU working with faculty and staff.
James Wright
Resident Director Pine Grove Resident Life

James is  from a small community in northwest Alabama. He graduated from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa (Roll Tide!) in December of 2010 with a double major in Communication and Political Science. After graduation, James moved to South Korea, where he taught English for four years, initially at the kindergarten level, and, eventually, at the university level. He's only been at SVSU for a month, but says "I'm hooked." It's always a GREAT day to be a Cardinal!

Michelle Strasz
Research & Online Course Support Librarian

Michelle is a newly hired librarian, joining the Zahnow library staff this past July. She assists students with their research needs, provides library support through Canvas and teaches library instruction classes. She is a library liaison to the Computer Science and Sociology Departments. She earned her MLIS from Wayne State University and her BA (in Political Science) from Saginaw Valley State University. Michelle is happy to be back at SVSU! Michelle enjoys working with her co-workers to educate students on research and to facilitate their success at SVSU and as life-long learners. Michelle is married to Joel and they live in Bay City with their two sons, James and Daniel, as well as their golden retriever puppy, Lucy. Michelle loves watching her sons play sports, as well as traveling, bike riding, and gardening.

To submit a staff profile to be featured in an upcoming edition:  Click Here

To submit articles or readings for consideration, email to [email protected]