Teaching Reconsidered: Exploring the Teaching Experiences of Student Affairs Professionals in the College Classroom

Ramona Meraz Lewis, Ginny Jones Boss, Ayanna T. McConnell
Journal for the Study of Postsecondary and Tertiary Education  •  Volume 2  •  2017  •  pp. 023-041
Aim/Purpose The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of student affairs professionals who teach in a variety of college classroom settings.

Background Increasingly, student affairs professionals are serving in teaching roles inside the college classroom; yet, there are few empirical studies that explore that teaching role or the impacts of that teaching experience. Because there are so few studies, we know little of the impacts of these experiences on the individual, the institution, or students.

Methodology This qualitative study explores the experiences of student affairs professionals who also teach in a variety of campus and classroom settings. The 12 participants from 11 different institutions ranged in years of service in the profession from six to 40 years. They taught an array of undergraduate and graduate courses including first-year experience and career courses, general education courses, and courses in higher education graduate programs. Participants share insights on how their training as student affairs professionals impacts them in their roles as college teachers.

Findings The findings are categorized into two broad themes: the impacts of practice on teaching and the impacts of teaching on practice. Additionally, participants share how their teaching experiences enhanced their awareness of the academic culture of the academy, enriched their understanding of students, and improved collaborations across their campuses.

Future Research Our research addresses the gap in the literature by providing a number of considerations on how formal teaching and student affairs practice have a recursive relationship. Future research might explore how teaching at the undergraduate level may differ from teaching at the graduate level. Future research, should explore in what, if any, ways the number of years teaching influences how professionals approach teaching. Future research on teaching might also explore the experiences of student affairs professionals who teach in discipline specific areas.
student affairs professionals, teaching, classroom, practitioner, scholarship of teaching, college teaching
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