Grinnell, Iowa - In January of 2014, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, published its latest book: Executive Transitions in Student Affairs: A Guide to Getting Started as the Vice President. Edited by Ainsley Carry, the book applies best practices from the corporate world to prepare senior administrators for executive transitions in higher education.
Houston Dougharty, vice president of student affairs at Grinnell College, co-authored a chapter in the book titled “Assessing Campus and Divisional Cultures” with JoNes R. VanHecke, vice president at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota.
The chapter advises incoming vice presidents for student affairs on how to assess campus climate and culture in order to facilitate a successful match and transition to campus. Assessing campus climate and culture should ideally be done through a “rigorous and encompassing examination of the campus experiences of faculty, staff and students as expressed by attitudes, behaviors, traditions, and expectations” state Dougharty and VanHecke in the book. The authors highlight a variety of academic models, distance strategies and personal anecdotes that give readers a holistic method to assessing campus climate and culture.
“It's the first book in our field on this topic, so in the student affairs world it's getting lots of attention,” stated Dougharty in an email. Several of those who authored chapters will be speaking at the NASPA Conference in Baltimore in March, highlighting the research and advice offered in Executive Transitions.
Dougharty, Grinnell’s vice president for student affairs since 2008, is responsible for the staff, programs, budgets and assessment areas that comprise Grinnell’s Division of Student Affairs: Residence Life and New Student Orientation, Academic Advising, International Student Affairs, Campus Safety and Security, Campus Center Operations & Student Activities, and Student Health and Counseling Services. He also teaches in the graduate education program at Drake University. Dougharty is very active regionally and nationally in NASPA and nationally in ACPA. In 2011 he was the director/lead faculty for the NASPA Aspiring Senior Student Affair Office Institute, and last November he was awarded the NASPA Regional Award for Outstanding Senior Student Affairs Officer, one of seven recipients internationally. Dougharty received his B.A. from the University of Puget Sound, earned an M.Ed. from Western Washington University, and received an M.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he also did doctoral coursework.