Science meets Student Affairs (a.k.a. why use the scientific method to explain my competencies)
The concept of formatting my defense of competenices using the scientific method was itself a long, evolving process. From the start of my time in graduate school I have been acutely aware of how my previous experience in the hard sciences has impacted my transition to the social sciences. In many ways I feel like one of my most significant evolutions has come from broadening my definition of what knowledge is and how it can be measured and applied. I have also come to realize that the scientific processes of experimentation, data collection, and analysis of the results are all part of the academic and practical applications of student affairs work (and therefore make a perfect format for outlining my competency defense). Sure the venues have been expanded: experiments and data collection can take place in the classroom, but also during academic advising sessions, orientation programs, conduct hearings, football games, staff meetings, or simply walking around campus. Sure the analysis is more complex: there may never be an opportunity to recreate the exact experiment because student populations will change, new programs will be created and old ones will be lost, economic, political and social issues will change the dynamics of the entire college community. In other words, it may be a challenge to see student affairs through a scientific lens, but it is worth the effort. If A.L. Luria’s assertion that “The main goal of scientific observation is to view an event from as many perspectives as possible” than student affairs has a firm grasp in the scientific world and I for one am eager to keep exploring, learning and evolving!