Snapshots from Fall 2014

Hello HESA students, past, present, and future!

Are you curious what it’s like to be a student in Baylor’s Master of Higher Education and Student Affairs program? Here are a few snapshots from our semester so far…

We started the semester off with a Welcome to Baylor BBQ at Waco’s Koehne Park. The second-year cohort hosted the new first-year cohort for an evening of good food, good conversation, and a beautiful view of the sunset over Lake Waco.

 

First and second-year students at the HESA BBQ at Koehne Park.

First and second-year students at the HESA BBQ at Koehne Park.

 

In early September, the HESA GSA executive team was busily recruiting first-year students to join HESA GSA. First-year students have the opportunity to join one of five GSA committees: Finance, Membership and Recruitment, Communications, Social and Service, or Professional Development.

VP for Communications Joshua Donath chats with first-year students about his vision for the HESA program.

VP for Communications Joshua Donath chats with first-year students about his vision for the HESA program.

 

Most recently, the first and second-year HESA cohorts joined forces for a weekend trip to Waco’s own Cameron Park Zoo. It was a beautiful day in Waco — and the Cameron Park Zoo did not disappoint!

Members of the first and second-year HESA cohorts on a trip to Cameron Park Zoo.

Members of the first and second-year HESA cohorts on a trip to Cameron Park Zoo.

 

Stay tuned for updates from our first-year students about their transition to Waco, to Baylor, and to the HESA program!

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Top Ten Tips for Interview Weekend

We cannot believe that Interview Weekend 2014 is already here for our prospective students!  We are just as excited as you all are.  After reflecting on our own interview experiences from just one or two years ago, our current students wanted to introduce our top ten tips for all prospective students.

1.  Bring extra copies of your résumé.  Supervisors will likely have copies, but you may care to bring extras with you for Friday!

2.  Bring a jacket.  Although it looks like our prospective students are bringing the sunshine with them, evenings can be chilly in Waco.

3.  Get excited to connect with current and prospective students, faculty, and potential supervisors.  Everyone here at Baylor is so excited to get to know you.  And take a look around — you may be among some potential future classmates.  Make connections!

4.  Use your host as a resource.  Your host will direct you to your interviews on Friday, and you may be staying in his/her home, too.  If you have questions about the weekend, the interview process, or anything — just ask!  Remember: current students have been in your shoes.

5.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  Every prospective student at interview weekend will have different interview schedules, different strengths, and different experiences with higher education & student affairs.  Don’t worry about it.  Your experience is your own.  Comparing yourself to others can get in the way of you having the best possible experience.

6.  Be open to the unexpected.  You may come to interview weekend with a certain apprenticeship in mind, only to find that you connect very well with a supervisor in a different office.  Be open to opportunities through which you can thrive as a student, as an apprentice, and as a whole person.

7.  Take in the Baylor culture and campus.  While you’re here, you will have the opportunity to experience our amazing campus.  Take it all in!  Stand beside the Judge Baylor statue, take a look at Pat Neff Hall, try a Sic ‘Em.  Our rich heritage and exciting traditions will amaze you!

8.  Wear comfortable shoes.  You may have a quick transition between buildings for interviews, and you will feel much more at ease if your footwear is comfortable.

9.  Dress to impress.  Prospective students often have concerns about what to wear.  We recommend business casual for Thursday’s events, and business attire for Friday’s interviews.

10.  Most importantly, be yourself.  You were selected to attend Interview Weekend for a reason.  We are happy to welcome you.  We want to get to know you.  So show us who YOU are!

 

We are so excited for you all to get here!  Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Sic ‘Em,

The Baylor HESA Family

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Exciting opportunity for Grad Students

Colleagues,

 

I wanted to take a minute and share with you some of the initiatives the Southern Association of College Student Affairs (SACSA) is doing to help expand our services to our members. Our goal this year is to increase student and faculty involvement within the organization. We provide professional development opportunities through non-conference programming, academic journals, career service opportunities, and professional institutes. We also offer a new website that serves as a resource for current trends and issues, connects you to other professionals, and allows you to engage with whom you may not normally connect in the Southern United States.

 

We are improving our current services to serve our student members as well. Currently, we are offering graduate students a 1 year complimentary Regular membership ($50 value) after they graduate. All they need to do is register/renew their membership and we will take care of the rest.

 

One of the biggest benefits SACSA offers graduate students is our Career Services Center and its resume review service. Additionally, students can volunteer on committees and become involved with the conference in Louisville (our 65th), subsequently expanding their professional network. We recognize not everyone on this listserv is in the Southern United States, but we do offer an associate membership for those outside the 15 States and DC. Students do not need to belong to one of these states to become a member, and for those hoping to return to the South, this is an excellent organization to assist them with their job search and professional network.

 

If you have a minute, please visit our new site and review our Benefits page to learn more about what we have to offer students and faculty. If you could forward this email to your students as well, we would greatly appreciate it.

 

Sincerely,

 

Matt Varga, Ph.D.
Vice President of Marketing and Outreach, SACSA
Assistant Professor Counselor Education and College Student Affairs
University of West Georgia

mvarga@westga.edu

(678) 839 – 6160

Bepress Site

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Fall 2013

Happy Holidays!

We are excited to use this blog post to take a look back at the fall semester. This amazing year started off by gaining 14 new students in the HESA program: Kristin Abbott, Cara Allen, Taylor Balch, Misha DeLong, Josh Donath, Melissa McLevain, Gabriela Olaguibel, Daniel Schoettmer, Ray Small, Anika Strand, Katie Styles, Cassie Thompson, Michelle Diaz, and Chris Kuhl. We are so happy to get to spend the next two years with you!

The second year cohort started the year off with a bang by hosting the Back to School BBQ at Lake Waco! It was a great time of getting to know new faces and preparing for the upcoming school year. There was a lot of great food and fun!

In the middle of the semester, our cohorts enjoyed a pumpkin carving afternoon! We sipped apple cider, ate pumpkin treats, and carved some beautiful pumpkins. Some fan favorites included the symbol for “Pi” and the logo from Monster’s University! It was great to take a break and enjoy one another’s company.

We brought the semester to a close with our second annual Cheapsgiving Celebration which involved both the first and second year cohorts as well as the HESA faculty members. Each person contributed a “cheap” version of their favorite traditional Thanksgiving dish. It was a great way to celebrate the holidays on a grad school budget! We are thankful to Dr. Leanne Newman for hosting everyone at her home and for the opportunity to celebrate the holidays together with friends!

The HESA program also had an excellent gathering with the Vice President for Student Life, Dr. Kevin Jackson, and his wife, Garret. We had a wonderful time eating a delicious meal in the company of our phenomenal faculty and the administrators who work diligently to serve us as graduate students. Santa even paid us a visit!

Our second year students just finished presenting their posters for their qualitative research class. We are so proud of them for their hard work, on topics from the dramaturgy of high-achieving students, to fraternity men’s conception of masculinity; from the academic lives of sorority women to the involvement for students of color at a predominantly white institution. Our first year students are already crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s on their first semester! It’s hard to believe how quickly the semester has passed by, but we are so fortunate to have spent it in fellowship with one another.

We can’t wait to see you in January! Sic ‘em!

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Guest Post from Nathan Shelburne, Baylor HESA Alum

I chose Baylor’s graduate program for reasons that have attracted many others to Waco, TX. I was especially drawn to Baylor’s commitment to the Christian faith alongside a dedication to outstanding academics; to the institution’s size—a great blend of intimate community and generous resources; and to Baylor’s reputation, particularly within the Christian higher education landscape. Not surprisingly, these things proved to be resoundingly true of the Baylor I grew to know and love. Yet there was so much I experienced beyond what I imagined looking in. Here are some aspects I have most appreciated.

  • Learning to see myself as an educator. If I heard this once in grad school, I heard it a thousand times. But the message is well worth repeating. As a recent college graduate and aspiring student affairs professional, I had lots of ideas as to how I hoped to impact and shape students’ lives. My own college experience had been incredibly enriching, challenging, and formative, and I was eager to have some part of giving that gift to others. But I hadn’t yet made the connection between those hopes and my sense of what constituted “education.” This was a subtle, ongoing shift that had dramatic implications on how I saw my role as a professional. In all aspects of campus life—academics, recreation, residence life, organizations, performances, ministry, etc.—there is tremendous potential for students to be deeply and powerfully impacted. Understanding myself as an educator gave me fresh eyes for the possibilities and purpose of each piece of the work we do and of each interaction with students.
  • Opportunity to learn about and observe higher education within a unique, distinctive environment. Baylor is a fascinating place and a great case study for higher education. It occupies a unique position in higher education as the largest Baptist institution in the world and as a university with high research activity. Baylor also has a historically strong dedication to teaching undergraduates; its heightened emphasis on research has been a fairly recent development. My years in grad school were in the midst of Baylor’s pursuit of the goals of Baylor 2012, an ambitious 10-year strategic plan that set the university on a number of new trajectories. I was able to observe how the institution went about its pursuit of these aims, and how the process and outcomes affected Baylor’s culture and identity. The opportunity to learn about higher education administration by simply observing such a unique institution was one of the most beneficial aspects of my grad school experience.
  • Cohort model built on relationships. Through the cohort model, the people I initially knew just through classes turned out to be one of the highlights of my Baylor experience. I learned so much through our conversations in class, from working on projects together, and from hearing about each other’s assistantship experiences. Even more enriching were the friendships themselves. The other students in my cohort provided such a great sense of security as we took our first steps together into the profession.
  • Commitment to excellence. Baylor’s commitment to excellence was apparent in virtually every part of my experience. Faculty and staff were driven to excel in their work, to be knowledgeable and professional, and to be outstanding advocates and educators for students. There was a desire not just to put on programs or have activities, but to meaningfully engage students in purposeful experiences both as participants and as leaders. This desire for excellence is contagious and has been a challenge and motivation for me throughout my career.

There are many other things I could mention: faculty who challenge, encourage, and believe in the potential of students; relevant work and practicum opportunities; the chance to work with and serve exceptional undergraduates and much more. My Baylor experience prepared me for roles at a variety of institutions because it helped me clarify who I wanted to be as an educator. I also gained a richer sense of the kinds of places I would most enjoy working, which has brought me back to serve full-time at Baylor! Sic ‘em Bears

Nathan Shelburne
Assistant Director for New Student Programs
Baylor University

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Interview Placement Recap

Well, Interview Placement is over. In just two days you were able to experience (among other things) a faculty panel, a distinguished lecture, a campus tour, dinner with program faculty and current students, coffee at Common Grounds, interviews with various apprenticeship locations, Dr. Pepper Floats, presentations from 1st and 2nd year HESA students, and (maybe) some sleep. I hope that you enjoyed your visit as much as we enjoyed hosting you!

And now comes the waiting…….

I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy waiting. In fact, it is one of my least favorite activities in life. I think Tom Petty may have said best: “The waiting is the hardest part.” But’s it is also a necessity. Regardless of whether you are interviewing at variety of institutions or only Baylor, you will probably not hear back as quickly as you would like regarding your admission and/or apprenticeship placement status. Please don’t be discouraged by this. Know that there are a variety of HESA representatives who are more than happy to answer whatever questions you have during this interim period.

Again, it was great to spend time with you all!

God Bless,

Scott Shepherd
2nd Year HESA Student

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Measuring for Success: My Apprenticeship with Campus Living & Learning

In your time at Baylor it will not be at all strange to hear people in the cafeteria say things like, “Well, I’m a Woo, so…” A colleague may pipe up in a meeting to tell you that, “if Strategic is not in your top five, it has to be in your top ten!” At Baylor, we care about utilizing people’s strengths to best effect, and it is convenient to talk about them with one another using the terms given in the Clifton StrengthsFinder. My own Strengths have been very important in my role as Grad Apprentice for Academic Initiatives and Marketing in Campus Living & Learning (CL&L). My Input and Context strengths were particularly useful early on in my time at Baylor, as there was so much to learn about my position, the culture of the department, and the story behind CL&L’s unique approach to housing.

CL&L has taken the traditional role of a Residence Life department and expanded upon it. Baylor’s traditional campus housing options are not “dorms,” but residence halls. They are not just barracks that students come back to when they need to sleep; CL&L has built a culture in which the lines are blurred between the classroom and housing. One of the ways that it does this falls within my duties as a GA, namely faculty involvement.

I hope that you have enjoyed rewarding relationships with at least one faculty member outside of the classroom context at some point over the course of your time as an undergraduate. If you have, I do not need to tell you how much that connection can enrich and enhance the college experience. It has long been established that students who enjoy semi-regular interaction with faculty outside of class are more likely to graduate, perform better academically, and are more satisfied overall with their college experience (Kuh, et al., 1994; NASPA, 1987; Parscarella & Terenzini, 1991; Astin, 1985). A growing number of our communities have faculty-in-residence, living and interacting with students every day as an integral part of their community. We are working on including faculty more in the regular rhythm of life in our other communities, as well.

Another portion of my apprenticeship involves various assessment initiatives. Assessment is a scary word for many people, but the truth is that there is a great deal that one is simply guessing at until there is hard data to be had. It is fascinating to see intuition challenged by reality and to begin to work out how to change in response to new information. For example, using a recent survey, I was able to tell our Resident Chaplains how many residents felt that they knew their Resident Chaplain, how involved their residents were in faith-related activities, and how many students wanted more faith-related conversations in their community. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

In this position, I have learned so much about what it takes to get faculty involved in residential communities, how to back up ideas with good research and hard data, and how to handle the multi-faceted challenges of programming and marketing. I have been challenged, supported, and have ultimately been changed by my time in Campus Living & Learning. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work under a great supervisor who not only wanted to see me succeed, but also challenged me and helped me to develop as both an individual and a professional. It is so rewarding to look back on my time at Baylor and to think of how far I have come through the combination of my time in the classroom and in the office.

Micah Wheeler
2nd Year HESA Student

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Experience Connection: Discover, Belong, and Thrive in New Student Programs

For those who enjoy fast paced, student-centered, high energy work, New Student Programs is a perfect fit. As an the graduate apprentice for New Student Programs, I am able to use my talents and interests to contribute to Orientation, Line Camp, Welcome Week, and Welcome Weekend. New Student Programs was a natural fit for me – I love working with students in transition, particularly those moving from the high school setting to college. Not to mention, my office is full of individuals who are passionate about the students they serve and students who are passionate about serving Baylor – we also have the most rockin’ Grad Pad in the SUB.

My day-to-day work varies depending on the season. My apprenticeship is a lot of fun, but also a lot of hard work. Here are just a few things you’ll get to look forward to:

  • In the fall, I start the year by helping coordinate Welcome Week. I facilitate training, supervise student groups, and ultimately lend a hand wherever I am needed. As a staff, we have a great time with our student leaders coordinating the Big Event, Round Up, President’s Picnic, and various other Welcome Weekend events.
  • I play a vital role in Baylor Line Camp, BaylorBound, and Welcome Week recruitment! This includes everything from planning and facilitating interviews, to selection and training of leaders.
  • My busiest and most exciting season is the summer – this can be a little stressful with coursework and comprehensive exams, but completely worth it! New Student Programs wants to give you an experience that is tailored to you as an individual. For me, that meant facilitating the large-scale service project for Line Camp and developing programming for academic success sessions at Orientation. I was able to experience and contribute to a variety of different components of Orientation and Line Camp. This experience will likely look very different for you depending on your interests and strengths! 
  • In the second year of your apprenticeship, you will run Welcome Weekend; this is the culminating experience of your apprenticeship. Welcome Weekend is shortened version of Welcome Week for spring freshman, transfers, and international students. You have complete autonomy over the programming, logistics, and leadership selection and training!
  • Your semesters may be filled with various other projects as well, which might include compiling assessments, contributing to the Student Life newsletter, assisting with the student leadership class, or helping assist with various NSP events throughout the spring and fall semester.

New Student Programs will always keep you on your toes; however, you have a chance to work in an environment full of laughter, fun, and truly rewarding experiences. I work with some of the best students and staff on campus (though I must say I am a little bit biased!) and have had wonderful opportunities to have experiences that compliment what I’m learning in the classroom. Of course, in case you aren’t convinced, here’s a little snapshot of me in action:

Samantha Riley
Graduate Apprentice for New Student Programs
2nd Year HESA Student
samantha_riley@baylor.edu

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Life in the Fast Lane–Student Activities Apprenticeships!

I know a lot of people assume that if you work in Student Activities you must have a lot to do with Homecoming, Christmas on 5th, Sing, or other big programs like that.  But as an apprentice for student organizations I really don’t touch any of that besides as an attendee!  However, Student Activities is a really lively office to work in, and I have the pleasure of sharing a suite with five other GA’s who are first-year’s now—we have more fun than should be allowed at work (shout out to my Grad Pad homegirls)! 

First off, my job title is Graduate Apprentice for Student Organizations and I work under Craig Willie who is our Associate Director of Student Activities for Student Organizations.  I have to lead off by saying that this apprenticeship has been a great experience simply from having the chance to work with Craig.  It’s been such a blessing to have him as a supervisor!  Especially as I had very little experience in Student Activities/Student Orgs coming into graduate school, but he has been an amazing teacher in the learning process for me.  I’ve become so much more confident in my ability to lead, plan events, and work with ambitious student officers over these past few semesters—all things I was lacking in prior to my apprenticeship.  So don’t feel like you have to have it all together before you start your job, it will come with time and good mentoring!

Now, for my day-to-day work, I spend most of my time communicating/meeting with new student organization leaders and working with them through the process of chartering a new organization on campus. The charter process at Baylor is labor and time intensive, so I walk with them through the process from start to finish.  I typically meet with 2-3 new student organization leadership groups or individuals per week, and give them a briefing on the “Steps to Recognition” (which are publicized on our website).  Of the 25-30 groups I meet with during the semester, 40-50% of those will actually pursue a charter for their group.  Then, after receiving their paperwork, I act as a liaison between that group and the Charter Council who ultimately reviews and makes a recommendation for the application to the Vice President.  During this stage, I communicate with the student groups on what they need to do to improve their application (technical edits and/or larger philosophical suggestions from the Council), and I also arrange the Charter Workshop Leadership Series where those leaders are trained on policies, recruiting, and event planning. 

This part of my job is pretty cyclical, so I can easily forecast when my busy times will be in the semester (based on application due dates and Council meeting times).  Beyond the charter process (which constitutes about 75-80% of my work), I also:

  • Work with Campus Visits to plan the Bear Fair at Spring/Fall Premieres;
  • Collaborate with several departments to plan Late Night;
  • Present Student Activities information at New Student Orientation sessions as needed;
  • Organize the Dr. Pepper Hour Organization Fair early in the Spring;
  • Coordinate the Fall Charter Ceremony and Spring Awards/Charter Ceremony;
  • Assist the Associate Director and our Coordinator for Student Organizations and Leader Development with leadership training initiatives; and
  • Arrange meetings and prepare materials for the Charter Council while serving as a Council Member
  • Develop and update website publications for Student Organizations

Student Activities will keep you hoppin’ no matter where you are working, however, you have a chance to work with a diverse group of students which keeps every day interesting.  My supervisor always gets a kick out of my daily schedule as it can look pretty random, (i.e. briefing with Lego Robotics Club at 12:30, constitution tutorial with Baylor Powerlifters at 1:45, and meeting with the Unconventional Weapons Group at 3:00) there is never a dull moment!

My best to you all as you navigate the apprenticeship selection process; feel free to email me with any questions: Monica_Sandstrom@baylor.edu

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Apprenticeships: They’re Kind of a Big Deal

As I’m sure you’ve realized by now, graduate apprenticeships are an integral part of the Baylor HESA program. Apprenticeships provide HESA students with the opportunity to apply theory to practice, grow professionally, and form stronger connections within the Baylor community. However, as evidenced by Kaitlyn and RaeLynn’s posts, no two apprenticeships are exactly alike. Accordingly, over the course of the next month various 2nd year HESA students will be posting about their apprenticeships. My hope is that these posts will provide you with greater clarity regarding the various apprenticeship opportunities that will become available this year.

So let’s start with my own apprenticeship. I am the graduate apprentice in the Office of the Dean for Student Learning & Engagement. So what exactly does that mean? Basically, everything that I do relates to promoting the success of first-year students at Baylor University. Thousands of first-year undergraduate students arrive at Baylor every fall and I work to help support those students as they transition to a university setting. My supporting first-year students has taken a variety of forms from co-facilitating a section of the first-year seminar course, to organizing and conducting focus groups of first-year students, to coordinating an academic transition program for orientation, to streamlining the set-up and coordination of the various sections of Baylor’s required first-year seminar course. However, the primary way that I have worked to support first-year students is by coordinating the Baylor University Peer Leader Program.

The Peer Leader Program is a student leadership and mentoring program that connects first-year students with upperclassmen peers. Peer Leaders play an important role in supporting first-year students. They meet one-on-one with first-year students, plan group activities, assist with the instruction of a first-year seminar course section, and take a three-credit leadership course to further their understanding of leadership theory. For the past year and half I have had the honor of recruiting, resourcing, and supporting these Peer Leaders. It has been an absolute joy to work with student leaders who are so strongly committed to welcoming, teaching, and mentoring first-year students. They are an excellent example of how Baylor University is truly a caring community.

Scott Shepherd
2nd Year HESA Student

 

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