SAHE510 - Introduction to Student Affairs

Course Details

Course Code: SAHE510 Course ID: 5061 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

Introduction to Student Affairs is an introductory course providing a comprehensive overview of the historical and philosophical foundation of student affairs in higher education. Organizational, management, and leadership theories relevant to college settings, the roles and functions associated with careers in student affairs and college counseling, and contemporary trends and challenges will be examined. Students analyze higher education policies and procedures, programs, and services that meet the needs of diverse students in various institutional settings, including community colleges, four-year universities, and those that offer programs via distance education (Prerequisite: EDUC511)

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Start Month Session Weeks
04/24/2023 - 09/29/2023 10/02/2023 - 11/26/2023 October Fall 2023 Session B 8 Week session
06/26/2023 - 12/01/2023 12/04/2023 - 01/28/2024 December Fall 2023 Session D 8 Week session
08/28/2023 - 02/02/2024 02/05/2024 - 03/31/2024 February Winter 2024 Session I 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  1. Explain the CAS standards and the Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Professionals established by ACPA and NASPA
  2. Analyze historical, philosophical, and social factors that shaped the development and evolution of the student affairs profession within higher education in the U.S.
  3. Critique Student Affairs theories and how they are applied day-to-day in practice.
  4. Deduce the role that Student Affairs, and its functional areas, play in student learning and development at various institutional types
  5. Examine how functional areas in Student Affairs are designed to support the success of underrepresented students
  6. Develop basic knowledge of the values, philosophy, and ethical principles of the Student Affairs profession.
  7. Create your own philosophy of Student Affairs practice by reflecting on your values, philosophy, and ethical principles. (Values, Philosophy, and History)

Creating Your Student Affairs Philosophy:

Students will explore how formal and personal theories influence student affairs practices. During this course you will be introduced to many of the theories that exist in the field and have the opportunity to process what you have learned and formulate your own Student Affairs philosophy. Articulate the relationship you see existing between the student experience, learning and development, the campus environment, and the work of student affairs practitioners. Consider this question as you reflect and frame your philosophy: “What would constitute a positive higher education experience for students and how would you, as a student affairs practitioner, help to produce that experience?” Your personal and professional experiences should form the basis of your philosophy. This should reflect the way that your own personal theory has evolved during the first half of the course. Your Student Affairs philosophy statement should be 5 pages in length, follow accurate American Psychological Association (APA) formatting, and reference course readings.

Due: Week 4

Functional Areas and Institution Types Project

This assignment will give students the opportunity to increase their familiarity with Student Affairs functional areas as they exist at various institution types and to develop their practitioner thinking skills.

Students will select three different functional areas and investigate how each of these functional areas are organized and serve students at a community college, a four-year institution, and a distance education institution. Compare and contrast how these areas are organized across these three institution types and how they provide services to students at each of these different campuses. If the functional area does not exist at an institution, explain how these services are otherwise provided to students. If the services are not provided at all, then devise and recommend ways that these “services” could be provided to students. The professor must approve the selected functional areas and institutions during week. Produce a 20-minute presentation on your findings and recommendations

Functional areas from which to select three units are:

  • Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Residence Life
  • Recreation
  • Student Conduct
  • Athletics
  • Admissions
  • Financial Aid
  • Orientation
  • Student Activities
  • Student Government
  • Health Services
  • Campus Safety
  • Disability Services
  • Greek Life
  • Multicultural Affairs
  • Veteran Resources
  • The LGBTQ Center
  • Career Services
  • Academic Advising
  • The Women’s Center

This paper will require students to research the institutions’ websites and even email and/or call the departments’ administrators for information so plan accordingly to complete this assignment in timely manner.

These headings should be covered in your presentation

  • Discussion of why you selected the three functional areas and the three sets of institution types (community colleges, four-year institutions, and distance education institutions) for each area for your project.
  • Descriptions of each of the functional areas, the students they serve, their purpose, and how they contribute to the missions of these institutions and to student learning and success
  • If an institution does not have a selected functional area then devise and recommend a way these “services” could be provided to students, either directly or indirectly
  • References, at least 10, should be listed on the final slide using accurate American Psychological Association (APA) formatting. Research references should be included throughout the presentation and should follow accurate American Psychological Association (APA) formatting. (Due: Week 7)

Theory-to-Practice Paper:

Students will select and describe a contemporary problem in Student Affairs practice. This problem will be addressed in this 10-page paper through theories covered in the course and additional resources using articles from recent higher education journals and Student Affairs research. While addressing this problem, follow these steps:

  1. Describe the breadth and scope of the contemporary problem in Student Affairs practice
  2. Address potential concerns in using a particular theory or group of theories in response to the identified problem. For example, is the theory more applicable to one group of students than another? Or, does the theory have any shaky assumptions about Student Affairs, higher education institutions, or student success?
  3. Following the analysis of the selected theory or theories, recommend strategies that would effective in addressing the issue. Connect these strategies directly to the analysis of the theory.
  4. Use a minimum of 8 peer-reviewed resources and follow accurate American Psychological Association (APA) formatting

You will need to have your proposal approved by the instructor by Week 4. This assignment is due by Sunday of Week 8.

Forum: Please join the forums each week. Students must post a reply to both weekly forums and reply to at least 2 other students for each Forum. This means that each week you should have 2 initial posts and 4 responsive posts. Replies must be posted in the week due and replies after the end of the each week will not be graded. The Forums are for student interaction and input should be submitted before the week ends in order to fully participate in the discussions. Students should demonstrate their own knowledge in the forums and avoid copying and pasting from websites.


  • Post the initial response to each forum by 11:55pm, ET, Thursday.
  • Initial responses should be no less than 300 words.
  • Initial responses are to be original in content and demonstrate a thorough analysis of the topic.
  • Reply to at least 2 of your classmates in each forum by 11:55pm, ET, Sunday.
  • Replies to classmates should be no less than 150 words.
  • Responses to classmates are significant to advance the forum.
  • All forums can be accessed in the Forums section of the course.

NameGrade %
Discussions 25.00%
W1: Purpose of Higher Education 3.13%
W2: Case Study Dilemma 3.13%
W3: Ethical Considerations and Theory 3.13%
W4: Retention Organizational Theory and Environmental Theory 3.13%
W5: Student Affairs Philosophy 3.13%
W6: Cultural Competence 3.13%
W7: Counseling Aspects of Student Affairs 3.13%
W8: Purpose of Higher Education Reflection 3.13%
Assignments 75.00%
Student Affairs Philosophy 25.00%
Functional Areas and Institutional Types Project 25.00%
Theory to Practice Paper 25.00%

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.