The Division of Student Affairs at Texas A&M has long been known for its impact on the national stage. A case in point: NASPA, the professional organization for Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, has just released a new book entitled Learning is Not a Sprint: Assessing and Documenting Student Leader Learning in Cocurricular Involvement, and the exciting fact is, everyone involved in the book—from the author of the foreword to the chapter authors to the editors—has a connection to Texas A&M University. What’s more, the majority of the book is informed by the award-winning Student Leader Learning Outcomes Project (SLLO) that began in the Division of Student Affairs.
According to the book’s jacket, “Student affairs professionals are increasingly being asked to provide evidence that students are learning and growing through their experiences on campus… The task of assessing and documenting student learning outside the traditional classroom presents a unique set of challenges: there are no grades given at the end of the experience, the skills developed may not fit into one academic area, and there are no national standards or summative curriculum.”
Former and current staff who worked on the book include:
- Dean Bresciani, currently president of North Dakota State University, formerly the vice president for student affairs at Texas A&M;
- Sharra Durham Hynes, recently tapped as director of volunteer and service learning at the University of Central Oklahoma, formerly an associate director in the Department of Student Activities;
- Peggy Holzweiss, currently assistant director of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs, formerly of Student Life Studies;
- Matt Starcke, program coordinator in Student Activities’ Leadership and Learning Center;
- Adrien DeLoach, currently associate director of diversity education and training in the Office for Diversity and Inclusion at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, formerly a program advisor in the Department of Multicultural Services
- Katy King, program coordinator in the Memorial Student Center;
- Krista Jorge Bailey, associate director in the Offices of the Dean of Student Life;
- Sandi Osters, director of Student Life Studies;
- Darby Roberts, associate director of Student Life Studies; and
- Kathy Collins, currently director of Campus Living Services and Residence Life at Michigan State University, formerly an associate director of Residence Life at Texas A&M.
Hynes, Holzweiss, King, Bailey, Osters and Roberts were among the founders of the Student Leader Learning Outcomes Project, which now includes more than forty Texas A&M student affairs professionals and student organization advisors.
Learning is Not a Sprint is a resource for staff working with students as advisors, supervisors or even mentors. Staff who also teach classes will find resources they can use, too, including theoretical background and real-life examples and suggestions. You can find out more or purchase the book here.