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Values, Philosophy, & History

Competency Reflection

The Values, Philosophy, and History (VHP) competency area, created by NASPA and ACPA, is a broad knowledge base that creates a foundation for student affairs professionals. VHP includes knowledge and skills that connect the history of student affairs to current practices in the field (NASPA & ACPA, 2015). Intimately knowing the history of the profession allows current professionals the opportunity to reflect on traditional practices and devise new methods to help students learn and achieve success.

Through my education and experience in the student affairs profession, I would self-assess my Values, History, and Philosophy proficiency as foundational. Looking at the rubric for the VHP competency, I identified with many of the foundational outcomes, and I feel that the introductory level closely aligns with my current knowledge and understanding of the history of higher education.

The first foundational outcome I identified was to “explain the role and responsibilities of student affairs professional associations” (NASPA & ACPA, 2015, p.18). During my undergraduate career, I was selected to serve as a student fellow with the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) organization. Through my year-long fellowship, I worked closely with the organization and learned the importance that professional associations play in shaping the future of student affairs. I had the incredible opportunity to meet with and listen to scholars who publish research that addresses areas for improvement in the field. I am incredibly grateful that I was provided with this opportunity to begin developing an understanding of the rich history of this profession.

The second outcome I identified was “Describe the foundational philosophies, disciplines, and values of the profession” (NASPA & ACPA, 2015, p.18). This foundational outcome is directly tied to the documents I have read and discussed in connection to HEA 618: Student Affairs Administration. In this class, I have read the Student Personnel Point of View created by the American Council on Education (ACE) and The Student Learning Imperative: Implications for Student Affairs by College Student Educators International (ACPA). Through reading these documents that have been vital to the student affairs profession, I have started to better understand the principles of student affairs. In addition to understanding the foundation of the profession, these readings have allowed me to place the documents in the context of my work as a student affairs practitioner. I have thought about the philosophical aspects of student learning and how I have already applied them to my work in supporting students. As I continue to read these valuable documents and articles, I will keep forming and evaluating my understanding of the values of the profession and how I can shape these values as a practitioner.

The third foundational outcome I chose was “Describe the roles of faculty, academic affairs, and student affairs educators in the institution” (NASPA & ACPA, 2015, p.18). I explored this outcome during my summer internship with the University of California Merced. While serving as an intern, I had the opportunity to meet with each Vice Chancellor at the institution and ask questions to gain an understanding of the role they play in the institution. These meetings opened my eyes to the wide variety of professions that are required to ensure that an institution is successful and that students are adequately supported. I also began to understand the importance of a healthy working relationship between academic affairs and student affairs. Each division oversees passionate and dedicated professionals who are often required to collaborate and work to achieve a common goal. As a practitioner in this profession, I will continue to explore the many roles within higher education and participate in the development of beneficial collaborations.

In conclusion, I am excited to see my future development and growth in the Values, Philosophy, and History competency area. As a first-year graduate student, I know there is much to explore in the profession. By putting what I am learning in the classroom into practice, I will facilitate active participation in shaping the future of the student affairs profession. To further enhance my understanding of the profession and higher education, I will continue to read and discuss articles and documents released by Inside Higher Ed, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) organization. By consistently reading and understanding current events in the industry, I will be able to formulate my own identity and sense of values in student affairs. Although my competency level for VPH is foundational, there is so much room for development and progress as I continue my education.


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UC Merced Institutional History Paper

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