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 November 2005 • NIRSA news and information
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NIRSA Joins with ACPA & NASPA on Student Affairs Publication

This past spring, during a meeting in Washington, DC of a subgroup of Student Affairs-related organizations affiliated with the Council of Higher Education Management Associations (CHEMA), NIRSA was invited to contribute to a sequel of a publication titled, Learning Reconsidered: a Campus-Wide Focus on the Student Experience (LR). The American College Personnel Association (ACPA) and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) first published LR in 2004 and the new document, referred to as Learning Reconsidered 2 (LR2) (working title), will be released in Spring 2006. The book will have material from some of its chapters placed on a Web site (case studies, work-study examples, materials for PowerPoint presentations, etc.).

The CHEMA Student Affairs Gathering [see list of organizations below] in Washington, DC came together because of common organizational goals to provide opportunities, programs, services and related functions to college and university students. The larger CHEMA organization, originally formed in the 1970s, now includes 33 non-profit national organizations whose respective members are employed within higher education communities. NIRSA was invited to join CHEMA in 2001 and NIRSA Executive Director Kent J. Blumenthal is currently serving a two-year term on the CHEMA Steering Committee. A Joint Communiqué was issued by executive directors who participated in the initial CHEMA Student Affairs Group meeting. The Joint Communiqué has since been adopted by the boards of directors of each organization represented by the Group.

The CHEMA Student Affairs Gathering identified commonalities among each of the participating organizations that serve student affairs' functions within higher education. It agreed to promote an understanding of, and support for, the premise that learning and development are intertwined, inseparable elements of the college student experience, and that resources in higher education should be spent on educating and preparing the "whole" student, i.e., developing the student as a well-rounded person rather than providing intellectual training alone. Learning Reconsidered 2 advocates "transformative education" – a holistic process of learning that places the student at the center of the learning experience.

Representatives at the CHEMA Student Affairs Gathering also agreed to work together to promote transformative education among university officials, college administrators, government officials, and the boards of directors/members of those respective participating Associations, by engaging in discussions that will increase ways to prepare the whole student on a college campus. The group will collect data for LR2 that addresses ways that current student affairs' programs already influence students and enhance student learning. It will identify those campus programs that already intentionally enhance campuses as learning environments, and it will explore the feasibility of a longitudinal study to collect data on the impact of student affairs' programs on student success in post-college graduation.

ACPA and NASPA have lined-up volunteer lead authors for each LR2 chapter from among their respective membership. Lead authors are responsible for (1) coordinating the efforts of other writers assigned to a chapter, and (2) contacting CHEMA partners (including NIRSA) to determine whether they want to contribute material, text, ideas, or case studies to the chapters.

NIRSA solicited the assistance of several members having interest in and understanding of campus student affairs functions to volunteer as readers and reviewers of LR2 chapter drafts. Recently five of the book's 10 chapters were sent to these NIRSA members to review text, contribute material, offer case studies, and cite examples of current practices on their college campuses. The remaining five chapters are expected to follow shortly. NIRSA will coordinate the comments/revisions received from these volunteers and return suggested changes and edits to the LR2 authors. Chapter authors are expected to submit all drafts to the LR2 editor by October 31, 2005.

The proposed LR2 "Organization, Structure and Outline," including anticipated chapter headings, is below. For a copy of the original Learning Reconsidered: a Campus-Wide Focus on the Student Experience (2004), please download this PDF.

CHEMA Student Affairs Gathering – Participating Organizations

  • ACPA, American College Personnel Association
  • ACUHO-I, Association of College and University Housing Officers-International
  • ACUI, Association of College Unions International
  • NACA, National Association for Campus Activities
  • NASPA, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators
  • NIRSA, National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association

Learning Reconsidered
Table of Contents

  1. Introduction/Preface
    • Purpose
    • Associations involved
    • Development and writing process
    • Structure
    • How to use
    • Acknowledgments
  1. Learning Reconsidered: Where Have We Come? Where Are We Going?
    • Summary of LR major points
    • How LR has been received and used
    • Need for assistance in implementation
  2. Rethinking Learning
    • Why a new paradigm of learning is needed
    • Relevant cognitive and learning research
    • Vision of teaching and learning in the future
    • Application to different settings, student demographics, institutional types
  3. The Campus Learning Environment
    • Mapping learning across campus: practical guide
    • Identifying opportunities for engaged, integrated learning
  4. Defining and Developing Learning Outcomes
    • Review/enhancement of discussion in LR
    • Practical process of identifying and creating learning outcomes at department, division, and campus levels
  5. The Internal Environment
    • Assessing the internal work environment
    • Creating strategy, objectives, and goals through which to use LR principles and ideas
    • Assigning and personalizing roles and responsibilities
    • Templates and worksheets to assist departments (both Student Affairs and academic) in their work
  6. Learning Reconsidered in Strategic Planning
    • How departments and divisions can use LR as a framework for strategic planning
    • Planning for self-study and reaccredidation
    • Linking LR to assessment
    • Linking LR to CAS (Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education)
  7. Professional Development for Faculty and Staff
    • What professional skills are needed by faculty and staff to organize and implement principles of LR?
    • How can departments and divisions increase staff capacity?
    • What tools and methods can support this work?
    • How can LR be used to enhance professional development programs for faculty and staff?
  8. Putting LR into Practice
    • Advocacy
    • Working campus networks and systems to gain support
    • Overcoming barriers and resistance
    • Pacing; maintaining momentum
  9. Strategies for Collaboration
    • Theories of collaboration
    • Collaboration in practice
    • Creating a structure/framework for effective collaboration
    • The politics of collaboration
  10. Promising Practices: Learning Reconsidered in Action
    • How LR has been/can be implemented effectively
    • LR in the work of colleagues in partner associations
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