Cover Page



George S. McClellan,
Jeremy Stringer
and Associates


Title Page

List of Figures, Tables, and Exhibits


  1. 7.1 Chickering's Seven Vectors
  2. 7.2 Tinto's (1993) College Student Retention Theory
  3. 9.1 First-Time Full-Time Students Starting Fall 2006
  4. 9.2 Full-Time Transfer Students Starting Fall 2006
  5. 10.1 Domains of Ethical Responsibility


  1. 9.1 Resources for Theories, Practices, and Programs Related to Student Retention
  2. 10.1 Components of Ethical Deliberation and Action
  3. 11.1 Regional Accreditation Organizations' Jurisdiction
  4. 18.1 Traditional Models of Student Affairs Practice
  5. 18.2 Innovative Models of Student Affairs Practice
  6. 20.1 ACPA and NASPA Professional Competency Areas
  7. 20.2 The CAS Curriculum
  8. 20.3 The Nature of Professional Development
  9. 20.4 Sample Professional Development Activities and the PREPARE Model
  10. 20.5 Examples of Continuing Professional Development by Primary Sources of Delivery
  11. 21.1 Seven Types of Student Affairs-Faculty Interaction


  1. 12.1 A Sample Listing of Professional Associations

NASPA—Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education

NASPA is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. We serve a full range of professionals who provide programs, experiences, and services that cultivate student learning and success in concert with the mission of our colleges and universities. Established in 1918 and founded in 1919, NASPA comprises of fourteen thousand members in all fifty states, twenty-five countries, and eight US territories.

Through high-quality professional development, strong policy advocacy, and substantive research to inform practice, NASPA meets the diverse needs and invests in realizing the potential of all its members under the guiding principles of integrity, innovation, inclusion, and inquiry. NASPA members serve a variety of functions and roles, including the vice president and dean for student life, as well as professionals working within housing and residence life, student unions, student activities, counseling, career development, orientation, enrollment management, racial and ethnic minority support services, and retention and assessment.

For more information about NASPA publications and professional development programs, contact:

NASPA—Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education

111 K Street NE, 10th Floor

Washington, DC 20002



This is the fourth edition of the Handbook of Student Affairs Administration (HSAA4). Like its predecessors, HSAA4 is intended to serve as a practical and informative resource for those interested in the student affairs profession. Drawing on both the classic and contemporary literature of the field, and making use of case studies and examples from a diversity of institutional settings, HSAA4 includes information on the administrative environment of student affairs, organizational and administrative models of student affairs, core competencies needed by professionals, professional development models, and current and future issues facing the profession.

The handbook is organized in seven broad constructs, the first six of which mirror those in previous edition. The seven constructs are

  1. Contexts of professional practice
  2. Frameworks of professional practice
  3. Students: the reason for our professional practice
  4. Human resources in professional practice
  5. Interpersonal dynamics in professional practice
  6. Skills and competencies of professional practice
  7. Looking back and looking forward in professional practice

Although it shares a similar organizational structure to the previous version, the fourth edition of the Handbook for Student Affairs Administration includes a number of changes in content. The chapters on governance, pursuing a doctoral degree, programming, and facilities have been set aside for a number of new chapters. These include chapters on student affairs as teaching and learning; student success; helping students prepare for lives of purpose; intercollegiate athletics, recreation, and student-athletes, friend raising and fund raising; and changing roles and responsibilities in student affairs. In addition, the recurring chapters have been revised and refreshed to include an emphasis on emerging student populations, changes in technology, and contemporary legal and policy issues.

Another tradition of the Handbook of Student Affairs Administration is the quality of its contributing authors. The authors in this edition include the profession's most prominent scholars and practitioners as well as some its outstanding emerging voices. The contributors reflect the diversity of student affairs with regard to personal characteristics, professional experience, and institutional setting.


HSAA4 is written to meet the needs of entry-, mid-, and senior-level student affairs practitioners. It will also be helpful to those entering the profession from the faculty, administrative realignment, and other pathways. Finally, it serves as a resource for graduate students and graduate faculty in college student affairs or higher education programs.


We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the authors who have generously contributed their energies and insights to this handbook. You are a truly remarkable group of scholars and practitioners, and working with you has been both an honor and a pleasure.

We are grateful to Erin Null, Alison Knowles, and Shauna Robinson from Jossey-Bass, who have been encouraging, helpful, and supportive travel companions on this journey. We also thank Peggy Barr, Mary Desler, and David Brightman for their contributions to the success of this handbook over the years.

We acknowledge the support we received from NASPA and the NASPA staff, particularly Gwen Dungy and Kevin Kruger, as we planned for our work on this edition. NASPA has been a partner throughout the handbook's history, and we are delighted to continue the tradition of having a portion of the proceeds from sales support the NASPA Foundation.

George McClellan is thankful to his colleagues at Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), particularly the incredible Student Affairs and Enrollment Management team, for their dedication to the success of students. Thanks also to Chancellor Vicky Carwein for her support of his professional and scholarly activities and to Danita Davis for her warm smile, encouraging words, and gentle reminders of where to go and when to be there. Jeremy Stringer thanks Seattle University for employing him for more than three decades and allowing him to follow his passions, which sometimes turned out to be different than either party could have predicted thirty years ago. His work on this volume was eased by the approval of a year-long sabbatical, for which he is most grateful.

Jeremy Stringer is deeply appreciative of the opportunity to work in higher education, a circumstance made possible by his loving parents who provided him with the gift of a college education. We can only imagine how our world would be different if everyone could be so fortunate. He is especially thankful for the love and support of his wife, Susan, and his three incredible daughters, Shannon, Kelly, and Courtney. George McClellan is thankful for the friendship and support of Steve Grud, Jason Laker, Peter Lake, Joe Minonne, and the combined Practical Theater/Riffmaster and the Rockme Foundation nation. He is also thankful to the inventors of the Don Dog, the dollar menu, and deep dish pizza.

Finally, we thank both our students and our colleagues in student affairs. Students are the reason we do what we do, and they have taught us both so many wonderful lessons along the way. We are awed and honored that you continue to allow us to be a part of the pursuit of your dreams. As for our professional colleagues, we are grateful that you share our passion for serving students and for the ways in which your work inspires and informs our own. It is our most sincere hope that this handbook will help you serve students and therefore help students to be successful.

George S. McClellan
Jeremy Stringer

The Authors

Josie Ahlquist is a nationally recognized speaker on digital identity and leadership, and her research explores the intersection of digital communication technologies and leadership. Her blog, which focuses on higher education, social media, and leadership, is available at Follow her on Twitter at @josieahlquist.

Victor Arcelus is the dean of student life at Connecticut College. He has worked in higher education for more than fifteen years. He has recently contributed to Contested Issues in Student Affairs: Diverse Perspectives and Respectful Dialogue and Campus Housing Management.

Margaret J. Barr is professor emerita in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University and is retired vice president for student affairs at that same institution. She is the author, coauthor, editor, or coeditor of numerous chapters and books. Among her most recent works are Making Change Happen in Student Affairs: Challenges and Strategies (with George S. McClellan and Arthur Sandeen); Budgets and Financial Management in Higher Education (with George S. McClellan), and the Handbook for Student Affairs Administration (second edition with Mary Desler). She was named by NASPA as a John T. Blackburn Distinguished Pillar of the Profession.

Stan Carpenter is dean of the College of Education at Texas State University, where he was previously the chair of the Counseling, Leadership, Adult Education, and School Psychology Department. He has served as the executive director of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) and as editor/chair of the ACPA Media Board, as well as on the NASPA Board of Directors and the NASPA Foundation Board. He is author or coauthor of more than one hundred articles, chapters, and other works, most recently on professional development in student affairs and on scholarship as an ethos for student affairs.

Linda M. Clement is the vice president for student affairs at the University of Maryland, where since 1974 she has served in a variety of roles. Clement was a Trustee and Chair for The College Board and has authored numerous journal articles and book chapters, as well as her own book, Effective Leaders in Student Services: Voices from the Field.

Michael D. Coomes is Associate Professor Emeritus of Higher Education and Student Affairs at Bowling Green State University. He is the editor of three volumes in the Jossey-Bass New Directions for Student Services series, coauthor of numerous national and international higher education journal articles, and codeveloper of the Student Affairs History Project ( He is the recipient of the 2013–14 Master Teacher of the Year award from Bowling Green State University.

Anita Crawley is the chief student services officer for the California Community College Online Education Initiative Launch Team. Her book, Supporting Online Students: A Guide to Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Services, was published in 2012.

Pamela C. Crosby is coeditor of the Journal of College and Character. A Milken Family National Award Educator, she is a former high school teacher and department chair, past associate editor of the American Journal of Theology and Philosophy, and past chief editor of the Character Clearinghouse.

Jon C. Dalton is emeritus professor of Higher Education and former vice president for student affairs at Florida State University. He served as president of NASPA and was an ACPA Senior Scholar. He serves as coeditor of the Journal of College and Character.

Zebulun R. Davenport serves as the vice chancellor for student life at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. He is coauthor of First-Generation College Students–Understanding and Improving the Experience from Recruitment to Commencement (with Lee Ward and Michael Siegel) and has also contributed chapters to other publications.

Tracy L. Davis serves as professor in the Department of Educational and Interdisciplinary Studies at Western Illinois University, where he also coordinates the College Student Personnel Program. In 2011 he began serving as founding director of the Center for the Study of Masculinities and Men's Development. His most recent authored and edited books include Advancing Social Justice: Tools, Pedagogies, and Strategies to Transform Your Campus (with Laura Harrison), Masculinities in Higher Education: Theoretical and Practical Considerations (with Jason Laker), and the ASHE Reader: Critical Perspectives on Gender in Higher Education (with Rebecca Ropers-Huilman, Ana Martínez Alemán, Susan Marine, and Kelly Winters).

Tiffany J. Davis is a teaching assistant professor at North Carolina State University, where she also serves as coordinator of the Higher Education Master's Program. Davis's research reflects her desire to conduct research that helps practitioners do their work in the most effective way possible, and it examines the process we use to prepare student affairs professionals.

David Eberhardt currently serves as the vice president for student development at Birmingham-Southern College. His scholarly interests have focused on the ethical and spiritual development of college students, and he has written for and serves as an editor for the Journal of College and Character.

Shannon Ellis is vice president of student services at the University of Nevada, Reno. She served as president of NASPA and has edited and authored numerous publications including Dreams, Nightmares and Pursuing the Passion: Personal Perspectives on College and University Leadership; Strategic Planning in Student Affairs; The Association of Governing Board's Student Affairs Committee Handbook; and Exceptional Leadership: SSAO Strategies and Competencies for Success.

Nancy J. Evans retired from Iowa State University, where she was professor in the School of Education and coordinator of the masters program in student affairs. She served as president of ACPA-College Student Educators International and has been honored by ACPA with the Contribution to Knowledge Award. She was named an ACPA Annuit Coeptis Senior Professional and Senior Scholar. She is a member of the Journal of College Student Development editorial board and past editor of ACPA Books and Media.

Joy Gaston Gayles is an associate professor of higher education at North Carolina State University. Her research focuses on the college student experience and how those experiences affect desired outcomes of undergraduate education, most notably for student athletes as well as women and under-represented minorities in STEM fields. She has been published in the Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, and the Journal of College Student Development. In addition, she serves on the editorial board for the Journal of College Student Development.

Janice Gerda is the director of residence life at Case Western Reserve University and teaches at Kent State University. She has worked in student affairs for more than twenty-five years, previously as a member of the communities of Grinnell College, the University of Virginia, and Bowling Green State University.

Sean Gehrke is a doctoral candidate and researcher in the Pullias Center for Higher Education at the University of Southern California. His research focuses on organizational issues in higher education regarding social networks, leadership, and organizational change, as well as how the college environment and student experiences influence learning and development. His research has been published in the Journal of College Student Development and Educational Policy, as well as several book chapters in edited volumes relating to leadership and college student spirituality.

Stephanie A. Gordon is the vice president for professional development at NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. Her research interests include retention and persistence of first- generation and underrepresented student populations, as well as mental health and wellness within the context of student learning and success.

Kevin R. Guidry is the senior research analyst in the Center for Teaching & Assessment of Learning at the University of Delaware. He has been conducting research in students' and student affairs professionals' use of technology for more than a decade. His blog is available at, where you can also find his contact information.

Joan B. Hirt is professor of Higher Education Administration in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Virginia Tech. She has also served as the interim director of the School of Education and Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at the University.

Mary Howard-Hamilton is a professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Leadership at Indiana State University. She has authored or coauthored numerous articles, chapters, and books. Her areas of research are multicultural identity development and diversity issues in higher education.

Andy Howe has more than twenty years of professional experience in private and public universities and community colleges in student affairs, academic affairs, and retention initiatives. His professional interests, research, and experience include strategic planning, assessment and evaluation, student learning and support technologies, diversity and inclusion, and organizational change.

Adrianna Kezar is a professor of higher education and codirector of the Pullias Center for Higher Education at the University of Southern California. Kezar is well published with fourteen books, more than seventy-five journal articles, and more than one hundred book chapters and reports. Her recent books include How Colleges Change, Enhancing Campus Capacity for Leadership, and Recognizing and Serving Low Income Students.

Jillian Kinzie is the associate director for the Center for Postsecondary Research and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Institute at Indiana University Bloomington. She is coauthor of Student Success in College: Creating Conditions that Matter; and One Size Does Not Fit All: Traditional and Innovative Models of Student Affairs Practice. She is on the editorial board of the Journal of College Student Development.

Susan R. Komives is professor emerita in the Student Affairs Program at the University of Maryland after forty-three years in student affairs. She is past president of the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) and of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). She served as vice president of two colleges and is the author or editor of a dozen books or monographs, including Student Services: A Handbook for the Profession, Exploring Leadership, Leadership for a Better World, and the Handbook for Student Leadership Development. She is the 2012 recipient of the ACPA Life Time Achievement Award and the 2013 Leadership and Service Award from the Association of Leadership Educators.

Linda Kuk currently serves as the program chair for the Higher Education Leadership Program in the School of Education at Colorado State University and is an associate professor of Education. Prior to her return to the faculty in 2006, she served as the vice president of Student Affairs at Colorado State University, her alma mater. Kuk is the coauthor or coeditor of three books: Positioning Student Affairs for Sustainable Change; New Realities: Emerging Specialist Roles and Structures in Student Affairs Organizations; and The Handbook for Student Affairs in Community Colleges. She has published more than twenty-seven articles in referred journals, as well as numerous book chapters and presentations.

Jason Laker is a professor of Counselor Education (and former vice president) at San José State University. His scholarly work includes two edited texts regarding gender and men's development, one each in the United States and Canada; and two texts coedited with colleagues in Spain and Croatia focused on the role of postsecondary institutions in fostering citizenship and democratic education, comparing the contexts of Eastern and Western Europe, and North America.

John Wesley Lowery is department chair and professor in the Student Affairs in Higher Education Department at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is a frequent speaker and author on topics related to student affairs and higher education, particularly legislative issues and student conduct, on which he is widely regarding as a leading expert.

Marilee Bresciani Ludvik is professor of Postsecondary Educational Leadership at San Diego State University, where she coordinates the certificate in institutional research, planning, and assessment, and the doctorate in community college/postsecondary education leadership. Her research focuses on outcomes-based assessment, program review effectiveness, and the role of intuition in evidence-based decision making.

Peter Magolda is a professor in Miami University's Student Affairs in Higher Education Program. His scholarship focuses on ethnographic studies of college subcultures and critical issues in qualitative research. He is coeditor of Contested Issues in Student Affairs and Job One 2.0: Understanding the Next Generation of Student Affairs Professionals. Magolda is the author of books, chapters, and journal articles on a variety of topics related to student affairs.

Sherry L. Mallory serves as dean of student affairs of Revelle College at the University of California, San Diego, and is an adjunct faculty member at San Diego State University. She has worked in the field of higher education for nearly twenty years as a faculty member and administrator at the University of Arizona, University of Arkansas, and Western Washington University.

George S. McClellan serves as the vice chancellor for Student Affairs at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). He is a member of the editorial board for NASPA's Journal of College and Character and served in a similar role for a number of years for ACPA's Journal of College Student Development. In addition to collaborating on a number of articles and chapters, McClellan is coauthor or coeditor of Making Change Happen in Student Affairs: Challenges and Strategies (with Margaret J. Barr and Arthur Sandeen); The Handbook for College Athletics and Recreation Management (with Chris King and Don Rockey); Stepping Up to Stepping Out: Preparing Students for Life after College (with Jill Parker); The Handbook for Student Affairs Administration (third edition, with Jeremy Stringer); Budgets and Financial Management in Higher Education (with Margaret Barr); In Search of Safer Communities: Emerging Practices for Student Affairs in Addressing Campus Violence (with Peggy Jablonski and colleagues); Ahead of the Game: Understanding and Addressing Campus Gambling (with Tom Hardy and Jim Caswell); and Serving Native American Students in Higher Education (with Maryjo Tippeconnic Fox and Shelly Lowe).

Michele C. Murray is vice president for student development at Seattle University. Murray serves on several executive boards, including the Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators and the Center for Women. With Robert Nash, she coauthored both Helping College Students Find Purpose: The Campus Guide to Meaning Making and Teaching College Students Communication Strategies for Effective Social Justice Advocacy.

Robert J. Nash has been a professor in the College of Education and Social Services, University of Vermont, Burlington, for forty-five years. He has published more than 110 refereed articles, fifteen books, and numerous book chapters, monographs, and essay book reviews. He is a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Religion & Education and a regular contributor to About Campus.

Dale Nienow is executive director of the Center for Ethical Leadership, a nonprofit that builds leadership to advance the common good. He co-led the national Kellogg Leadership for Community Change program on behalf of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and served on the Seattle University Student Development Master's Degree Program Advisory Board and as senior adjunct instructor.

Anna M. Ortiz is professor and department chair of Educational Leadership at California State Long Beach. She has worked in higher education as an administrator and faculty member for thirty years. Her research interests include ethnic identity, Latino/a college students, professional development of faculty and student affairs administrators, and multicultural understanding. She has authored or edited numerous publications, including Ethnicity in College.

Brett Perozzi is the associate vice president for student affairs at Weber State University. He currently serves as the chair of NASPA's International Advisory Board and has written book chapters, articles, and monographs on international education and student affairs.

Enrique Ramos is a former national director for student affairs at the Tecnológico de Monterrey in México. He served as a member of the NASPA board of directors and has written articles on student affairs.

Jessica J. Ranero-Ramirez is the coordinator of the Transition Center at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas. She has a passion for equity, access, social justice, and student success.

Tony Ribera is the director of program evaluation at Indiana University School of Medicine. In this role, he oversees the statewide evaluation of the medical school curriculum and facilitates the various institutional processes to review and use assessment and evaluation data. His research interests include how student affairs professionals are prepared to collect and use evidence of teaching and learning.

Claire K. Robbins, assistant professor of higher education at Virginia Tech, has published more than ten articles, book chapters, and other publications She has more than ten years of experience in higher education and student affairs administration, research, and teaching at public and private colleges and universities.

Arthur Sandeen served as vice president for student affairs and as professor of educational leadership at the University of Florida. He is the author of numerous articles, chapters, and books. Among his recent books are Making Change Happen in Student Affairs: Challenges and Strategies (with Margaret J. Barr and George S. McClellan); Enhancing Leadership in Colleges and Universities; and Enhancing Student Engagement on Campus. A past president of NASPA, in 2001, he was the recipient of the John L. Blackburn Distinguished Service Award from the NASPA Foundation.

John H. Schuh is director of the School of Education and distinguished professor of educational leadership and policy studies at Iowa State University. Schuh is the author, coauthor, or editor of more than 235 publications, including 28 books and monographs, 75 book chapters, and more than 110 articles. Among his books are Assessment Methods for Student Affairs, One Size Does Not Fit All: Traditional and Innovative Models of Student Affairs Practice (with Kathleen Manning and Jillian Kinzie), and Student Success in College (with George D. Kuh, Jillian Kinzie and Elizabeth Whitt).

Terrell L. Strayhorn is professor of higher education at The Ohio State University, where he also serves as director of the Center for Inclusion, Diversity & Academic Success (iDEAS) and chief diversity officer in the College of Education and Human Ecology. He has authored eight books, more than a hundred journal articles and chapters, and presented more than two hundred keynotes, conference papers, and sessions. He is editor of Spectrum: A Journal on Black Men as well associate editor of both the NASAP Journal and Journal of Higher Education.

Jeremy Stringer is professor emeritus of Student Development Administration at Seattle University. He founded the Student Development Administration program at Seattle University, and served as program director for its first two decades. He has been a vice president of student affairs, an associate provost, both an academic and student affairs department chair, led a university-wide strategic planning process, and chaired the NASPA Faculty Fellows. He is coeditor, along with George S. McClellan, of the Handbook of Student Affairs Administration (third edition).

Aurélio Manuel Valente serves as dean of students and associate vice president of academic affairs at Governors State University and is the chief student affairs officer (CSAO) for the university. His research interests include student development in the first year of college and institutional efforts to promote student engagement and academic success.

Lori Varlotta serves as president of Hiram College. Prior to being named to that position, she was the senior vice president for planning, enrollment management, and student affairs at California State University, Sacramento. Varlotta has written and presented extensively on issues such as strategic planning and outcomes-based budgeting, transparency and accountability, retention and graduation, and student health and wellness.

Stephanie J. Waterman, Onondaga, Turtle clan, is a faculty member in Leadership, Adult, & Higher Education in the Ontario Institute for Studies of Education at the University of Toronto. She formerly taught at the University of Rochester, Warner School of Education & Human Development. She is a coeditor of Beyond the Asterisk: Native Students in Higher Education, with Dr. Heather Shotton and Shelly C. Lowe. She has publications in the Journal of American Indian Education, the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, the Journal about Women in Higher Education, and the Urban Review.

Penelope H. Wills serves as president of Yavapai College. Prior to her arrival in Arizona, Wills was the president of Northeast Iowa Community College. Her career includes various leadership positions in higher education at the state, regional, and national levels. She has extensive experience in such fields as economic development, assessment, planning, student development, and quality improvement.

David F. Wolf is vice president for advancement at the University of North Texas. Prior to joining his alma mater, Wolf served as executive director for individual giving at UCLA, vice president for advancement at the University of Southern Mississippi, assistant vice president and director of athletic development at the University of Alabama, vice president for development at Cameron University, and director of development at the University of Texas at Arlington. Wolf also serves as a lecturer and faculty member speaking and conducting research on donor behavior and university advancement organizational leadership

Eugene L. Zdziarski II is vice president of student affairs at DePaul University. He has worked in the field of higher education for more than thirty years. Zdziarski has edited and authored publications including Crisis Management: Responding from the Heart; Campus Crisis Management: A Comprehensive Guide to Planning, Prevention, Response and Recovery; and In Search of Safer Communities: Emerging Practices for Student Affairs in Addressing Campus Violence.

Contexts of Professional Practice

Student affairs administration is situated in historical, institutional, environmental, economic, political, and national contexts. These contexts shape and in turn are shaped by our work as professionals. We begin our conversation about student affairs by examining several of these contextual dimensions. In chapter 1, Michael Coomes and Janice Gerda trace the historical development of the student affairs profession from its earliest iterations to the present day. They show how the profession has remained true to the essential goal of helping all students get the most from their college experience by adapting to new students, new institutional forms, and new imperatives. Joan Hirt and Claire Robbins, in chapter 2, focus our attention on the various milieus in which student affairs is practiced. They describe chapter 3chapter 4chapter 5chapter 6