This Side of Theory

Student Affairs Reflections and Musings

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Student Success: End of the First Week Check-In


Update: The revised community meetings, by all accounts, went well. The Resident Assistants raved about being able to focus on building relationships with their residents instead of reading off a list of policies. I drove past several on my way to the office after the President’s Welcome Dinner and was positively thrilled to see students… Read More

Don’t Ruin Your Student’s First Year of College


For students and parents alike, the transition from high school to college is often filled with excitement, challenges, opportunities and many important ‘life lessons. Yet, for parents that are used to being extremely involved in every aspect of their child’s academic and social experiences in high school (commonly referred to as “helicopter parents”), the transition… Read More

You Will Change…


You move in a week from today. I can almost see the anxiety and nervousness in the space between the words in your frantic Facebook messages, emails, posts in the Class of 2019 group. I can hear it in the rushed voice mails I listen to after hours in my office. Do you want to… Read More

Student Success: Reframing the Floor Meeting


Tomorrow morning I’m meeting with the Resident Assistants of the first-year halls to talk about student success and the role RAs play in supporting residents. It’s a first step in redefining how our department interacts with students and how we contribute to the campus goals of student success and retention. I’m not typically a procrastinator, but… Read More

An Unusual Blog Post

This is an unusual blog post, my friends. Typically I come to you with a story, an opinion, or a recipe. But today I’m asking for assistance. Yesterday I launched a GoFundMe campaign, a decision I grappled with for weeks. We all want things and we could all use more money to fund those things.… Read More

Back in the Kitchen

chocolate cherry cookies

When I started this blog years and years ago, it was different. The student affairs blogging landscape wasn’t quite as cluttered as it is today. It was easy to carve out a place for yourself and use it how you wished. Back then, no one talked about branding or digital identity. We were a group… Read More

When Lunch Ends

New student move-in falls on a Friday annually, and that’s the end of my department’s formal obligation to orientation. Every year, though, I find myself on campus on Saturday just before lunch. Lunch is the final hour for families and students to spend together. The parent portion of orientation ends at the conclusion of lunch, as… Read More

Failure is Instructive

Ben Newhouse is the dean of students at Birmingham-Southern College. You can find him on Twitter at @BenJNewhouse.   “Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.” – John Dewey My first year as a professional within higher education was a humbling one, or as… Read More