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. CSSA Competencies 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. 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.

CSSA Core Values and Principles

  • Cultural and linguistic diversity
  • Verbal, written and virtual communication
  • Interpretation and use of research, information, data
  • Adaptation to and use of evolving technology

We uphold a values-based commitment to broad institutional change, so graduates are united in a shared sense of responsibility to collaboratively improve their community. In meeting these aims, we:

  • embrace reflection and critical thinking to reimagine new approaches to adapt to the changing world.
  • build allies and partners who are committed to transformation for the common good.
  • celebrate a mindset that is open, willing to change, collaborative and centered on inclusion

Program Competencies

1.  Knowledge and Understanding of Higher Education and Student Affairs

  • Articulate knowledge of historical and philosophical underpinnings of past and current issues shaping the field of student affairs and the student experience
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the range, scope, and roles of different functional areas within higher education
  • Understand the primary challenges and opportunities being presented to student affairs professionals
  • Understand systems of privilege and oppression and the impact of these on institutional systems or organizations
  • Identify goals, trends, and key issues related to the future of the student affairs profession
  • Identify legal issues that impact higher education, field of student affairs, institutional policy and the student experience, AND Graduates should be able to Integrate the CSSA Core Values and Principles into their Demonstration of Competencies/Portfolio

2.  Professional Skills and Organizational Management

  • Comprehend organizational structure, dynamics, and systems
  • Identify and evaluate leadership styles, including one’s own, in various settings
  • Demonstrate the ability to take initiative and lead in meetings and on projects or other tasks
  • Communicate and collaborate effectively and appropriately with constituents both internal and external to the institution, considerate of cultural and linguistic diversity
  • Synthesize fiscal information, including budget constraints and resources allocation
  • Recognize best practices and challenges in human resources/personnel management
  • Demonstrate flexibility and adaptability in changing circumstances, employing decision-making and problem-solving skills, AND Graduates should be able to Integrate the CSSA Core Values and Principles into their Demonstration of Competencies/Portfolio

3.  Knowledge and Understanding of Student Populations and Student Development

  • Understand the impact of student identity, cultural heritage, and institutional and societal systems (including power and privilege), on identity development, personal growth, individual perspectives, and students’ experiences
  • Recognize various dimensions of identity and the intersectionality of those dimensions in the lives and learning experiences of students
  • Analyze and apply concepts and theories of student and human development to enhance work with students
  • Identify and articulate issues students face when transitioning into and out of institutions of higher education
  • Assess the impact of varied higher educational settings and institutional types on the student experience
  • Apply varying approaches and relevant technology to communicate with different students and student populations, AND Graduates should be able to Integrate the CSSA Core Values and Principles into their Demonstration of Competencies/Portfolio

4.  Delivery of Student Services

  • Utilize research and assessment data to identify needs and establish learning outcomes for the development of programs and services
  • Design and implement assessment tools and interpret data to inform future programs
  • Apply knowledge of diverse audiences in the development, communication, delivery, and assessment of programs, curricula, and services
  • Identify target populations and use appropriate marketing strategies to maximize program effectiveness
  • Implement accessible and engaging programs incorporating innovative techniques and technology to meet the needs of a diverse audience, AND Graduates should be able to Integrate the CSSA Core Values and Principles into their Demonstration of Competencies/Portfolio

5.  The Developing Professional

  • Define professional development needs and interests for continued growth including opportunities for future contributions to the body of knowledge
  • Identify one’s professional values and ethics
  • Describe how one’s own world view impacts values and assumptions when working with others
  • Establish a commitment to engage in ongoing inquiry throughout one’s career or articulate the value/appreciation of ongoing inquiry and engagement, AND Graduates should be able to Integrate the CSSA Core Values and Principles into their Demonstration of Competencies/Portfolio

Program Outcomes (knowledge, awareness, and skills)

  1. Conduct research or produce some other form of creative work.
  2. Demonstrate mastery of subject material.
  3. Conduct scholarly or professional activities in an ethical manner.
  4. Analyze how education can both mediate and reproduce power, privilege, and systems of oppression.
  5. Explore the roles, responsibilities, and commitments of higher education toward the needs of local and global communities.
  6. Evaluate educational programs and learning environments for their capacity to cultivate respectful engagement with diversity.
  7. Critique the relationship between student affairs and the larger academic enterprise and their shared role in promoting social justice.
  8. Analyze the diverse cultural contexts of students’ lives and how these contexts shape student development and learning.
  9. Explore how contemporary social issues impact students’ lives and evaluate appropriate interventions.
  10. Demonstrate the characteristics of a scholar-practitioner who utilizes research to inform their professional role.