The College Student Services Administration (CSSA) program at Oregon State University comprises a community of scholars and practitioners who strive to advance the field of student affairs through the preparation and continuing education of professional colleagues at the Master’s level. Through ongoing research; faculty, staff, and students have developed a set of core CSSA Competencies that represent the breadth and depth of knowledge, skills, and perspectives essential for the student affairs professional to be competent, capable, and compassionate, and successful in their professional work with students and colleagues.
All students who complete a Master’s degree in the College Student Services Administration program must demonstrate evidence of their competency in each of the five areas detailed below. (“Competency” is defined as being adequately or well qualified, and demonstrating proficient skills to successfully function, lead, and affect change in the student affairs field and higher education). Evidence of these competencies will be demonstrated through a wide range of experiences and in a rich variety of ways –through coursework, internships, assistantship/work experience, and other professional development activities and involvement. While the Competencies are each and collectively, designed to be comprehensive in scope, there are four core values and principles that implicitly run through each and serve as foundations of the program.
The CSSA graduate student experience culminates in the presentation and defense of a comprehensive capstone project, e.g. a portfolio; or a thesis with an accompanying Demonstration of Competencies document. The process of developing and demonstrating competencies is grounded in the expectation that CSSA students seek out a comprehensive and well-rounded graduate and professional experience. A key learning experience for CSSA students throughout their program involves intentionally reflecting on their graduate, professional, and personal development experiences. Through these reflections (which are integrated into their capstone project), the student develops an appreciation for how learning experiences contribute to greater self-understanding, as well as to the ability to lead and make a difference in their chosen career path.
1. Knowledge and Understanding of Higher Education and Student Affairs
2. Professional Skills and Organizational Management
3. Knowledge and Understanding of Student Populations and Student Development
4. Delivery of Student Services
5. The Developing Professional
Shortly after the end of the inaugural workshop to incorporate Indigenous studies into Oregon outdoor education, a Portland-area educator approached the presenters.