What is a student affairs professional? This seems like an easy question, yet I haven’t found a definitive answer. When I see questions such as “do student affairs professionals need a Master’s degree?”, I wonder even further about what folks are referring to as professionals. In a typical student affairs organization, there are different classifications of jobs that make up the organization. For example, in UCSB Student Affairs Division, there are more than 30 units, and folks are assigned to different roles within these units. For example, in student health service, we have physicians, medical assistants, administrative assistants, business officers, and storeroom staff. We also have an IT unit consisting of technology professionals and administrative staff. In our Disabled Student Services office, we have advisors, adaptive technology staff, and administrative staff.

Given the sample of roles in our division mentioned above, I think that not everyone in the division needs Masters’s degree to do their jobs. However, I must ask, “if student affairs professionals need a Master’s degree, what qualifies them to be a student affairs professional?” That a staff works in a student affairs organization, does that qualify them to be considered a “student affairs professional”? Are there particular roles within student affairs organizations that are “professionals,” or does one need some educational credential to be considered one?

What do you think?


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