What is the field of Student Affairs? How does one go about preparing for and then building a career in Student Affairs? What are the possible areas of employment within the field how does one locate resources to learn more about possible careers? What are the benefits and challenges that student affairs professionals face?

Tune in if you:

  • are an undergraduate student or recent graduate considering a career in student affairs
  • are investigating professional preparation programs and professional associations
  • interact with students on your campus who may be interested in pursuing a career in student affairs and want to learn about resources to share with them!

On this episode of Student Affairs Live, host Heather Shea Gasser connects with six student affairs educators who are engaged in the field as new professionals, mid-level professionals, faculty members, and senior student affairs officers at a variety of institutional types.

If you have questions for our panelists, please email heather@higheredlive.com or tweet @heathergasser with your question and she will incorporate it into the dialogue. We will also take questions during the episode via the Twitter backchannel at #higheredlive.


Episode Host

Heather Shea Gasser

Heather Shea Gasser

Heather Shea Gasser’s career in student affairs spans 16+ years and five different campuses, and involves experience in many different functional areas including residence life, multicultural affairs, women’s centers, student activities, leadership development, and commuter/nontraditional student services–she is a true Student Affairs Generalist. Heather is currently serving as the assistant director of RISE (Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment), a living-learning community at Michigan State University while also a full-time doctoral student in MSU's HALE (Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education) Program. She completed her master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Colorado State University in 2000. She currently serves as the Director of Membership Development for ACPA-College Student Educators International and blogs for Feminists in Student Affairs. Connect with Heather on Twitter at @heathergasser


Lori Patton Davis

Dr. Lori Patton Davis is a higher education scholar whose research agenda focuses on African Americans in higher education, race and racism, college student access and success, and the influence of campus environments on student experiences. She currently serves as Associate Professor in the Higher Education and Student Affairs Program at Indiana University. Dr. Patton Davis is perhaps the most well-known researcher and scholar in the area of culture centers and is editor of the book, Campus Culture Centers in Higher Education, which highlights various types of racial/ethnic specific culture centers in higher education, their continued relevance, and implications for their existence in relation to student retention and success. She is also co-author of Student Development in College: Theory, Research, and Practice (2nd Ed)(Jossey-Bass) and co-editor of the forthcoming book, “Critical Perspectives on Black Women and College Success” (Routledge). Connect with Dr. Patton Davis on Twitter at @LoriPattonDavis


Kathy Guthrie

Kathy Guthrie has been in higher education for 15+ years, over 7 years as a student affairs practitioner and over 9 years as a faculty member. She currently serves as Associate Professor of Higher Education and Coordinator of the Undergraduate Certificate in Leadership Studies at Florida State University. She researches, practices, and teaches in leadership development, where she has a strong purpose in awakening students’ passion to make a positive, sustainable change. Every day Kathy works for a better world for her 2-year-old daughter, Kinley. Her Ph.D. is from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, her Master’s from Illinois State University, and her Bachelor’s from North Central College in Naperville, IL. You can connect with her @kathylguthrie


Chris Mundell

Chris Mundell’s career as a student affair educator has spanned 11 years and includes experience in several functional areas including: academic advising, disability services, academic support services. Throughout his career, Chris has sought roles that allow him to create and sustain partnerships that enable students to seamlessly connect in-class and out-of-class learning. He currently serves as Dean of Students at Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD), and provides leadership and oversight for its student involvement programs and support services functional areas. In recent years, Chris has delivered over twenty-five presentations at state, regional, or national conferences. Chris completed his master’s degree in Student Affairs and Higher Education at Miami University. He is a past-president of the Ohio College Personnel Association (OCPA) and graduate of both the ACPA Mid-Level Management Institute and the nationally-recognized Leadership Columbus Program. A slightly fanatical “Soccer Dad”, Chris spends his free time coaching youth sports and spending time with his partner and their two young children.


Amanda Parkman

Amanda Parkman has been working professionally in Student Affairs for five years now. Currently she works at THINK TANK, the academic support center at the University of Arizona, as the Academic Skills Coordinator. She oversee the Academic Skills Program which includes 12 Academic Skills Tutors (ASTs) and one graduate assistant. Additionally, she meets one-on-one with students as an academic coach, providing support to students in their college career. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s degree in Family Studies and Human Development and is currently finishing up her Master’s degree in Higher Education from UA. Within ACPA she is the current state president for Arizona.


Kent Porterfield

Kent Porterfield is Vice President for Student Development at Saint Louis University and Past President of the American College Personnel Association. He received his Ed.D. from the University of Missouri – Columbia and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Northwest Missouri State University. Kent is also a member of the Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Missouri College Personnel Association, and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. His career spans 26 years, and he has been recognized for his contributions to the student affairs field on numerous occasions, including as an ACPA Diamond Honoree, Outstanding ACPA State Division President, Missouri College Personnel Association Richard Caple Award recipient, and ACPA Annuit Coeptis – Senior Professional. Connect with him on Twitter at @DrKPorterfield.


Erica Thompson

Erica Thompson is the Associate Director of Residence Life at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. Over her nine year career, she has focused primarily on residence life and leadership development. Her work experience spans very small, private, liberal arts institutions and large, public, Division I, doctoral granting institutions. Erica earned her Master of Arts in Student Development in Post-Secondary Education and Bachelor of Arts in English, both from The University of Iowa. An active member of ACPA, Erica served for over five years on the Commission for Social Justice Educators Directorate Body. For three years, Erica collaborated with amazing folks as a member of the Student Affairs Collective Leadership Team. She is excited to enhance the convention experience as a part of the Technology Programs Team for ACPA 2016 in Montreal. Connect with Erica on Twitter at @EricaKThompson.