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Professional Praxis

April 8, 2024

As I refine my praxis in the final semester of my graduate studies, the core of my engagement in higher education and student affairs remains unwaveringly centered on my initial professional proclamation vision: to be a builder of people and a builder of systems that build people. This guiding philosophy underscores every aspect of my professional journey, infusing purpose and direction into my actions and decisions within higher education. It is a reflection of my commitment not only to individual development but also to creating and nurturing environments that systematically foster growth, empowerment, and success for all students.

The theoretical frameworks and guiding principles that shape my praxis are deeply rooted in a comprehensive understanding of how students engage with their learning environments, emphasizing the need for active participation, community integration, and collaborative learning (Hamrick et al., 2002). Drawing from Astin's Theory of Student Involvement, which underscores the importance of students' engagement in their academic and social environments as critical to their development (Astin, 1984), I aim to create systems that encourage active student participation. Tinto's Integration Framework, especially as explored by Karp, Hughes, and O’Gara (2010), further informs my approach by highlighting the importance of integrating students into the academic and social fabrics of institutions for their retention and success, underscoring the importance of building supportive communities that foster a sense of belonging. Additionally, the principles of Social Constructivism, articulated by Hussain (2012), advocate for educational practices that view knowledge construction as an inherently social process, emphasizing the creation of collaborative learning environments where students can engage with and learn from each other’s diverse perspectives. These theories collectively inform my praxis by emphasizing the creation of inclusive, engaging, and supportive educational environments that foster student growth, development, and success.

In aligning my practice with the HESAA core values, I further solidify my role as a builder of people and systems. The commitment to being Socially Just aligns with my dedication to dismantling barriers and creating equitable opportunities for all students, particularly those from marginalized and underrepresented communities. Embracing Authenticity, I strive to lead by example, showcasing integrity and transparency in my professional conduct, thus fostering an environment where authenticity is valued and encouraged. Being Reflective allows me to continuously assess and enhance the systems and practices I develop, ensuring they remain responsive and effective in meeting the evolving needs of students. Through Collaboration, I engage with a network of peers and stakeholders, leveraging collective expertise and resources to amplify the impact of my efforts in building supportive and empowering educational environments.

My intention for action is to transform higher education institutions into spaces that not only facilitate academic success but also nurture personal growth, social responsibility, and a sense of belonging among students. This involves advocating for and implementing policies, programs, and practices that are grounded in principles of equity, inclusivity, and student-centeredness. By doing so, I aim to have a tangible impact on the lives of students, empowering them to realize their full potential and contribute positively to society.

As I progress in my career as a student affairs professional, my focus on being a builder of people and systems that build people will continue to be the cornerstone of my praxis. It is a commitment to not only advancing the well-being and success of individual students but also to enhancing the educational systems and structures that support their journey. Through this dual focus, I aspire to contribute meaningfully to the evolution of higher education, ensuring it remains a powerful force for personal and societal transformation.

References:

Hamrick, F. A., Evans, N. J., & Schuh, J. H. (2002). Foundations of student affairs practice : how philosophy, theory, and research strengthen educational outcomes. Jossey-Bass.

Hussain, I. (2012). Use of Constructivist Approach in Higher Education: An Instructors’ Observation. Creative Education, 3(2), 179–184. https://doi.org/10.4236/ce.2012.32028

Karp, M. M., Hughes, K. L., & O’Gara, L. (2010). An Exploration of Tinto’s Integration Framework for Community College Students. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 12(1), 69–86. https://doi.org/10.2190/cs.12.1.e

Tinto, V. (2012). Leaving College. University of Chicago Press.

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