We don’t do a good job of advertising.
What I mean by “we” in that is those of us working in student affairs. We do not do a good job of advertising what exactly it is that we do. Faculty members and at times even administration walk by and really have no idea what we do. They see and even attend the events we help organize. They know they get lots of emails about how awesome our students are. They may even know that we work with disciplining students.
But do they know what we do? Ours is the art of developing students in areas that classrooms often don’t cover (please allow me to clarify, classrooms are essential, but learning does not stop at the door). We are the ones who work with students to understand the practice of leadership, service in action, developing friendships, and helping students understand the importance of taking ownership.
I am not saying that professors or administrators cannot or don’t do this. I’m saying this is what we spend time in the classroom learning to do only to get into the field and notice that you have to actually practice it to truly get it. Knowing that getting a student to write a risk management policy for a retreat their org wants to go on and seeing that student take responsibility for the event instead of just thinking it would be fun is awesome. Watching a student leader look back on their time and realize they have done things they never thought they could do is breath taking.
There is a lot to what we do. And I don’t really care if I ever get credit for it as long as my students get the best of me. But I have seen mentors, faculty, and friends do some incredible things and I want them to get some of the respect they have deserve.