Book by Robert Young (Ed.)
Review By: Shalece Nuttall
Utah Valley University
Advancing the integrity of professional practice is a short book comprised of articles relating to the integrity of educational professionals and their dealings with students. The book is divided into four different sections: organizational integrity of student affairs, transactional and transformational leadership perspectives, the relationship of education to integrity, and the challenges to integrity
Integrity is an important attribute required for those working in higher education and can be defined in many ways. Young’s definition of integrity states that “integrity is the combination of attributes and actions that make people and organizations coherent, consistent, and potentially ethical.” (p.1). The articles in this book build upon this definition and describe the relationship between integrity and organizations, student affairs, student development, teaching, and leadership.
One of the strengths of the book lies in the different perspectives of integrity in higher education. It is a fast read for academic advisors, department chairs, deans and administrators. Anyone who is involved in the student affairs division in higher education should read this book and follow the advice given. Young wrote, “Integrity is shown when the principles, procedures, structure, communication, and assessment of our student transactions are clear, consistent, accessible, and transparent.” (p.35) As advisors, we must be clear and consistent with our students throughout all our dealings. Students rely on us to help guide them through their education, and expect honesty and integrity from us.
The book’s strength is also it’s weakness. With the different perspectives given, I found myself asking, “How does this article apply to me?” There are one or two articles that deal specifically with advisors, but the majority of the book focuses on maintaining integrity in student affairs administration rather than academic advising. Also, the book focuses on graduate students rather than undergraduates. The majority of students at Utah Valley University (98%) are undergraduate students, and they work closely with their academic advisor. It would have been helpful to have more focus on the undergraduate student.
I gained great insight from the last article mentioned in the book. The article related an experience of one Mississippi college during Hurricane Katrina, and the effects they faced with students afterwards. Even though this was a tragic time, the integrity of administrators, faculty and staff was shown as beacons to their students. I will never experience a hurricane in my state but the possibility of a large scale earthquake looms. This article gives great insight and suggestions for any campus to “maintain the integrity of its operations and people in the face of any anticipated crisis.” (p. 92)
Overall, there are many things that advisors can learn from this book. I would definitely recommend it to those I work with. All advisors can use a little reminding and inspiration on how to maintain integrity in their transactions with students, co-workers and administration.
Advancing the integrity of professional practice (New directions for student services)(2011). Book by Robert B. Young (Ed.). Review by Shalece Nuttall. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 101 pp. Price $29.00, (paperback), ISBN # 978-1-1181-5116-7.