About the Study
This study was fi rst proposed by Ralph Newell at Diverse: Issues In Higher Education as a possible partnership with the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) in 2011. The ACPA Governing Board motioned for the then-director of research and scholarship, Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, to explore the merit and extent of this project. With input from a volunteer advisory board, the project was recommended to the Governing Board and approved.
Dr. Strayhorn was commissioned by ACPA and Diverse: Issues In Higher Education to serve as the project’s principal investigator. In this role, Strayhorn developed the Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs (PPWSA) Survey in consultation with experts on the project’s advisory board. The original survey was pilot-tested with a small sample of non-ACPA member institutions; feedback from the pilot-test helped to clarify survey items, correct logic sequencing, and determine the utility of our scoring algorithm.
The purpose of this commissioned study was to examine the extent to which diversity and inclusion permeates aspects of various divisions of student affairs (or equivalent) at participating ACPA-member institutions across the globe including administrative structures, commitments, work environments, and staffng practices.
ABOUT THE SURVEY
The PPWSA survey consists of approximately 60 items, organized into 10 major sections. For example, one section elicits contact information for the survey respondent and identifying information about their respective institution (e.g., control, minority-serving institution [MSI] status). Another section includes several items to assess the structural diversity of the institution and student affairs department in terms of gender, race, sexual orientation, and disability status. There are several sections that measure the availability and extent of support services provided to student affairs staff on campus, such as professional development.
The survey was authored by Terrell Strayhorn, with input from experts on the project advisory board, and is not available in the public domain. Now part of the larger ‘Promising Places to Work’ project, the survey has been administered by Strayhorn and his teams at various centers and Do Good Work Educational Consulting LLC. All survey rights belong to the author. All analyses presented in this edition were conducted by Terrell Strayhorn and Royel Johnson.
ENGAGE US ON SOCIAL MEDIA
We invite readers to share with us how they’re using this year’s report of Most Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs (MPPWSA). Share with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram using #PPWSA21 and tag @DiverseIssues and @ACPA
PROJECT TEAM BIOGRAPHIES
Dr. Terrell Strayhorn is provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Virginia Union University, where he also serves as professor of urban education and director of the Center for the Study of HBCUs. Additionally, he is president and CEO of Do Good Work Educational Consulting LLC, a research fi rm that partners with leading colleges and schools to improve policy and practice, as a way of ensuring all students’ success. Author of 11 books, more than 200 journal articles, chapters, and reports, Strayhorn is an internationally known student success expert, equity researcher, and public speaker. Diverse: Issues In Higher Education named him an Emerging Scholar and he has received ACPA’s Emerging Scholar, Annuit Coeptis, and Diamond Honoree Awards. Follow him on Twitter @tlstrayhorn
Dr. Royel Johnson is assistant professor of higher education at Pennsylvania State University. As a scholar, Johnson engages in interdisciplinary research on issues related to educational access, equity, and student success. He is co-editor of three forthcoming books including Racial Equity on College Campuses: Connecting Research and Practice (SUNY Press) and has published two dozen academic publications. For his early career contributions to higher education and student affairs research, ACPA-College Student Educators International named him an Emerging Scholar in 2020. Follow him on Twitter @royeljohnson.