Book Reviews

Book By: Fiona J. D. MacKinnon & Associates
Review By: Brandi L. Ellis
Academic Advisor, Structural Engineering
University of California, San Diego


This 3rd edition of Rentz’s Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education presents an overview of student affairs development and practices that will assist graduate students as well as new and experienced professionals.  The first two chapters present philosophical and historical developments of student affairs which give a framework to the functional areas covered throughout the book.  A sampling of topics addressed in the subsequent chapters range from admissions and enrollment management, academic advising, career services and counseling centers to multicultural affairs, residence halls and student health.  While it was somewhat disappointing that most subtopics were given only a page of coverage, the chapters are supplemented with references and/or technology resources.  The table of contents dissected each chapter thoroughly to provide a quick reference.  

While academic advisors can use this book as a guide to institutional areas that can help students,  I would suggest that this text is more suited to new graduate students or novice professionals looking for a specialty area. The chapter on advising presents little new information; instead it provides a history lesson on theory and practices most applicable to those who know little about the subject.  NACADA and other professional organizations related to student life are highlighted as well. There is a sizable reference list that can guide readers interested in more specialized readings and the editors have included a select listing of approaches to the use of technology.  While this book is not necessarily something an advisor would choose to read page by page, it is an easy reference guide to have on hand.  

The closing chapter lightly touches on social justice and the educator’s role in student affairs. The book ends with a couple of paragraphs that read more like a mission statement than a conclusion.  As a reader, I would have preferred a more substantial conclusion; however, the broad spectrum covered in the text cannot be easily summarized. Still, this is an informative book that will provide a foundation for those who desire to do further research in specific student affairs areas.  


Rentz’s Student affairs in Higher Education (Third Edition) (2004) Review By: Brandi L. Ellis. Book By: Fiona J. D. MacKinnon & Associates (Eds.) Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher 444 pp., $95.95, ISBN # 0-398-07468-2. (hardback)
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