The Division of Student Affairs (DSA) Celebrates Careers in Student Affairs Month (CSAM) 2023 - University of Houston
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DSA News
December 07, 2023

This past October the Division of Student Affairs (DSA) held a month-long celebration in honor of the annual Careers in Student Affairs Month (CSAM). To close out the celebration, the DSA hosted A Talk in Student Affairs, a presentation featuring keynote speaker Interim Vice Chancellor/Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Daniel Maxwell. Dr. Maxwell gave a personable and enlightening presentation on the nature of student affairs as well as his own journey in the division.

To begin the conversation, Dr. Maxwell recounted his own path through student affairs. He was incredibly active in higher education from the very beginning, and during his undergraduate degree had worked as a Residential Advisor in a freshman dorm, was a student ambassador, helped volunteer on campus, was part of campus governance, and much more. He found his love of student affairs early on and once he had the revelation that he could make a career out of his love of higher education, he knew it was his calling.

Dr. Maxwell discussed four core values that he believes are most beneficial to himself, his coworkers, and the students he helps daily: intentionality, building capacity, investing in yourself, and self-awareness. He spoke about the importance of being relational, especially in the setting of student affairs. All of the work that student affairs accomplishes is built on the foundations of the relationships that are built, whether that be with coworkers, a supervisor, or the students that are directly impacted. Dr. Maxwell emphasized the importance of building all of these relationships and having the important conversations about expectations of those relationships.

He additionally noted that it is important to ask yourself the question, “in what space will I thrive?” Who you are and what your values are need to be aligned with the environment that you are working in, otherwise there is going to be a disconnect that you cannot articulate. Eliminating this disconnect will help create a better work environment and aid in your own personal growth. He also noted the importance of leadership, and how a good leader can meet people halfway to avoid this disconnect.

To close the presentation, Dr. Maxwell recounted the impact that student affairs has had on his life. He talked about what he has learned from his many years working in the division and provided words of wisdom to those looking to start their own career in student affairs: “A student affairs worker is someone who does not always tell us what we want to hear, but what we need to hear. Are you prepared to be that person?”

After his enlightening presentation, Dr. Maxwell opened the floor to questions and had an informative discussion with attendees about the current state of student affairs and its impact on students.

Written by: Alyssa Wilson, Marketing and Communications Assistant (Student Intern)