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  • Becoming Socialized in Student Affairs Administration: A Guide for New Professionals and their Supervisors
  • Eric Jessup-Anger
Becoming Socialized in Student Affairs Administration: A Guide for New Professionals and their Supervisors. Ashley Tull, Joan B. Hirt, and Sue A. Saunders (Editors). Sterling, VA: Stylus, 2009, 232 pages, $29.95 (soft cover)

The graduate preparation and subsequent transition of new professionals into the field of student affairs has received significant attention from scholars in recent years (e.g., Amey & Reesor, 2009; Magolda & Carnaghi, 2004; Renn & Jessup-Anger, 2008). Chief among the reasons cited for this burgeoning interest are concerns over the relatively high rate of attrition among early career professionals (Tull, 2006). Although scholars have examined many of the discrete components of the pipeline into the field (e.g., graduate preparation, initial transition, and supervision) and the associated impact on work life issues and persistence in the profession, none have explored the full range of practitioner’s early career experiences using a common framework. Becoming Socialized in Student Affairs Administration: A Guide for New Professionals and their Supervisors, edited by Tull, Hirt, and Saunders, seeks to fill this gap.

With the stated intent of improving practice, enhancing work life quality, and stemming the attrition of new professionals from student affairs, the authors of this edited text apply socialization theory as an overarching framework and articulate a multifaceted approach to the preparation and transition of new professionals across multiple venues. Socialization, defined in the preface as, “the process by which new members of an organization come to understand, appreciate, and adopt the customs, traditions, values, and goals of their profession and their new organization” (p. x), is offered as a holistic, comprehensive, and practical way to prepare new professionals for productive careers.

The text, organized into 4 parts, consists of 11 chapters written by a mix of preparation program faculty and seasoned student affairs practitioners. Part 1 provides an introduction to socialization theory and articulates how it might be applied by those concerned with the preparation and early career success of new professionals. In the opening chapter, Collins contributes an easily digestible overview of socialization theory. Collins weaves together Thornton and Nardi’s (1975) stages of socialization with Hirt and Creamer’s (1998) four realms of student affairs professional practice to articulate a framework for understanding how socialization occurs in student affairs settings. Although Collins offers a useful theoretical overview, her inclusion of practical and easily applied recommendations at each stage in the process is a particularly rich inclusion with significant utility for all audiences. Part 1 concludes with a chapter by Rosser and Javinar that summarizes six common dimensions of work life that a recent national study found to impact morale and job satisfaction among mid-career student affairs professionals. Rosser and Javinar also include a set of recommended approaches for new professionals and their supervisors to improve work life quality.

In part 2, the authors delve into the contexts in which profession socialization unfolds. Hirt opens the section by teasing out differences in the work life experiences of student affairs practitioners across eight different institution types. [End Page 444] Hirt shares keen insights into variations in how and to what end socialization is likely to occur within these diverse environments. Throughout the chapter she infuses nuanced recommendations to guide new professionals as they navigate their transition into different organizational cultures. Freeman and Taylor conclude part 2 with an overview of the current state of shifting student demographics and emerging trends and their collective influence on the socialization of new professionals. The authors close with a summary of practical suggestions directed at new professionals, their supervisors, and graduate preparation program faculty to remain abreast of emerging student trends and issues.

Part 3 focuses on strategies that might be employed to promote socialization in specific venues. Among the settings covered in detail are graduate preparation programs, new staff orientation, supervision and mentorship, staff–peer relationships, institutional initiatives, and professional associations. Readers might consider picking and choosing which chapters in this section they feel are most relevant to them and focus their attention accordingly rather than reading front to back. Perhaps the strongest chapter among the group is Carpenter and Carpenter...


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pp. 444-446
Launched on MUSE
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