I am often asked by peers in higher education about student development theory and practice. At Clemson University — especially within the Division of Student Affairs — we see significant growth and development in our students.
As Vice President for Student Affairs, I am privileged to be an active participant as students progress throughout their Clemson journey. I see a real-time picture of their professional, personal, spiritual and academic growth. I often wish we could quantify that growth from the day a student first sets foot on our campus for orientation. From my vantage point, it would be pretty spectacular.
We make significant investments in our students. While academics is the institution’s primary mission, Student Affairs is poised to augment that mission with experiences that occur outside of the classroom.
Our role is predicated on transitioning students and families in, on and out of the institution. This is a symbiotic relationship in that all three philosophical components coincide with their growth and development as people. President Jim Clements talks about this all the time. While we have 26,000 students, we are intentional about reaching every single one of them. It requires us to constantly evolve, no matter what methodologies we use for them to be successful.
Career preparation is an obvious component of individual growth. Families understandably expect their sons and daughters to be employable after this component of the life journey. But holistic development also comes with growth in mind, body and spirit. The Division of Student Affairs is committed to this personal growth and will create opportunities to promote, encourage and participate in these experiences.
We provide mechanisms for students, whether it is through new facilities such as the Andy Quattlebaum Outdoor Education Center or Samuel J. Cadden Chapel. We offer a continuum of programming, from involvement to service to civic engagement to outdoor activities. We have more than 500 student organizations and more than 25% of our students are involved in fraternities and sororities. All of these mechanisms provide students with an opportunity to be exactly what they want to be when they leave Clemson.
Fostering personal growth and development is absolutely critical as we talk about what it means to live in a global society. This is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding aspects of our work in Student Affairs at Clemson.
— Dr. Chris Miller, vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students, Clemson University
Clemson Corner is a bimonthly column on all things Clemson University. From individuals reaching new heights, research breakthroughs and discoveries, or events that can bring us all together, you’ll be able to learn more about the people who make Clemson, Greenville and South Carolina such a special place.