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Professional Proclamation

October 6, 2022

I see my future as providing service to others as a builder of people and a builder of systems that build people. My development both personally and professionally has been hallmarked by the caring work of student affairs professionals that I have encountered in higher education. As a student affairs professional myself, I can only hope to provide a portion of the dedication that others have poured into me.

My decision to pursue a career in higher education student affairs began during my undergraduate education. I was offered an opportunity to assist with organizing an orientation schedule and quickly realized that I enjoyed working in the higher education setting. I knew that working with others who were passionate about helping students find themselves and succeed was the environment for me.

I hope to add value to higher education by infusing my personal values into my professional work. Knowing my values has always been an important part of my work and I go back to my defined values every time I make a personal or professional decision. I hope to continue this practice in my career and share my values with coworkers and students that I work with. Another professional practice that I hope to continue is having my defined values posted on my desk and on my professional website. My personal values are advancement, collaboration, reliability, excellence, and perseverance. Although there have been a few changes over several years, these pillars have continued to serve as steadfast guides. I think these practices contribute to my effort to be a transparent professional that is willing to share both successes and struggles with those around me.

Another aspect of student affairs that I will implement as a professional is valuing every student and peer for who they are and honoring the lived experiences that they bring with them. In The Principles of Good Practice for Student Affairs article by NASPA and ACPA it states “student learning occurs best in communities that value diversity, promote social responsibility, encourage discussion and debate, recognize accomplishments, and foster a sense of belonging among their members” (ACPA and NASPA, 1996, pg. 4). I think this quote accurately sums up what I hope to bring to the spaces that I occupy. One of my greatest motivating factors is to leave the places and people that I work with better than I found them. Whether its serving as a listening ear or promoting educational opportunities around social justice, these small moments work together to create meaningful change.

Another aspect of my work in student affairs will continue to be showing up authentically. I think it is crucial that I show up as my authentic self in spaces that will value my authentic self. As a white man who is also gay, I try to keep in mind the privilege that I am offered and the areas where my voice should be heard. Understanding my privilege comes across when I amplify the voices of BIPOC people and consistently advocate for marginalized and under-represented groups. I am able to share my voice and life story when assisting students who are struggling to come out or supporting peers who may be experiencing mental health struggles. By being authentic, I can build a culture of trust and undoubted acceptance.

One of my end goals from my work in higher education is to become an expert on students, their environments, and the interest areas that I am passionate about. Although these topics are ever-changing, I hope to remain nimble and serve as a professional that is part of the solution to keep things moving forward. I believe that an effective student affairs practitioner understands the students they serve down to the granular level. Although it takes constant work to do, understanding the beliefs and feelings of the students is the only way to ensure that programs and services are beneficial.

The final reason that I hold close to me as I enter this profession, is to continue to be a lifelong learner in every aspect of my life. From high school, to undergrad, to grad school, I have always had a thirst for knowledge and new ideas. Sometimes to a fault, I learn about a topic that interests me, and I quickly want to learn everything there is to know. As I grow, I hope to be able to channel this energy in productive and creative ways that allow me to avoid burnout and remain committed to excellence.

Deciding to pursue a career in higher education student affairs is one of the easiest decisions I have ever made. The higher education landscape is an area for continued growth that feels like home. I am excited to see my future growth as I learn how to harness my potential.

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