Book Reviews

Book by Arthur Sandeen
Review by Jenine Mullin
Office of Academic Advising
Wilmington College (Delaware)


Sandeen provides learning opportunities for current and future student affairs leaders through eighteen challenging case studies. He presents thorough background descriptions of institutions (including student and faculty profiles), states the problems at hand, poses several possible solutions, and raises discussion questions. While the case studies do not specifically address advising issues, topics easily apply to advising.

Case studies cover administrative issues such as coordination with other divisions, funding, programming, policy-making, and problem-solving. Follow-up questions typically explore the pros and cons of potential solutions; ethics; institutional and department missions; roles of students, staff members, and faculty. Sandeen makes it clear that “no ‘correct’ response is implied” (p. vi), but rather critical thinking is encouraged. These case studies, written in plain language, present an excellent opportunity to open discussion amongst advising staff members or even between divisions and departments.

Sandeen has explicitly geared the book toward current and future senior student affairs administrators (Directors of Student Life, Vice Presidents, Deans of Students, etc.). His goal is to foster leadership across all areas of student affairs. Academic advisors who are looking for advisor-student case studies will not find that here. However, the content and discussion questions are still very useful to advisors and advising administrators. Sandeen is thoughtful in including case studies about diverse institution types and sizes, so student affairs staff members at all institutions will feel that they can relate. Faculty advisors, division advisors, athletic advisors, or advisors in general would all benefit from exploring the case studies individually and with their colleagues. Academic advisors will find that this book would be best utilized as a reading assignment prior to a staff retreat or broken into parts and utilized in leadership and development workshops.


Improving Leadership in Student Affairs Administration: A Case Approach. (2000). Book by Arthur Sandeen. Review by Jenine Mullin. Springfield IL: Charles C. Thomas Publishers. 226 pp. $49.95. ISBN # 0-398-07064-4
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