3.9.3 Qualified Student Affairs Personnel

The institution employs qualified personnel to ensure the quality and effectiveness of its student affairs programs.

Judgment of Compliance

PVAMU SACS Accreditation - Judgement Compliance

Narrative of Compliance

Prairie View A&M University ensures the quality and effectiveness of its student affairs programs by employing qualified personnel who believe in the institution's mission of "excellence in teaching, research and service." Student Affairs employees focus on services to make college a truly comprehensive experience where students learn to make life-long decisions promoting leadership, citizenship, and civility. As the Student Activities and Leadership Philosophy states, "We value our role as educators in the campus community, and advocate and embrace the appreciation of diversity, values and exploration" [1].

Student Affairs is spread across multiple units at Prairie View. The Division of Student Affairs and the Office of Enrollment Management, which includes recruitment, admissions, the registrar, and financial aid, offer support services to students, and all undergo regular annual evaluations [2]. Procedures for the selection of new staff are outlined in the response to Comprehensive Standard 3.2.9. The Office of Equal Opportunity screens job descriptions, evaluation forms, and interview questions before anything in posted to the PV PAWS online employment system [3], and then the guidelines from the Office of Human Resources are followed [4].

Division of Student Affairs
Formerly under the aegis of a joint Office of Student and Academic Affairs, in 2007, the Division of Student Affairs was created as one of the two main branches under the new Office of Student Affairs and Institutional Relations to administer a comprehensive range of services, activities, and programs that promote student learning and development. According to the position description, the Vice President of Student Affairs and Institutional Relations should hold at least a master degree and have 5-7 years of relevant experience [5]; the individual hired in 2004 brought an Ed.D. and over 20 years of experience as a professor, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, and then Vice Chancellor for Minority Affairs before coming to Prairie View A&M.
Due to the administrative reorganization, a new post of Associate Vice President for Student Affairs was created to better serve students. Six areas report to the Associate Vice President of for Student Affairs, as the organizational chart shows [2]. The directors each hold at least an appropriate master degree in education, business, counseling, or health education, and the Director of Student Services earned a doctorate in higher education administration. Additionally, employees bring additional qualifications besides their degrees; the Director of Student Activities and Leadership is the current Chair of the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) through April 2010, after previously serving as treasurer and on the Board of Directors for the group, and the Student Conduct Officer is a certified anger management therapist [6]. Most units in Student Affairs are staffed by additional coordinators, assistant directors, specialists, assistants, and officers whose qualifications can be viewed in the supporting documentation [6]. Overall, three staff members hold doctorates, twenty hold relevant master degrees, and two who have more than twenty years of experience are returning to school to earn their degrees. Most employees at the director level have at least 15 years of experience in higher education. The longevity and low turnover rates of student affairs personnel help anchor effective programs.

Given their strong backgrounds and the changing needs of the Prairie View A&M student, Student Affairs personnel always look for new ways to deliver quality programs. Two accomplishments in the past five years include Career Services' improvements to the annual Career Fair by increasing the number of companies participating by 34% between 2004 and 2008 [7], and the increase of the annual Student Leadership Institute from 3.5 to 6.5 days, based on survey feedback received by Student Activities and Leadership [8].

Prairie View A&M also encourages ongoing professional development and offers funded travel to conferences and conventions. Personnel from Career Services have attended the National Association of Colleges and Employers Conference [9] and joined members of Student Activities and Leadership at the Southern Association of Colleges and Employers Conference and Texas A&M System Student Affairs Symposium (hosted at PVAMU in 2007) [10] [11] [12]. Members of Student Activities and Leadership regularly go to the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) Convention [13] as well. Finally, the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and personnel in Student Conduct participated in the Donald  D. Ghering Academy for Student Conduct Administrators [14].

Enrollment Management
The Office of Enrollment Management began on June 1, 2004, encompassing Undergraduate Admissions, the Registrar, Financial Aid, Marketing and Recruitment, and Orientation.

Personnel in Admissions hold master degrees in counseling and business administration. The University Registrar earned an M.A. in counseling and has put that degree to use for 30 years in university settings. In fact, all senior personnel in both Admissions and the Office of the Registrar have worked in higher education for at least 14 years. As the brief credentials indicate, they are members of TACRAO (Texas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers), NACDRAO (National Association of College Deans, Registrars and Admissions Officers), and NABSE (National Alliance of Black School Educators) and participate in the annual Texas A&M System Student Affairs Symposium [6].

In the Office of Student Financial Aid, over half of the counselors have worked in higher education settings for at least 10 years, as have both Associate Directors, and one third of the counselors have been working for universities for 20 or more years. A current job posting for a loan coordinator serves as an example of the qualifications sought for this area of student affairs [15]. On December 1, 2006, the new financial aid administrator, who holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, began employment and introduced several changes. The Office of Student Financial Aid has received Title III grant funding for 2002-2007 and 2007-2012 to improve its technology base and "to improve the level of service that students have come to expect when attending an institution of higher education" [16]. In August 2007, the office was reorganized with additional counselors, shared duties with recruitment officers, and improved services to the College of Nursing and Northwest Center [17]. In late 2007, counselors were put into customer service teams to ensure an available expert when students need an appointment and to streamline routing of information [18]. The Office added Financial Aid TV, an online video counseling service, in spring 2009.

Like other student affairs employees, those working in financial aid are active in professional organizations like the Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (SASFAA) and National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA). For example, the Director was a panelist presenter at the 2007 NASFAA Conference [19] and is a member of the 2008-09 Student Access and Diversity Committee [20].

For all services under Enrollment Management, the new PVLive Online Support Center provides useful financial aid forms for download, live chat with customer service representatives, and frequently asked questions about everything from campus tours to repayment terms on consolidated student loans [21].

Annual Evaluations
To evaluate personnel, Prairie View A&M uses two forms, one for personnel in non-supervisory positions [22] and one for supervisors [23], and as the latter states, "The principal purpose of staff reviews are to encourage staff development and to strengthen the departments’ effectiveness." The Office of Business Affairs sends out memoranda detailing any changes to the forms or process and setting evaluation deadlines [24] [25].

As the forms show, regular employees are assessed on their productivity, adaptability, initiative and resourcefulness, and communication skills, among other performance factors, and each evaluation is accompanied by an improvement plan for the next year to encourage constant improvement in the services offered to students. Supervisors are evaluated on additional criteria including leadership, development of staff, and internal control programs, and they also must make sure that the position description in the PV PAWS online employment system is accurate and up-to-date. All of these requirements work together to keep the quality and effectiveness of Student Affairs personnel at the highest possible levels.

Supporting Documentation and Links

Comprehensive Standards 3.9.3

© 2009 Prairie View A&M University