The curricular focus of CSSA is to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and awareness needed to effectively engage with contemporary and future college students. Because of the program's location within the School of Language, Culture, and Society, the integration of social justice throughout the curriculum is a foundational strength of CSSA. In addition to social justice studies and experiential activities in the CSSA program, students will have access to other SLCS curriculum to further enhance their knowledge of social justice issues. Through the CSSA program, students will have the opportunity to think critically about social justice and participate in experiential learning activities in which they will engage in the work of social justice.
Dr. Robert W. Chick, an administrator who had significant student affairs experience at the University of Missouri, University of Denver, and Washington State University, founded the CSSA program in 1966. As the first Dean of Students and later the Vice President for Student Affairs at Oregon State University, Dr. Chick built an outstanding program of coordinated student services within the OSU community.
Dr. Chick provided leadership in bringing together student affairs professionals throughout Oregon and the Northwest to share ideas and discuss relevant issues in the field. From this, he recognized the need for a professional training and degree program in the region. In 1966, the State Board of Higher Education in Oregon approved the offering of Ed.D., Ph.D., Ed.M., and the M.S. degrees through the CSSA graduate programs at Oregon State University. Dr. Chick's mentorship of CSSA graduate students and of Oregon State University student affairs professionals has left a lasting legacy.
Since its founding, over 500 students have graduated from the CSSA program. CSSA graduates hold positions in nearly every state as well as in several other countries. Alumni also hold positions at various levels of administration in colleges and universities from instructional faculty and advisors to presidents. Alumni have also held numerous leadership positions in professional associations including President of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA), President of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), President of the Association of College Unions-International (ACU-I), Vice President of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), President of the Northwest Association of Student Affairs Professionals (formally NWCPA), President of the Western Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (WASFAA), as well as serving on numerous advisory boards, editorial boards, and national/regional committees.
The CSSA curriculum is organized around a set of core competencies that represent the breadth and depth of knowledge, skills, and perspectives essential for the student affairs professional to be competent, capable, and contemporary, and successful in their professional work with students and colleagues. Additionally, the core competencies provide guidance in the orientation of CSSA students to the underpinning values of the student affairs profession and serve to inform the lifelong learning requirements for student affairs professionals.
As specified by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education, the CSSA program includes the essential attributes of a comprehensive graduate preparation program (a) foundational studies, (b) professional studies, and c) supervised practice. In addition, the CSSA program’s courses, activities, and pedagogy place emphasis on understanding and enacting social justice practices.
Read and learn more about the CSSA Competencies and Core Values.