ERIC Number: ED260326
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Apr-23
Reference Count: 0
What Is Extraordinary about Ordinary Student Affairs Organizations.
Kuh, George D.
Much of the thinking and writing about typical student affairs organizations has been grounded in core assumptions consistent with scientific and bureaucratic models of organizing. These questionable assumptions describe how things are supposed to work; however, most divisions of student affairs operate under multiple and sometimes competing preferences. Student affairs professionals often work in conditions which are ambiguous, conflictual, and harried. Richer and more descriptive counter assumptions about the organization as it really is suggest that interdependence between people and programs is more often loose than tight; staff are diverse and sometimes in conflict with the division's goals; and rational, systematic decision making is often compromised. In this context, extraordinary aspects of ordinary divisions of student affairs are those processes, characteristics, or behaviors which exceed normal limits, are consistent with the values and purposes of the institution, contribute to a sense of well-being, and energize the work environment. In extraordinary student affairs divisions efforts at innovation are celebrated whether or not they are successful; opportunities for professional growth are available to all, but concentrated on those most likely to benefit; ordinary competence and high quality day-to-day relations with students and faculty are maintained; and ordinary programs can be suspended to enable some staff to do other things. Extraordinary student affairs leaders have a clear sense of what is important to those they lead, create a supportive work environment, have a sense of humor, and resist making "much ado about nothing." (MCF)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Revised version of an invited address to the Annual Conference of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (Portland, OR, March 31-April 3, 1985).