This I Believe
“Students are the beating heart of higher education. They breathe life into the physical environment. They comprise the core of the field. My ultimate goal in student affairs work is to insure that all students have relevant, purposeful opportunities and support to maximize their learning, development, and outcomes within an intentionally designed and inclusive environment on their journey to not only a degree, but an education in every sense of the word.”
Hello and welcome to my collection of experiences and reflections in the College Student Affairs program of the Pennsylvania State University. I embarked upon my journey in the College Student Affairs program with 28 years of experience as an educator in the K-12 public school system in the Central Bucks School District. My area of specialization was Special Education. I also worked with students in regular education in need of academic support through my work in instructional support facilitation. This interest has been cultivated in the higher education setting. My goal in higher education is to work in a capacity that supports students with the critical outcomes of learning and development through advising, career services, disability services, global programs, health education, mentoring, or student conduct. Areas of scholarly inquiry that pique my interest are retention, at-risk students, decision-making, and transition theory.
The most salient experiences that I have encountered in my graduate education have involved the opportunity to work directly with students in higher education. Through my graduate assistant advising work in the Division of Undergraduate Studies, as in intern with The First-Year Testing, Consulting and Advising Program, and as an intern in The Office of Student Conduct I have come to value the power of provocative conversation with students. As you peruse my portfolio, I hope that you will recognize the importance I place on theory to practice. I believe strongly that grounding practice in theory enhances the growth and development of students. In my daily work with undergraduate students, theory comes to life before my eyes. I also deeply value and respect the voices of my classmates, also students, and my coworkers who have contributed to my learning through their willingness to share their lived experiences. Their voices challenged my thinking and broadened my perspectives in ways far greater than text.
Joan Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)