1st Edition

Creating Sustainable Careers in Student Affairs What Ideal Worker Norms Get Wrong and How to Make It Right

Edited By Margaret Sallee Copyright 2021
    336 Pages
    by Routledge

    336 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book argues that the current structure of student affairs work is not sustainable, as it depends on the notion that employees are available to work non-stop without any outside responsibilities, that is, the Ideal Worker Norm. The field places inordinate burdens on staff to respond to the needs of students, often at the expense of their own families and well-being. Student affairs professionals can meet the needs of their students without being overworked. The problem, however, is that ideal worker norms pervade higher education and student affairs work, thus providing little incentive for institutions to change. The authors in this book use ideal worker norms in conjunction with other theories to interrogate the impact on student affairs staff across functional areas, institutional types, career stage, and identity groups. The book is divided into three sections; chapters in the first section of the book examine various facets of the structure of work in student affairs, including the impact of institutional type and different functional areas on employees’ work-lives. Chapters in the second section examine the personal toll that working in student affairs can take, including emotional labor’s impact on well-being. The final section of the book narrows the focus to explore how different identity groups, including mothers, fathers, and people of color, navigate work/life issues. Challenging ideal worker norms, all chapters offer implications for practice for both individuals and institutions.

    Foreword—Kristen A. Renn Acknowledgments Introduction. Problematizing the Ideal Worker in Student Affairs—Margaret W. Sallee Part One. The Structure of Student Affairs Work 1. How the Structure and Demands of Student Affairs Reflect Ideal Worker Norms and Influence Work-Life Integration—Laura Isdell and Lisa Wolf-Wendel 2. “That’s the Job”. Agency and Control in Greek Life, Student Activities, and Campus Recreation—Benjamin B. Stubbs 3. Work-Life Integration in Student Affairs. A Closer Look at Housing and Residence Life—Amy S. Hirschy and Shannon D. Staten 4. The Influence of Institutional Type and Socialization Processes on Ideal Worker Norms of Student Affairs Professionals—C. Casey Ozaki and Anne M. Hornak 5. Problematizing Socialization in Student Affairs Graduate Training—Rosemary J. Perez Part Two. The Toll of Student Affairs Work 6. Whose Ideal Worker? Student Affairs and Self-Care in the Neoliberal Academy—Pamela Graglia, Karla Pérez-Vélez, and D-L Stewart 7. Burnout and Compassion Fatigue in Student Affairs—Moly A. Mistretta and Alison L. DuBois 8. Emotional Labor and Well-Being—R. Jason Lynch and Kerry L. B. Klima Part Three. How Various Identity Groups Navigate Student Affairs Work 9. Disclosure, Inclusion, and Consequences for LGBTQ Student Affairs Professionals—Carrie A. Kortegast 10. (En)Counterspaces. An Analysis of Working Conditions for Student Affairs. Professionals of Color in an Un-Ideal World—Ginny Jones Boss and Nicole Bravo 11. The Classed Construct of Student Affairs Work—Sonja Ardoin 12. Interrogating the “Ideal” New Professional in Student Affairs—Melanie Lee and Megan Karbley 13. Fathers in Student Affairs. Navigating a Gendered Organization—Margaret W. Sallee, Alyssa Stefanese Yates, and Michael Venturiello 14. Work-Life Integration. Women Administrators in Student Affairs and Higher Education Managing Work and Family—Sarah Marshall Conclusion. Reimagining Student Affairs—Margaret W. Sallee About the Contributors Index


    Margaret W. Sallee is Associate Professor and Higher Education Program Coordinator in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University at Buffalo. Her research focuses on two broad areas: faculty work and the graduate student experience. She uses a critical lens to examine the intersection of individual experiences and organizational culture to interrogate the ways in which gender and other social identities operate on college campuses. She has spent much of the past decade focusing on work/life balance and the ways in which institutional norms and culture shape parents’ experiences on and off-campus. She also is deeply interested in how gender affects individuals’ experiences and is particularly interested in the role that gender and masculinities play in men’s lives.

    “Every once in a while a book is published that changes our profession and how we do our work. Creating Sustainable Careers in Student Affairs is that book! This book is a must-read series of insightful chapters as contributors unpack the norms associated with the concept of the ‘ideal worker.’ As we think about student affairs work of the future, this book should be required reading for every educator and practitioner.”

    Tony Cawthon, Alumni Distinguished Professor, and Director, Graduate Studies, Student Affairs & Higher Education

    Clemson University

    “In Creating Sustainable Careers in Student Affairs, Margaret W. Sallee and colleagues provide a new dimension to the dialogue and research literature on invisible labor in the academy. Using the ideal worker model to frame the institutional cultures and structures that create and perpetuate inequitable work demands, Sallee and colleagues offer evidence of and recommendations for actions to reduce these inequities. This is a must-read for all higher education leaders, faculty, and human resource professionals who work in or support the student affairs profession.”

    Jaime Lester, Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and Strategic Initiatives, and Professor, Higher Education Program, College of Humanities and Social Science

    George Mason University

    “This book could not have come at a better time. For years, we’ve behaved as if you can’t have a successful student affairs operation if your team isn’t 24/7, never-saynever, go-down-with-the-ship, . . . and we’ve watched as promising professionals sadly, and sometimes defiantly, walk away. 2020 has showed us there are, and must be, other paths forward, and Creating Sustainable Careers in Student Affairs will help illuminate the way.”

    Melissa S. Shivers, Vice President for Student Life

    The Ohio State University