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Knowledge Competency Reflection


Student affairs professionals are educators who create the learning environment in universities and promote students’ personal and professional development (Calhoun, 1996). Therefore, both knowledge and understanding are important for the success of the student and the development of the institution (Calhoun). According to Sandeen’s (1982) study, senior student affair professionals emphasized on knowledge competency of entry-level student affairs professionals. In my opinion, SAHE curriculum is helping me to enhance my knowledge competencies in many ways through the coursework.

The organizational behavior in student affairs course is part of this curriculum, and has developed my understanding of theories related to individual, group and organizational practice. I have analyzed the structural frame, human resource frame, political frame and symbolic frame of an organization for this course. This analysis has strengthened my understanding of an organization, especially the higher education institution’s organizational settings and how individuals behave in different situation. I understood both vertical coordination and lateral coordination. Vertical coordination consists of authority, guideline, procedures, planning and regulatory systems; it helps those in charge to run the organization through controlling the staffs’ or subordinates (Bolman & Deal, 1991). This understanding helped me to rethink about my leadership style. I usually follow the lateral coordination in managing my team through meetings, task force or coordination, and I understood that it is the best way to manage a team in an inclusive way. However, I understood the vertical coordination is also important for planning and implementation of rules and policies. In fact, this coordination is more effective in the case of managing a large team or larger organization. For example, I manage an area where we have more than hundred and fifty families. Therefore, we experience violation of policies by the residents. To solve this issue, it is difficult to do meeting with every residents to solve one policy violation. Therefore, if there is any policy violation, we inform thee residents regarding our existing policy and consequence of violating the policy. This approach works well in implementing our policy. After learning about innovative approach in problem solving from this course, I tried to find out the root causes and attempt to solve the problem. After assessing the cases, I discovered that policy violations mainly happen because of limited awareness. I anticipated that educating residents would reduce the rate of policy violation. Therefore, we started to publish our policies in our weekly calendar. At the same time, we started to arrange monthly quiz competition on published policies. I learned about “intrinsic motivation” from this class and this completion was the way of providing this motivation by giving prize to the winner. This approach helped us to educate the residents and also we also been able reduced the policy violation for this innovative approach.

Additionally, I also gained knowledge on the holding and practicing the power through learning about the political frame, which would allow me to deal with different situations in an organization. In addition, human resource frame made me decide my future leadership style, where I prefer to follow “Y theory” of this frame to allow my supervisees in taking self-decision and to move forward with self-direction. This approach is currently helping me to manage a diverse group of student staff. In my team, I have eight staff from six different countries and every educational level- starting from undergraduate to post-doctoral level. Because of this diversity within the group, all of them have different approaches to provide services to residents and leading programs. For example, one of our staff is a horticulturist with a PhD degree in this subject; his role is very instrumental in educating residents in managing environment friendly lifestyle and doing gardening for betterment of both soul and body. On the other hand, we have another staff with interest in cooking and crafts, and who is very popular with the spouses of the principal residents. Both are helping residents in being educated, and diverse characteristics of our student staff have positive influences in educating their peers. My “Y approach” is helping me to bring out those intellect from my staff.

Budget constraints is one of the most important current issues in student affairs (Zusman, 2005). We visited the University of Wyoming (UW) and interviewed some of their senior student affairs professionals to analyze the organizational structure of the university. From our experience, we understood that UW is facing financial challenges at this moment because of reduced funding by the state. They are planning to drop a few departments, and may end up firing staff. At the same time. One of their additional plan would be not to give any salary increment in next fiscal year. This approach may create occupational stress in existing employees and affect their job satisfaction and overall service. Senior student affairs professionals are still working on this issue to reduce this effect. This analysis helped me to understand current issues and practice in student affairs, as well as the roles and responsibilities of student affairs professionals

Finally, SAHE curriculum is improving my knowledge to serve in the field of student affairs in the future. I would like to utilize my knowledge in future to improve the system in student affairs based on the need of the students.


Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (1991). Leadership and management effectiveness: A multi frame,   multi‐sector analysis. Human Resource Management30(4), 509-534.

Calhoun, J. C. (1996). The student learning imperative: Implications for student affairs. Journal   of College Student Development37(2), 118-122.

Sandeen, S. (1982). Professional preparation programs in student personnel services in higher      education: A national assessment by chief student affairs officers. NASPA Journal,20, 51–          58.

Zusman, A. (2005). Challenges facing higher education in the twenty-first century. American       higher education in the twenty-first century: Social, political, and economic          challenges2, 115-160.

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