Katie's Capstone

Philosophy of
Student Affairs
Culmination Paper
My Strengths




Legal and Ethical Issues

Budgeting and Fiscal Management

Counseling/Personal Development

Educational Mission and Process

Evaluation and Assessment

Moral, Ethical, and Spiritual Issues

Quality Programming

Visionary Leadership

Multicultural Awareness


Campus/Community Relationships

Managing Conflict and Crisis

Counseling and Personal Development

Student affairs professionals must have the ability to relate with students and other professionals from a variety of backgrounds.  They need to be able to assess the holistic developmental and personal needs of the students they interact with, as well as help students learn and grow in these areas during their college experience.  Apart from walking alongside of students in their developmental and personal learning, a student affairs professional also needs to know how and when to refer students to other student services offices available to benefit them in their overall development.

Accountability/Judicial Meetings with Students

Opportunities for Relationships and Counseling with Residents

1-1's with My Student Staffs (Community Advisors at Cal Poly Pomona, FHS and Resident Advisors at Azusa Pacific University)

Strengths Counseling

Meetings with Counselor from University Counseling Center

Accountability/Judicial Meetings with Students:

At both Cal Poly Pomona, Foundation Housing Service and Azusa Pacific University, I consistently have had the opportunity to meet with students regarding their behaviors.  Though these meetings often take place to deal with violations of school policy, I make an effort to get to know the students personally and seek to find out reasons behind why they may act out.  I hope to create an environment where students can feel comfortable to share their stories, be who they are, and ask questions openly; I understand the importance of keeping what they say confidential except from my boss and possibly the counseling center if the student needs help.  By talking with students about whatever incident caused them to meet with me, I hope to challenge them to learn how to make wise decisions.  In the sanctions that I assign for students, my desire is to provide them with opportunities giving them a chance to evaluate their behaviors and think about what they value.  I want sanctions to be beneficial for the personal and educational development of students.  I also seek to view students as individuals, recognizing that every student is different and brings unique characteristics to the table.  As I meet with students, I never want to place them in a box or assume why they act as they do; rather, I want to give them the opportunity to share their own values and beliefs with me.  Though I do not always agree with my students, I work hard to value them as individuals while challenging them to see the importance of adhering to school policy.  Below are some of the examples of sanctions that I have developed during my time as an RD; I hope they show that I look at students as individuals and work hard to find sanctions that truly benefit their overall development.

Sanction Examples

Opportunities for Relationships and Counseling with Residents:

As an RD, I serve as the first response person in crisis situations both in my living area and within other living areas on campus.  Crisis situations may include medical emergencies, severe eating disorders, fights, suicidal students, and many other things (I have dealt with all of these situations).  In my role as the crisis responder, I work directly with the students involved - students who may gather to see what is going on, the student in crisis, and any friends that may be involved in the situation.  Often, these situations require me to counsel and guide students.  In the following paragraph, I will provide an example from the many times that I have dealt with students in crisis that I feel best illustrates my ability to work with and counsel students in crisis.

During my first year as an RD at APU, one of the students in my building was killed in a car accident.  This incident had a tremendous affect on the community of my living area.  After letting the appropriate people know of the situation, I talked with the residents in my building, went with my RA to tell the residents of her wing, and led meetings for residents in my building to talk about their feelings and the overall effect of the accident and death.  A lot of my work with students required me to facilitate an environment in which they could feel comfortable simply coming and questioning or coming and crying.  I set up a meeting place in the lobby where students could assemble to talk and pray.  I talked with the woman's roommate and made sure she was taken care of during this time.  I met with the student's friends to simply comfort them and give them a safe place to be broken.  I also worked closely with my RA, giving her a place to breakdown, talk, process how to deal with the situation, etc.  Overall, I simply made myself available during this time.  This was an instance that I would never wish on anyone.  Yet, I know God worked in amazing ways during this time to grow my own understanding of counseling and being available to students.  He also worked in the community of students in my building. 

1-1's with My Student Staffs
(Community Advisors at Cal Poly Pomona, FHS and Resident Advisors at Azusa Pacific University):

One of the favorite parts of my RD job is the 1-1s that I get to have with my student staff.  Every week, I meet with my staff members one on one to discuss work related issues and personal growth.  In these meetings, I often talk with my staff about very personal subjects.  Though we do talk about work related concerns, a majority of the meeting consists of talking through personal issues, questions, and concerns that my CAs/RAs are working through in life.  As I interact with my students on a consistent basis, I build a rapport with them and work hard to create a relationship of trust.  It has been such a blessing and encouragement for me to watch walls come down when my staff members reach a breakthrough point of opening up.  While at Cal Poly Pomona, one of my staff members called me crying one night and shared that he had been raped.  Another of my staff members asked a lot of questions about my lifestyle and therefore my faith in Christ; we had many intense conversations about who God is and how He cares for people.  At APU, I have worked with an RA who was in the midst of extreme family problems; she used the meetings that we had to process her feelings and ultimately came to a starting place of allowing healing to occur in her life.   

My times with my CAs/RAs have also allowed me to partner with other offices on campus by referring several of my students to offices such as the Counseling Center, the Career Center, the Multi-Ethnic Programs office, and the Health Center.   I have come to greatly value the resources that these offices can have in the lives of students. 

See "Pictures" section to see photos of RAs and CAs

Notes from CAs and RAs

Strengths Counseling:

For the Counseling II class in the CSA program, we learned about strengths based counseling.  This theory of counseling looks at the strengths that people possess and works to build on them rather than fixing weaknesses.  While taking this class, I had the opportunity to meet with a student at Cal Poly Pomona and counsel her on her strengths and giftedness.  In order to start the counseling, I asked her to take the StrengthsQuest test and come prepared to our first meeting ready to discuss her strengths.  During our meetings, we talked about how her strengths influenced her academics, personal life, and various relationships.   As we talked about her strengths and how they can be used, she came to the conclusion that she was in the wrong field of study.  At the time of our meetings, she was an engineering major, but the majority of her strengths focused on working with and relating to people.  As we talked about them and what her passions for life were, she became aware that she needed to make a significant change in her life.  As a result of this counseling, she decided to switch her major from engineering to elementary education.  Her excitement level for school changed drastically as she began to embrace how she was created.  It was as if a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders because of her decision to change her major. 

Through these counseling meetings and my own exploration of the strengths based theory, I have become an advocate for this type of counseling.  I saw the energy it produced not only in my own life, but in the lives of others.  There is something very special about building on what people are naturally good at and encouraging them to approach life within the framework of their strengths!

Strengths Counseling Outline

StrengthsQuest Information

Meetings with Counselor from University Counseling Center:        

Because of the nature of my job, I think that it is important for me to maintain on on-going relationship with the University Counseling Center (UCC) at APU.  As a means of doing this, I meet with a counselor from the University Counseling Center approximately every three weeks.  During our meetings, we talk about ways that our offices can support one another as well as build up our personal friendship.  These meetings have provided me a safe place where I can ask questions about how to approach various situations and get an unbiased opinion.  I have also grown in my understanding of how to support the UCC as a member of another office on campus. 

APU Counseling Center

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