Retaining Student Affairs Professionals
The field of student affairs is service focused: service to students, to the college community, and to the world at large (how would the world function without college graduates?). As such it is natural for student affairs professionals to push themselves to provide the highest quality and quantity of services and in doing set themselves up for burnout. There are numerous ways to try and help combat burnout without significantly decreasing the quality of service that an institution provides. Creating an environment where employees can easily request new job responsibilities and delegate others would help. Creating rewards for continued employment (having professional membership dues/ conference fees paid, telecommuting, academic year appointments, etc.) would help employees feel like their work is valued and motivate them to continue developing professionally. As the field of student affairs becomes a more academic and career driven path it may be necessary for institutions and professional organizations to work together to create more clear paths towards career advancement and career planning. Student affairs professionals will therefore be able to come into the profession with a better understanding of the responsibilities, jobs, sacrifices and struggles they will have to go experience in order to get to achieve their career goals. Lastly I think it is important that higher education administers recognize the struggle in retaining student affairs professionals because of burnout and create forums for employees to discuss these issues in a semi-formal basis. Given the opportunity to discuss their struggles, employees would not only benefit from the support of colleagues, but may also be able to come up with creative solutions to the individual and collective problems they are experiencing.