Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Book Review #3 - Achieving Student Success

I've just finished reading my third (not for pleasure, but still quite pleasurable) book of 2013, Achieving Student Success: Effective student services in Canadian higher education, edited by Donna Hardy Cox and C. Carney Strange, and published in 2010.

This book came up on my 'recommended reads' list on Amazon, and I immediately ordered it (along with about 10 other books last month - thank you Amazon Prime free trial!). What attracted me to this one, was that it is CANADIAN, unlike so many other Student Services references books out there. Although it can be expected that student services aren't very different between the US and Canada, our histories are still different, as are our practices. This book is a compilation of chapters written by Canadian #sapros (or pros in the US who began their careers in Canada), and divided into sections: 
  •  Historical, Philosophical, and Theoretical Foundations of Student Services
  •  Forms, Functions, and Practices: Structuring Services for Student Success
    • Matriculation
    • Accommodations, engagement, and involvement
    • Support and adjustment
  • Institutional Mission and Context
  • Achieving Student Success: Conclusion
What I enjoyed about this book is that although it had the expected 'textbook' feel, it offered an analysis (and sometimes critique) of student services as they currently stand in Canada. Most notably was the observation that so few graduate/doctoral programs are offered to individuals interested in student services as a career. As I am currently in the process of researching Master's programs (with hopes of a 2014 start), I have noticed this void myself, and am hoping that I will be able to build a more specialized program through the ones already available. 

This book also mentions the importance of building and maintaining relationships with alumni, not only for the financial benefits to the institution, but because individuals may only be students for a few years, but they will be alumnae for life.  

A quote I found particularly notable (especially given my positon on UOIT's brand new Alumni Association):
Student services programs can contribute expertise about how to help current students begin thinking as "alumni/ae in residence" and seeing graduation as a process of joining something for life rather than departing the institution.
I would recommend this book to any student services professional who wishes to supplement the existing resources with some Canadian information, and believe it will be a useful reference in my library.

I'm beginning to think that my 'one PD book per month' goal is going to be easier to achieve than I thought! I am especially excited about #sareads, and am looking forward to adding those books to my monthly reading list.

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