15 Reasons Your Next President Should Come From Student Affairs

To the Editor:

College and university presidents are facing issues with budgeting, leadership, staffing, accountability, and enrollment, to name a few. To my knowledge and experience, traditional college and university presidents began as faculty members and rose through the ranks. Some are also former business leaders. Many have done a wonderful job; however, there is a group of professionals who may do an even better job: student-affairs educators.

Although there are some presidents who are former student-affairs educators, there should be more and more may even help solve the higher education issues discussed above. The following lists 15 reasons why student-affairs educators would make great college and university presidents. They are for student-affairs educators, search committees, and trustees to think about:

1. Student-affairs educators, if educated traditionally, actually study higher education.

2. Student-affairs educators have worked with budgets their entire career in the field.

3. Student-affairs educators understand that education takes place both inside and outside the classroom.

4. Student-affairs educators are used to networking and building professional relationships with campus, community, national, and international constituents.

5. Student-affairs educators are both educators and administrators.

6. Student-affairs educators are used to leading organizations and groups of people.

7. Student-affairs educators are involved with assessment and accountability at various levels: departmental, campus-wide, and through professional organizations.

8. Student-affairs educators value and are taught to focus their practice on difference among groups of people in higher education.

9. Student-affairs educators understand higher education from a historical perspective and its significance today.

10. Student-affairs educators are constantly involved with staffing and professional development at various levels: departmental, campus-wide, and through professional organizations.

11. Student-affairs educators understand what it takes to both enroll students and retain them.

12. Student-affairs educators know how to be flexible during crises.

13. Student-affairs educators engage in scholarship that informs practice in higher education.

14. Student-affairs educators are used to attending and running meetings; so communication is not an issue.

15. Student-affairs educators are trained to think outside of the box when working with organizations and people.

Henry W. Lewis III
Graduate Student
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Indiana, Pa.

Return to Top