Book Reviews

Book by Ashely Tull and Linda Kuk.
Review by Caryn N. Morgan
College of Arts and Sciences
Western Illinois University (Macomb, IL)


Change is a fact of life in organizations, especially institutions of higher education where we face the intersection of decreasing resources and increasing expectations and demands.  New Realities in the Management of Student Affairs seeks to delineate the types of change that exist and focus on planned change(s) and managing them.

Much of the change in higher education, student affairs particularly, has occurred on an adaptive level – incremental and modest changes to address student needs as they arise that then become part of the structure of the organization.  Transformational change, which is larger, dramatic and revolutionary change also occurs.  Tull and Kuk advocate for planned change – both adaptive and transformational – in student affairs organizations.

New demographics, most notably increases in groups of students who have not traditionally accessed higher education, means an increase of demand for student services due to the varied academic and social needs of these students.  At the same time, resources to provide these services remain flat or have decreased.  To address these diverse requirements, many student affairs organizations have created or adapted specialist roles that can work across the traditional silos of higher education organizations and meet the time-sensitive needs of students.

Specialist roles have come about in higher education organizations as a way to address the needs of students in a timely way; some areas where specialist roles are emerging are: technology, development/fundraising, communications, "assistant to" the chancellor, vice president or other senior-level officer, human resources/professional development, chief of staff, auxiliary services, and assessment.  Each of these roles is explored and examples given where such a specialist exists.

In Part II of this book, several contributing authors explore the emerging or changing roles of a variety of specialist positions in different settings.  Many of the examples include the job description of the specialist from a specific campus.

The book concludes with a chapter on facilitating organizational change to use specialist roles and change the structure of a student affairs organization for more efficiency than exists with traditional department lines or hierarchical structures.  Two chapters address the specific conditions of smaller colleges/universities and of community colleges.

Overall, I recommend this book to a variety of audiences. Advisors often walk the line between student affairs and academic affairs at their universities and so the topics in this book can be of use for people wanting to understand the changes they see happening in their workplaces. Advising administrators will find useful advice in managing change within their organizations, and planning that change in an adaptive or transformational way (or a combination thereof).  New Realities in the Management of Student Affairs can also serve as solid reference for someone planning a new career in student affairs or wanting to make a change of career, possibly into one of the described specialist roles.  One of the strengths of this book is its applicability to a wide range of settings and types of schools.  It offers an in-depth assessment of the current state of student affairs and an outlook for the future.


New Realities in the Management of Student Affairs: Emerging Specialist Roles and Structures for Changing Times. (2012). Book by Ashely Tull and Linda Kuk. Review by Caryn N. Morgan. Sterling, VA: Stylus, 232 pp., $29.00, (paperback), ISBN # 978-1-57922-576-6
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |