Student Affairs Research Publishing Highlights of 2023

Here is a look at some of the books, book chapters, research articles, dissertations, and surveys and reports published during 2023 that may be of interest to ACUI members. The collection ranges from a revision of one of the most important texts in student affairs, new books on student affairs careers and on student engagement, and articles, dissertations, and reports that range from the effects of COVID-19 and the mental health crisis in higher education to serving indigenous populations and how to thrive as a student affairs professional and parent. 

Book: Handbook of Student Affairs Administration 

Released as a revised fifth edition in 2023 after 30 years in publication, the 648-page “Handbook of Student Affairs Administration” remains one of the most practical and comprehensive examinations of literature, both old and new, in the field of student affairs. Edited by George S. McClellan, the vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment at Indiana University-Purdue University–Fort Wayne, and Judy Marquez Kiyama, associate vice provost for faculty development at the University of Arizona, the new edition has dropped chapters on global perspective, the role of associations, student-athletes, fundraising, and supporting online learners. 

New chapters include student employment as a high-impact practice, student affairs and shared governance, access for students with disabilities, anti-oppressive frameworks and equity in praxis, and support for students’ mental health and well-being. The list of 35 co-authors is a veritable who’s who of student affairs in higher education that ranges from university presidents and vice presidents, highly cited researchers, and leaders of higher education foundations. 

Book: The Strategic Guide to Shaping Your Student Affairs Career 

Could anything be timelier than Sonja Ardoin’s reflective treatise leading student affairs professionals to examine how one’s own personal values match up with those of the profession, and then intentionally developing strategies that set a course for lifelong learning and the attainment of healthy learning environments? It’s a process Ardoin describes as self-authorship. 

Writing with the support of over 20 contributors—Ardoin is the sole author of three of the eight chapters—the associate professor of higher education and student affairs at Clemson University relies on her background in social class identity, career preparation, and leadership development to advocate for a plan of implementing and advocating for intentional learning. That plan includes self-reflection, listening to the diverse, authentic stories of others, and “connecting with custodial staff and cashiers who all make contributions to the campus community and become sources of learning.” 

“The complexities of developing self-authorship, for both collegians and educators, warrants as much good company as possible,” writes Miami University Distinguished Professor of Education Marcia B. Baxter Magolda. “Ardoin and her colleagues offer good company for readers in various stages of student affairs careers to recompose meaningful work and adult lives.”  

Other Book Titles to Note: 

“Advancing Student Engagement in Higher Education: Reflection, Critique, and Challenge” is a comprehensive 300-plus page edited volume that offers the voices of student affairs professionals from the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Pakistan, and Sweden, as they reflect on student engagement practices, paradigms, and opportunities. A few of the 25 chapter titles include: “Control, Freedom and Structure in Student-Staff Partnerships,” “Students as Consumers: A Barrier for Student Engagement?” and “Authentic Leadership for Student Engagement.” 

“Cultivating Trauma Informed Practice in Student Affairs,” by the University of Rochester’s Tricia Shalka, recipient of ACUI’s 2023 Distinguished Faculty Award, offers knowledge on trauma-informed practices and strategies that “span a spectrum of individual and systems-level efforts in colleges and universities.” It offers “new concepts to consider when working toward building a trauma-informed practice in student affairs.” 

“Developments Beyond the Asterisk: New Scholarship and Frameworks for Understanding Native Students in Higher Education” is an edited volume that serves as a follow-up to “Beyond the Asterisk: Understanding Native Students in Higher Education,” a 2013 Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the American Library Association. Chapters of note are “Expanding the Sacred Hoop Model in Student Affairs” and “The Creation and Significance of the Indigenous Student Affairs CAS Standards and Guidelines.” 

Article: Values, Contexts, and Realities: Senior Student Affairs Officers’ Decision-Making During the COVID-19 Pandemic 

In January, Ann Gansemer-Topf was named the new director of Iowa State University’s School of Education, where she has taught since 2012 and most recently acted as director of graduate education for the school. Last year, in 2023, Gansemer-Topf counted “Values, Contexts, and Realities: Senior Student Affairs Officers’ Decision-Making During the COVID-19 Pandemic” among her publications. Published in the journal American Behavioral Scientist, Gansemer-Topf, an assessment and learning strategies specialist, uses Ralph Gigliotti’s view of crisis as a social construction to analyze interviews with 23 senior student affairs officers as they related to the COVID-19 crisis in higher education. (Gigliotti was ACUI’s 2023 Chester A. Berry Scholar Award recipient.) The discussion and implications for practice in the article highlight the importance for student affairs professionals to develop strong relationships with external stakeholders, establish strong professional peer networks, and model and utilize the scholar-practitioner model of student affairs education.  

Article: Mapping the Rise of LGBTQ+ Student Affairs: A 20-Year Review 

If there is a hot commodity in the publishing houses of student affairs writing it would have to be Antonio Duran, an assistant professor of higher education and postsecondary education at Arizona State University. After earning a master’s in student affairs education from Miami University in 2016 and a Ph.D. in higher education and student affairs from The Ohio State University in 2019, Duran has published over 100 articles and earned over 1,500 citations, including nearly 600 citations in 2023, primarily in the area of LGBTQ+ identities in higher education. In 2021, he published the book “The Experiences of Queer Students of Color at Historically White Institutions,” and in 2023, his literature assessment, “Mapping the Rise of LGBTQ+ Student Affairs: A 20 Year Review,” published in the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, was one of the highlights of the 26 articles and chapters he published during the year. Also on that list from 2023 was a new chapter in the “Handbook of Student Affairs Administration”: “Centering Anti-Oppressive Frameworks as Student Affairs Educators,” which Duran co-authored with the independent scholar T. J. Jourian. 

Webinar to Remember 

Hosted by Leonard Taylor, Jillian Kinzie, and Bob Gonyea of the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University, this overview of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is a thorough, hour-long webinar and accompanying slide deck that reviews NSSE institutional report packages while also offering strategies for utilizing and disseminating survey results. Note that Kinzie, along with ACUI Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Program Team member Mara Dahlgren, will be discussing the NSSE in Denver during the 2024 ACUI Annual Conference educational session “Unlocking NSSE Data: Applying National Survey of Student Engagement Survey Results.”

Reports and Surveys of Note 

Student Disengagement a Growing Post-COVID Problem

In its “State of the Student 2022” report, Wiley Publishing surveyed thousands of college students and found that student disengagement was a growing post-COVID problem. The analysis found that financial and emotional stress are the key causes of student disengagement, with 51% of students reporting having trouble paying for tuition and materials.

Stress Plays Major Role in Students Considering Withdrawing 

More than four in 10 students considered withdrawing from college sometime during a six-month period in 2022, and more than half of them said it was due to emotional stress. The poll by Gallup and the Lumina Foundation surveyed more than 12,000 students, graduates, and unenrolled adults.

Report Details University of Minnesota’s Mistreatment of Indigenous people

A 500-page report, likely a template for other land-grant institutions, details the University of Minnesota’s long history of mistreating the state’s indigenous people and lays out recommendations, including “perpetual reparations,” to improve relations between the university and Minnesota’s 11 tribal nations.

Surgeon General: Social Connections Help Address Mental Health 

An advisory from the U.S. Surgeon General offers recommendations for individuals and the education system to promote social connection and improve community health and well-being. The report highlights the importance of social connection to community metrics of health and well-being, the consequences of disconnection, and recommendations for increasing social connection.

Annual CUPA-HR on Staff Retention Shows Eyes are on Better Pay 

More than half of the nearly 5,000 higher education staff members who responded to CUPA-HR’s “Higher-Education Employee Retention Survey” said they were at least “somewhat likely” to look for a new job in the coming year, with the need for higher salaries the leading reason. Learn more about the report and staff retention in student affairs in the “State of the College Union” article in this edition of The Bulletin.

2023 Dissertations of Interest 

Below are the titles, authors, affiliations, and brief descriptions from the abstracts of dissertations that caught our eye last year. 

  • Building on the Best: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Create Thriving and Work-Life Harmony for Parenting Student Affairs Professionals, by Suzie Baker, University of North Carolina–Wilmington. Baker analyzes qualitative data to discover 11 elements of thriving work-life harmony, “organized into four life-giving dimensions.” 
  • The Infinite Mindset: A Phenomenological Study of Exemplary Student Affairs Leaders, by Kevin Giang, University of Massachusetts. Giang offers a qualitative study based on interviews with 12 senior student affairs officers as perceived through the Infinite Mindset Framework of
    Simon Sinek. 
  • The Exploration of the Lived Experience of Black Women Directors in Student Affairs Leading Others During the COVID-19 Pandemic, by Coretta L. King, University of Southern California. King, a former ACUI Board of Trustees member, looks at the “organizational attitudes, behaviors, and practices that undermined the health and productivity of Black women leaders in student affairs” during the pandemic. 
  • It Depends on the Supervisor: A Multiple Site Case Study Exploring Student Affairs Practices, by Maggie J. L. Fitzsimmons, University of Georgia. Fitzsimmons uses Creamer and Winston’s Integrated Model of Staffing Practices to consider how supervision influences staffing practices and how CAS Standards can be applied to staffing practices.
  • How Supervisors Socialize New Student Affairs Professionals, by Jennifer Celaya Davis, California State University–Los Angeles. Eight student affairs supervisors working in different functional areas share how they developed relationships, communicated expectations, and provided employee feedback.
  • Sitting in Discomfort: Supporting the Experiences of Non-Clinical, Student Affairs Staff Managing Student Well-Being Concerns, by Jeremy Layne Bourgoin, Northeastern University. Bourgoin talked to over 100 professional student affairs staffers about their experiences providing a wide spectrum of well-being and student care.