ARU Responsibilities in The Field of Student Affairs Discussion Reply

Respond to Kathleen:

The profession of student affairs has grown to accommodate changing cultures and generations, particularly since the 1960s and 1970s (Long, 2012). Since then, the field of student affairs has rooted itself in student development theories to inform the way institutions attend to students beyond the classroom. Student affairs professionals are called to help the students at a college or university in a variety of ways. Student affairs departments may vary slightly between institutions but an underlying theme is to support students’ well-being. Long identifies values for student affairs professionals to maintain to serve students well. Some values include caring for students as individual people, advocating for social justice equality, and enhancing the community at-large to promote belonging.

In order to promote well-being, student affairs professionals support students in a variety of ways. According to Preston et al. (2021), most student affairs professionals have supported students who had experienced trauma. Trauma impacts people in a variety of ways, including symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can inhibit an individual’s ability to meet his or her basic needs. The difficulty with meeting one’s own basic needs may negatively affect academics, work, interpersonal relationships, and other aspects of one’s life. Because things like trauma can interfere with a student’s well-being, it is critical for student affairs staff to understand how to attune to students’ needs so they can go on to have a successful college experience.

On a deeper level, Christians have a higher calling to serve one another. Student affairs presents an opportunity to serve others in an impactful way. In Matthew 25, Jesus explained The Final Judgment, where He reminded His disciples, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (New International Version, 2011/1973, Matt. 25:40). Jesus’ words continue to speak to His followers now, where we as Christians can work hard to take care of each other. The mentality of service was important on Jesus’ time on earth, and is a helpful model to use even today in the field of student affairs.

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