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Student Learning & Development

Competency Reflection

The Student Learning and Development (SLD) competency, as defined by NASPA and ACPA, embodies the framework of applying developmental and learning theories to enrich the practice of student affairs professionals (ACPA & NASPA, 2015). This competency is pivotal in understanding how students grow and learn, ensuring that programs and services are designed to support their holistic development. Reflecting upon my experiences, I confidently position myself at an intermediate level of proficiency within this competency area. This self-assessment is rooted in several experiences that have significantly contributed to my understanding and application of student learning and development theories in higher education.

During my coursework in the Student Development and Learning Course, I engaged in a collaborative project focused on exploring accessibility and its impact on student learning in higher education. My group and I utilized a variety of student development theories to describe student behaviors and the support structures that facilitate their learning environments. This experience directly aligns with the outcome of articulating theories and models that describe the development of college students and the conditions that foster holistic development (ACPA & NASPA, 2015). Through this project, I gained valuable insights into the practical application of theories to create more inclusive and accessible learning environments for students, demonstrating a nuanced understanding of the diverse needs of the student population.

In my professional role as the First Year Experience Coordinator at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, I was tasked with creating learning outcomes for the university's orientation program. This process involved defining clear expectations for how students, parents, and volunteers would engage with and benefit from the program. This initiative directly addressed the outcome of creating and assessing learning outcomes to evaluate progress toward fulfilling the mission of the department, division, and institution (ACPA & NASPA, 2015). Through this experience, I developed a holistic approach to learning outcome creation and assessment, ensuring that our orientation program was aligned with broader institutional goals and contributed to a cohesive learning experience for all participants.

At Buffalo State University, while serving as a graduate assistant in Student Leadership and Engagement, I designed and delivered several presentations aimed at training student leaders. Topics covered included servant leadership, strength-based learning, and communication style assessment. This experience aligned with the outcome of teaching, training, and practicing in a manner that leverages the assessment of learning outcomes to inform future practice (ACPA & NASPA, 2015). Creating these workshops allowed me to directly apply learning theories to enhance the leadership skills of students, demonstrating a commitment to evidence-based practices and continuous improvement in student development programs.

Reflecting on these experiences, I recognize the impact that a deep understanding of student learning and development theories has on my ability to design and implement effective programs and services. My journey through the SLD competency has been marked by a deliberate effort to bridge theory and practice, ensuring that my work in student affairs is informed by a robust theoretical foundation. This has not only enhanced my effectiveness as a student affairs professional but has also contributed to my personal growth and understanding of the complex dynamics of student development.

Looking ahead, I am committed to further refining my skills and knowledge in this area, particularly focusing on critiquing dominant group perspectives present in some models of student learning and development and modifying them for use in practice (ACPA & NASPA, 2015). Additionally, I aim to utilize theory to inform divisional and institutional policy and practice more effectively, ensuring that my contributions are both impactful and aligned with the evolving needs of the student population.


Servant Leadership Presentation

Student Accessibility Presentation

Blue Gold Welcome Orientation Learning Outcomes

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