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SUMMER 2010 A publication for members of the association of fraternity/SORORITY ADVISORS.

New Ideas for Professional Development

Developing a Professional Identity | Professional Learning Opportunities | Quarter-Life Crisis? Mid-Life Crisis? Career Identity Crisis? | Strategies to Improve the Fraternity/ Sorority Experience | Association Involvement Opportunities

Kelly Jo Karnes, 2010 President

Perspectives is the official publication of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors, Inc. (AFA). Views expressed are those of the individual authors/ contributors/advertisers, and are not necessarily those of the Association. AFA encourages the submission of articles, essays, ideas, and advertisements. All Perspectives correspondence and submissions should be submitted to:

Allison St. Germain 2010 Editor Director of Educational Technologies Delta Zeta Sorority 14 Elgin Avenue Bethel, CT 06801 Phone: 513.523.7597 Direct: 203.798.8777 Fax: 513.523.1921


elcome to the Summer 2010 issue of Perspectives, focusing on professional development and developing a professional identity. Like many things in the summertime, life and work have slowed down a little bit, allowing me time to do some reflection. As I thought about my column for this issue, my thinking focused not as much around the concept of professional development, but rather the idea of the development of our profession and how far we have come in our young life as an association.

For those of you who may not realize, the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors will turn 35 next year. It is a great opportunity for me to pause and reflect on how we have developed as a professional association from our inception in 1976. I continue to be impressed and amazed by how we have evolved and the things that AFA has been able to provide to our members throughout the years.

Here are just a few fun facts for you to get a small idea of how far we have come as an Association: • In 1976, the NIC and FEA provided the start up funds for AFA of $500 each. • I n 1977, membership dues were $20 and registration for the Annual Meeting was $65. A total of eight programs were offered and the hotel rate in Indianapolis was $25 per night. • In 1977, the income for the Association was $3,803 and the expenses were $1,797. • Expenses and income for the current fiscal year are projected at approximately $500,000.

Perspectives is published four times per year.

• By 1980, there were 137 members and dues were $30.

Submission deadlines: Fall 2010 August 1, 2010 Winter 2011 November 1, 2010 Spring 2011 February 1, 2011 Summer 2011 May 1, 2011

• Today, the Association has over 1,600 members.

Send address corrections to AFA:

Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors 9640 N. Augusta Drive, Suite 433 Carmel, IN 46032 317.876.1632 Fax 317.876.3981

Board 2010 Editorial

Amanda Bureau, Zeta Tau Alpha Erin Huffman, Delta Gamma Megan Johnson, University of Iowa Christopher Kontalonis, Kappa Sigma Heather Matthews Kirk, Zeta Tau Alpha Katie Peoples, Drexel University Jessica Pettitt, I Am Social Justice Nathan Thomas, Bradley University Rob Turning, Johns Hopkins University


Perspectives / Summer 2010

• By 1996, the Association had over 900 members and dues were $70.

We have developed as an association thanks to the volunteers over the years who have produced and managed much of the work of the Association. Today, the Association offers over 200 members the opportunity to volunteer and provides an extremely comprehensive volunteer evaluation process. In addition to the Annual Meeting, Virtual Seminar Series, and First 90 Days Program, this volunteer evaluation process provides many members with valuable professional development experiences and feedback to improve as leaders and advisors. And ultimately, better professionals will enhance and advance the profession. The true success of our Association is not just about the professional development of our members, but also about the development of the profession. Significant efforts have been made over the past several years to enhance external awareness of the broad scope and serious nature of the fraternity/sorority advising profession, and a lot of the success of those initiatives has come as a result of AFA members taking their work seriously and applying the things they have learned to their work with students and organizations. I hope the resources and programs that have been available to you, as well as the networking opportunities that you have had through the Association, have been of significant assistance to your ability to be successful professionals. I hope that you will enjoy this issue of Perspectives as you reflect on your own professional development and professional identity. If there continue to be areas in which the Association can assist our members in providing opportunities for personal learning and growth, do not hesitate to provide your ideas to the Executive Board or Central Office. As always, thank you for your continued support and membership within the Association. I hope that you choose to be a part of the next 35 years of the development of our profession!


Allison St. Germain


h – summertime! As the weather changes for the better (well, if you like it hot!), you might find yourself following up on that list of “must-reads” you collected over the conference season this past spring, facilitating for UIFI or other such leadership experience, or maybe attending a professional conference just for yourself. This issue of Perspectives is dedicated to your professional development. But I want to veer from the “typical” path of professional development at this moment. As much as we’d like to take our professional lives and put them in a neat little box to the side, in today’s world we cannot. I’ve found with the explosion of social media and the increasing connections that are made via electronic media, much

and downs of successes and perceived failures with students and with my supervisors, the tears and the laughter flowing freely! And now I find that I like sharing a little more of my mommy-woes with other working moms in the field just to make sure I’m not losing my mind. For me, work is more than a paycheck – it’s a calling. Along the way, from fresh off the road as a consultant, to the reality that am I going to be attending my 12th Annual Meeting (it would have been 13 except for that black hole year when I really left the field), I’ve grown and developed both personally and professionally because of the experiences provided to me in this field. And realize that even if your job title changes and you find yourself “out of the field” and in another industry, you really never leave fraternity/sorority life. In fact, if you are a member of a fraternity or sorority, don’t we say that membership is for a lifetime?

In fraternity/sorority life, we probably find our personal lives connected to our professional endeavors more than in other career fields. of our professional persona is mixed up in our personal lives and vice versa. I suppose it has always been that way, but now more than ever we put our entire selves out there for the world to see. Perhaps social media applications are just highlighting that fact more than ever. In fraternity/sorority life, we probably find our personal lives connected to our professional endeavors more than in other career fields. This is certainly true for me. Even before I worked remotely and could walk five feet to the kitchen for lunch, I found that this career was a part of my persona and that my personal life was a part of my job. As a young professional I went through the ups

We should start to model that behavior now by staying actively involved in the fraternal movement so that those we mentor in the field and as students can learn what lifetime membership means. So, as you think about professional development this summer, think about ways you personally grow from your experience as a fraternity/sorority advisor. You just might approach your professional development differently when you step back and look at the entire picture.

in this 4 Developing a Professional Identity 8 Fraternity/Sorority Life Professional Learning Opportunities

regular columns

– NASPA Knowledge Communities as a Source of Professional Development and Connection

From the Top........................ 2

– 2010 ACPA Convention: Fraternity/Sorority Programs

Editor’s Notes....................... 3

12 Quarter-Life Crisis? Mid-Life Crisis? Career Identity Crisis?

From Where I Sit................. 11

14 Strategies to Improve the Fraternity/Sorority Experience

A Must Read....................... 16

17 Get Involved in Your Association: Association Involvement Opportunities

Summer 2010 / Perspectives


D e veloping a By Teniell L. Trolian


ccording to Carpenter and Stimpson (2007), professional development is “the career-long process of professional improvement” (p. 275), where one seeks out opportunities to learn about, engage in, and contribute to their chosen profession. Professional development in fraternity/sorority advising occurs through varied means and in many formats. Formal education, specialized learning or training, professional reading, volunteering in professional associations, and engaging in research are all ways in which professional development can take place.

The Formative Stage (Learning): This stage is “a time of training and orientation into the field” (Carpenter, 2003, p. 580), where a young professional engages in formal education about student affairs work. Professional development in this stage includes learning about student development and other relevant theories, along with applied learning about program planning, assessment, research, and working with others. Professional associations facilitate resource sharing, networking, and job placement for those in the Formative stage.

Additionally, the ways in which we engage in professional development experiences tend to change over time. As would be expected, graduate students and new professionals focus on different means of professional learning than those who are more seasoned. Newer professionals seek out opportunities to learn more broadly about their profession – engaging in formal study about broad concepts and foundational theory and wading into professional associations through volunteer opportunities or guided learning experiences. As professionals gain experience, the path for development can become much more individualized and specialized, providing an opportunity to begin developing a unique professional identity. With so many options and limited time and resources, how do professionals make the most appropriate professional development choices as they seek to define their professional identities?

The Application Stage (Doing): This stage begins when a new professional starts his or her first professional position in student affairs. Professional development in this stage includes application of learning from the Formative stage, committing to a career in student affairs, and taking part in workshops or conferences that further learning about student affairs work. In the Application stage, professional associations provide opportunities for discussion about programs and issues within the field, as well as opportunities to present best practices at conferences or in professional newsletters.

S tages of P rofessional D ev elopment Carpenter and Miller (1981), in a study of professional development within student affairs, found that there were three core stages of professional development: the Formative, Application, and Additive stages.

The Additive Stage (Contributing): This stage of professional development is characterized by a certain level of professional expertise and responsibility for others through supervising, mentoring, and leading. Professional development in this stage includes mentoring younger professionals and graduate students, contributing to professional publications, authoring new approaches to facilitate student learning, and taking on leadership roles within the profession. In the Additive stage, professional associations provide opportunities to take on leadership roles, develop resources, and share research and best practices through professional publications. These three distinct stages of development provide opportunities over time for professionals to develop a unique identity within their field. In each stage, there are opportunities to learn more about various functions and responsibilities, and to develop expertise about one’s work.

As professionals gain experience, the path for development can become much more individualized and specialized, providing an opportunity to begin developing a unique professional identity.


Perspectives / Summer 2010

What is P rofessional I dentity? Identity: the distinguishing character or personality of an individual (Identity, 2010). In our work, we often find ourselves discussing student identity development – how students begin to understand and define the identities that reflect who they are and what they value. Similarly, how do professionals in our field begin to develop a professional identity – that which distinguishes one’s professional self in the work they do? More specifically, what does it mean to develop a professional identity in fraternity/sorority advising? Mott (2000) suggests that our society is one that is largely based on work, where “even more than other social structures such as home, education, religion, and even family, an increasing portion of our identity and satisfaction are found in our professions” (p. 23). If this is true, intentional development of a professional identity that is appropriate for the individual is essential for one to attain satisfaction and success in work and in life. But how does one begin to consider the development of her or his professional identity?

D e veloping a P rofessional Identity in Fraternity/ S orority Ad vising The Formative and Application Stages At a basic level, graduate students and new fraternity/sorority professionals should begin developing a professional identity by actively seeking development opportunities that enhance basic knowledge, skills, and understanding of the communities and students with whom they work. This basic framework will assist the individual in beginning to establish a professional identity in fraternity/sorority advising and allow him/her to begin developing expertise about the fraternity/sorority experience. Additionally, it is also important for new professionals to begin looking for professional mentors who may be able to provide guidance and feedback related to present and future professional identity development. In a study of graduate student and new professional experiences, Renn and Hodges (2007) suggested that graduate preparation programs should “emphasize individual responsibility for professional development, as well as skills and dispositions related to cultivating mentors” (p. 384) in order to provide new professionals with tools to develop a sound professional identity. The Additive Stage Professional development for more seasoned professionals in fraternity/sorority advising should include developing a high level of expertise in one or more areas of the profession and contributing to the professional learning of others. Renn and Jessup-Anger (2008) suggest that, “new professionals must transition from a more dependent, student role to an independent, professional peer role” (p. 329). In the Additive stage of professional development (Carpenter and Miller, 1981), professionals develop expertise in their field and are able to utilize their knowledge and experience to contribute to the development of the larger profession through their professional development work. In fraternity/sorority advising, professionals have the opportunity to develop expertise in a myriad of areas including council advising, chapter advising, program planning, facilitation, values education, alumni relations, mediation, assess-

ment, research, leadership education, community service, student conduct, risk management, policy development, accreditation, recognition, philanthropy, or academic support – just to name a few. According to Hamrick and Hemphill (1998), “Sustained expertise in one area provides a valuable track record of success and an additional set of opportunities for advancement within that specialty” (p. 97). This expertise allows professionals to begin making significant contributions to their field through research, presenting, and writing.

E ngaging inT E N T I O N A L L Y IN P rofessional De velopment to C reate a P rofessional I dentity There are countless opportunities for fraternity/sorority professionals to engage in continued professional development and learning, and it is important to evaluate which opportunities will best help you to develop a professional identity. Consider which stage of professional development (Carpenter and Miller, 1981) you find yourself in presently – Formative, Application, or Additive – and which professional development opportunities might be most beneficial to your individual learning.

Stage of Development

Potential Professional Development Opportunities


• Master’s-level coursework • A  ttending national or regional conferences • Seeking mentoring relationships


• Professional reading • A  ttending and volunteering at national or regional conferences • A  ttending job-specific training programs, seminars, or workshops • V  olunteering with professional associations


• Doctoral-level coursework • P  resenting at national or regional conferences or training programs • S  erving in leadership roles within professional associations • Professional writing or publishing • Engaging in assessment or research • M  entoring graduate students, new professionals, or supervisees

Additionally, as you begin laying out your professional development plan for the upcoming year, consider the following questions: • In what professional area(s) do I have interest or passion? • In what professional area(s) do I currently have professional expertise? • What am I doing to continue learning more about these area(s)?

Summer 2010 / Perspectives


• How am I contributing knowledge or resources about these area(s)? • How can I intentionally utilize opportunities for professional development to help create or further develop my professional identity? Through better understanding your answers to these reflective questions, you can begin or continue developing a professional identity in fraternity/sorority advising. Additionally, the answers can provide you with a framework for mapping out your professional development plan over the next year, over the next five to ten years, and across the span of your career. By being more intentional about our own development and learning, we can create and solidify professional identities in our field that are both successful and personally satisfying, and which will contribute to our broader success as a body of professionals in fraternity /sorority advising. – Teniell Trolian is the Assistant Director for Greek Affairs in the Center for Student Involvement at Kent State University and has an M.A. in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University.

REFERENCES Carpenter, D. S. (2003). Professionalism in student affairs work. In S. Komives & D. Woodward (Eds.), Student services: A handbook for the profession (4th ed., pp. 573-591). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Carpenter, D. S., & Miller, T. K. (1981). An analysis of professional development in student affairs work. NASPA Journal, 19, 2-11. Carpenter, D. S., & Stimpson, M. T. (2007). Professionalism, scholarly practice, and professional development in student affairs. NASPA Journal, 44, 265-284. Hamrick, F. A., & Hemphill, B. O. (1998). Pathways to success in student affairs. In M. J. Amey & L. M. Reesor (Eds.), Beginning your journey: A guide for new professionals in student affairs (pp. 87-104). Washington, DC: NASPA. Identity. (2010). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved March 31, 2010, from Mott, V. W. (2000). The development of professional expertise in the workplace. In V. W. Mott & B. J. Daley (Eds.), Charting a course for continuing professional education: Reframing professional practice: New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 86 (pp. 23-31). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Renn, K. A., & Hodges, J. P. (2007). The first year on the job: Experiences of new professionals in student affairs. NASPA Journal, 44, 367-391. Renn, K. A., & Jessup-Anger, E. R. (2008). Preparing new professionals: Lessons for graduate preparation programs from the national study of new professionals in student affairs. Journal of College Student Development, 49, 319-335.

Congratulations to the fraternity/sorority communities recognized through the Gamma Sigma Alpha National Academic Honorary Honor Roll! Albion College† Arkansas Tech University * † Ashland University * † Babson College * † Ball State University * † Birmingham-Southern College * † Brenau University * † DePauw University * †

If you know a community that is consistently above the all-campus GPA, encourage submission next Spring for the 2010 calendar year. Need more information? Visit

Grand Valley State University † Jacksonville State University * † Longwood University †

Gamma Sigma Alpha National Greek Academic Honor Society


Perspectives / Summer 2010

Loyola Marymount University * † Miami University (OH) * † Millikin University * † Missouri State University * †

New England College * † Ohio University * † Oklahoma State University * † Rutgers University * † Saint Francis University * † San Diego State University * † The University of Akron * † University of Alabama * † University of Alabama at Birmingham * † University of California, Los Angeles * † University of Georgia * † University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign * † University of Iowa * † University of Miami * †

University of Michigan * † University of San Diego * † University of South Carolina * † University of Southern California * † University of the Pacific * † University of Washington * † Valparaiso University * Washburn University * † Washington & Jefferson College * † Western Kentucky University * † Wittenberg University * † *Spring 2009 †

Fall 2009

AFA Foundation Announces Funding of Research Initiative AFA Foundation Funds $10,000 for Fraternity/Sorority Related Mental Health Research Project


he AFA Foundation, which supports the educational objectives of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors, is pleased to announce the funding of a research project on the impact of mental health programming for undergraduate members of the fraternal community. While the AFA Foundation is perhaps best known for providing scholarships for Association members to attend the Annual Meeting and other professional development opportunities, the AFA Foundation, through its mission to “support the educational objectives of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors,” also offers funding for research related specifically to the profession or the greater fraternal movement.

At the AFA Annual Meeting in December 2009, the AFA Foundation Board partially funded a research grant to Ms. Colleen Coffey. In addition to being a well known face on the fraternity/sorority lecture circuit, Coffey serves as the program manager for Active Minds – The Heard Speakers’ Bureau and is pursuing a doctorate degree from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, TN. Coffey’s work will focus on the impact of her one-hour keynote program on mental health titled “Be Heard – Talking About Mental Health” on help seeking behavior, stigma and organizational mobilization among fraternity and sorority members. Upon receipt of the funding notification for her research, Coffey responded, “With the generous donation from the foundation, we

were able to subsidize the cost of travel and time on task in terms of statistical analysis of the data. Since I was able to travel to three different parts of the country, the data is more applicable and relevant for the fraternal movement as a whole.” Funding of research is paramount to the advancement of our profession and the greater fraternal movement. “I am blessed and extremely honored by their [AFA Foundation] generosity and faith in this project,” added Coffey. No matter how large or small, please consider donating to the AFA Foundation so that important research like Coffey’s can continue to be funded.

With the generous donation from the foundation, we were able to subsidize the cost of travel and time on task in terms of statistical analysis of the data. Since I was able to travel to three different parts of the country, the data is more applicable and relevant for the fraternal movement as a whole...I am blessed and extremely honored by their [AFA Foundation] generosity and faith in this project. – Colleen Coffey

The Foundation’s Mission To secure, invest and distribute the necessary resources to support the educational objectives of AFA and other relevant research, scholarship and educational programming that further the fraternity/sorority advising profession. As a registered 501(c)(3) organization, the Foundation raises money through individual, organizational and corporate donations to provide the highest quality professional development opportunities for AFA members. Gifts are tax-deductible to the extent the law permits.

How Can I Help? • RECURRING GIFTS For more information on setting up a regular automatic donation on your credit card, contact the AFA Foundation office: or 678-654-6207 or go to and select “Donate Monthly” or “Donate Quarterly.” Your recurring gift ensures that your donation continues to have a positive impact on the AFA Foundation and the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors. • ONLINE GIFTS To make a gift online, please go to – you will complete one page on the AFA Foundation site then complete a PayPal page. • ESTATE GIFTS List the AFA Foundation as a beneficiary in your will, individual retirement plan or life insurance policy. You may wish to keep your gift anonymous, but if you would like to notify the AFA Foundation of your intent, you will be listed as a member of the Amicus Sequentes Circle. • ENDOWMENTS Individuals, businesses and organizations are welcome to endow a gift to provide continued funding for an AFA program. Many of these gifts are in honor of specific individuals. AFA Foundation; 9640 Augusta Drive, Suite 433; Carmel, IN 46032 Summer 2010 / Perspectives


Professional Learning Opportunities through Higher Education Associations


FA maintains partnerships with other higher education organizations. Many AFA

members contribute to fraternity/ sorority education and discussions at other conferences, and many more can benefit from a recap of what they may have missed by not being able to attend. The Editorial Board asked Scott Reikofski, the National Chair of the NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Knowledge Community and the Director of Fraternity/Sorority Affairs at the University of Pennsylvania, and Marlena Martinez, Chair of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Commission for Student Involvement and Assistant Director, Fraternities, Sororities & Independent Living Groups at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to give AFA members a glimpse into some of the programs and research highlighted this past spring.


Perspectives / Summer 2010

NASPA Knowledge Communities as a Source of Professional Development and Connection By Scott Reikofski Professional development originates from a variety of sources and manifests itself in many forms. One good resource, regardless of administrative or experience level, is NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA). NASPA houses 24 knowledge communities (KCs), representing a wide range of student affairs functional areas and special interests. Knowledge communities serve as access points for student affairs professionals to connect through common interests, and to generate and share knowledge and best practices through research, programs, and technology. The Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Knowledge Community (FSAKC) represents practitioners from university presidents and vice presidents to graduate students and entry level professionals who have an interest in or experience with campus fraternity/sorority communities. The FSAKC sponsors numerous programs and resources at the NASPA Annual Conference and throughout the year. The FSAKC works actively and collaboratively with many interfraternal partners. The FSAKC seeks to increase the frequency and substance of communication and programming in the coming year. They have identified 8-10 topics for exploration, research, and discussion for the coming year, including: impacting fraternity/sorority culture change, values congruence, legal issues and liability, the National Study of Student Hazing, and models of fraternity/sorority community integration. At the 2010 NASPA Conference in Chicago, the FSAKC sponsored one half-day preconference session and four educational sessions, which are outlined below. The pre-conference session, How the Mighty Fall: Greek Communities on 21st Century Campuses, was coordinated by FSAKC outgoing chairs Cathy Scroggs (Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, University of Missouri) and Jerry Brewer (Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, University of South Carolina). This session celebrated the legacy of fraternal organizations’ commitment to leadership, scholarship, service, and lifelong friendship. The purpose of the session was to strengthen the movement that makes these organizations relevant on 21st century college campuses. The springboard for conversations was Jim Collins’ (2009) book How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In, in which he identified five phases of decline. During the program the presenters facilitated discussions on the role of campus advisors, alumni/ae, and inter/national fraternity/sorority organization staff in addressing high risk behaviors, membership recruitment and retention, and how to engage alumni/ae appropriately.  Lambda Chi Alpha has introduced innovative and contemporary programming as part of its co-curricular mission to facilitate the development of undergraduate members along five core pathways: self-awareness, self-esteem, intimacy, empathy, and altruism. Values Based Student Development Initiative: An Empirical Study, was coordinated by Tim Reuter of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, and presented their programming, called the True Brother Initiative. Based upon a conceptual framework rooted in student development theory, the program is based on experiential learning accompanied

by a four-stage curriculum, an integrated learning model, and a process of evaluation. The holistic nature of this program is unique in the fraternity/sorority world. Session attendees were eager to understand details of the developmental programming that begins with the pre-affiliation phase of recruitment, evolves with new member development and growth, and then continues for the fully initiated members during the remainder of their undergraduate experience and into post-graduation. To support this program, Lambda Chi Alpha has secured funding to be used in creating a chapter volunteer training program that is also rooted in student development theory, mentoring, and role-modeling.

intent that participants develop insights and strategies for use in creating positive change on campus.

The fraternal movement must be examined holistically to ensure its advancement. One aspect of the movement that needs increased attention is the area of research. Advancing Fraternity and Sorority Research: Improving the Movement, presented by Dan Bureau, doctoral assistant with the Center for the Study of the College Fraternity, provided an overview of the existing research and opportunities for areas of inquiry. A core argument for increased research on fraternities and sororities is that generating data: informs practice; conveys the function of fraternity and sorority advising as relevant and meaningful within student affairs; and either grounds or disputes some of the assertions that advocates of the movement believe are tantamount to fraternity or sorority membership, specifically leadership skills, increased exposure to service, and philanthropic pursuits. Bureau presented an overview of the existing research, including Molasso’s (2005) content analysis of the NASPA Journal and the Journal of College Student Development as well as a review of the College Student Affairs Journal since 2005, to supplement his findings. Bureau asserted that fraternity and sorority research is a small part of the overall student affairs literature and must be augmented to make the case for whether or not fraternities and sororities add or detract from the college/university experience.


Affective vs. Cognitive Learning: Fraternity/Sorority Experience, was coordinated by Dr. Cassie Gerhardt, Assistant Director for Leadership & Assessment at the University of North Dakota. This presentation identified a potential area that can negatively impact fraternity/sorority student learning (e.g. satisfaction with housing) and showed its relationship to student learning outcomes. Using Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains, this presentation discussed the relationship between affective and cognitive learning within the fraternity/sorority living and learning environment. Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains, initially published in 1956, was originally created to develop a system of categories of learning behavior to assist in the design and assessment of educational learning. The Cognitive Learning Domain is exhibited by a person’s intellectual abilities, and the Affective Learning Domain addresses a learner’s emotions towards learning experiences. This session explored the strong correlation between satisfaction with living environment (Affective Learning) and student learning outcomes like collaboration, principled dissent, and sense of belonging (Cognitive Learning). Practitioners from two institutions facilitated a conversation with participants regarding efforts that have been put in place to specifically improve their fraternity/sorority programs.   The final FSAKC-sponsored program was Greeks: Should Universities Change To Foster The Legacy?, coordinated by Charles Nies, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of California-Merced. This session presented two change theories as a foundation for the discussion on the relationship between host institutions and fraternities/sororities. The conversation focused on institutional policies regarding recruitment, officer training, and risk management, with the

Membership in NASPA’s Fraternity Sorority Affairs Knowledge Community requires membership in NASPA. To join, visit – For more information about NASPA’s FSAKC, contact national KC chair, Dr. Scott Reikofski (Director of Fraternity Sorority Affairs, University of Pennsylvania) at

Bureau, D. (2010, March). Advancing fraternity and sorority research: Improving the movement. Program presented at the NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education Annual Conference, Chicago, IL. Collins, J. (2009). How the mighty fall: And why some companies never give in. New York, NY: Harper Collins. Gerhardt, C., Boykin, D., & Jones, D. (2010, March). Affective vs. cognitive learning fraternity/sorority experience. Program presented at the NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education Annual Conference, Chicago, IL. Molasso, W. (2005). A content analysis of a decade of fraternity/sorority scholarship in student affairs research journals. Oracle: The Research Journal of the Association of Fraternity Advisors, 1 (1). Retrieved on June 23, 2010 from PublicDocuments/Oracle_vol1_iss1_Molasso.pdf Neis, C., & Langdon, E. (2010, March). Greeks: Should universities change to foster the legacy? Program presented at the NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education Annual Conference, Chicago, IL. Reuter, T. H., Baker, E., Hunter, D., & Reikofski, S. (2010, March). Values based student development initiative: An empirical study. Program presented at the NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education Annual Conference, Chicago, IL. Scroggs, C., Brewer, J., Smithhisler, P, Riley, E., Karnes, K., & Whittier, C. (2010, March). How the Mighty Fall: Greek communities on 21st century campuses. Program presented at the NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education Annual Conference, Chicago, IL.

2010 ACPA Convention: Fraternity/Sorority Programs By Marlena Martinez Upon opening the 2010 Convention Program Booklet for the ACPA College Student Educators International Convention in Boston this year, fraternity/sorority professionals may have found themselves asking one question: Where are the programs about working with fraternities and sororities? There were plenty of programs to choose from if an attendee was curious about assessment initiatives, and even more options if leadership programs were of interest, but educational sessions featuring fraternity/sorority life were few and far between. Luckily, of the sessions featuring the program key words “Greek Life,” those programs enlightened audience members and brought positive attention to the fraternal movement. Lambda Chi Alpha has introduced innovative and contemporary programming as part of its co-curricular mission to facilitate the maturational development of undergraduate members along five Summer 2010 / Perspectives


core pathways: self-awareness, self-esteem, intimacy, empathy, and altruism. The programming also positively deconstructs stereotypical masculinity commonly associated with men’s fraternities. Lambda Chi Alpha presented the following two programs at ACPA’s Annual Convention 2010: • A  n Empirical Investigation: A Values Based Student Development Initiative • Combating Hegemonic Masculinity in the College Fraternity The An Empirical Investigation: A Values Based Student Development Initiative presentation was very similar to the presentation Lambda Chi Alpha did earlier at NASPA’s Annual Conference. Participants in the Combating Hegemonic Masculinity in the College Fraternity presentation learned how Lambda Chi Alpha’s developmental programming facilitates identity maturation within its members. Additionally, participants explored how Lambda Chi Alpha has engineered a process of member development that naturally combats hegemonic elements. It includes an emphasis on self awareness and reflection, enhanced comfort and competence in dealing with emotions, a range of diversity programming, the nurturance of the discovery of individuality, personal accountability, supportive intimacy, and the availability of positive, masculine role models. Innovative Program Design: The Integral Theory to Achieve Revolutionary, was coordinated by Parker Goolsby of George Mason University. This session was based on the Emerging Greek Leaders Program at Carnegie Mellon and how the presenters used the Integral Theory in its development. The program examined basic leadership ideas, such as wanting to be president of an organization or wanting to be involved to just have a list on their resume, to a higher level of understanding of leadership. Sessions were divided into four categories – I, we, them, and us leadership silos. The four sections explored how the intentions of these pronouns are not necessarily congruent with the behaviors of individual members or chapters. Conversations during the Emerging Greek Leaders Program focused on making positive changes in chapters through individual contributions. At the conclusion of the session the presenters offered a brief activity on how to use the Integral Theory to shape other leadership programs on their campuses. Estee Hernández and Zaragosa J. “Mito” Espinoza of Baylor University presented Assessing Culturally-Based Greek Letter Organizations at Traditionally White Institutions. The presenters started with providing a brief history of culturally-based Greekletter organizations (CGLOs) dating back to the start of Black Greek Letter Organizations in the early 1900s. Trends in students of color enrolling in traditionally White institutions, retention, lack of existing empirical evidence on CGLOs, and lack of the student affairs professionals understanding of CGLOs were cited as key reasons why assessment of CGLOs is necessary. Hernández and Espinoza shared relevant research on the topic and their specific assessment methods, a combination of focus groups and survey. The presenters identified eight distinct themes that emerged during their assessment: fraternity/sorority support, social interaction, leadership opportunities, community service, academic support, university support, cultural community/sense of belonging, and networking. Hernández and Espinoza explored future implications in ways to support members of CGLOs in recruitment and retention in college, as well as addressed the perceived inequities between Greek-letter organizations and the unique challenges of working with CGLOs.


Perspectives / Summer 2010

While powerful and practical, these programs were among a small handful that focused on fraternity and sorority affairs. ACPA’s Commission for Student Involvement is hoping to change this by striving to coordinate and submit more program proposals for the 2011 Convention related to our work. The goal is twofold: to ensure support of fraternity/sorority colleagues attending ACPA’s Convention and to bring light to fraternity/sorority issues to the larger higher education arena. Within the Commission for Student Involvement there are a number of opportunities to add to the body of research on fraternity/sorority issues as well as highlight this functional area. The Commission strives to support fraternity/sorority professionals the Annual Convention and volunteer opportunities. Opportunities exist to serve on the Commission’s Greek Affairs/AFA Liaison committee, to present a Commission sponsored convention program, and to apply for funding through the Commission’s annual research grant. For more information please visit: student/index.cfm – Marlena Martinez is Chair of the ACPA College Student Educators InternationalCommission for Student Involvement and can be reached at References Reuter, T. H., Baker, E., & Reikofski, S. (2010, March). Combating hegemonic masculinity in the college fraternity. Program presented at the ACPA College Student Educators International Annual Convention, Boston, MA. Reuter, T. H., Baker, E., & Hunter, D. (2010, March). An empirical investigation of a values based student development initiative. Program presented at the ACPA College Student Educators International Annual Convention, Boston, MA. Hernández, E., & Espinoza, Z. (2010, March). Assessing culturallybased Greek letter organizations at traditionally white institutions. Program presented at the ACPA College Student Educators International Annual Convention, Boston, MA. Goolsby, P., & Hippensteel, H. (2010, March). Innovative program design: The integral theory to achieve revolutionary results. Program presented at the ACPA College Student Educators International Annual Convention, Boston, MA.

From Where I Sit By Ginny Carroll

Connect the Dots


was recently asked by a women’s fraternity to write about member development by identifying the one key area on which fraternities and sororities should focus. My answer was simple. Professionals and organizations tend to make member development too difficult, when we should simply help undergraduates connect the dots between fraternal membership and soft skills. Member development does not need to involve expensive, professionally-written curriculum that has to be continually updated, or programs packaged in pretty officer notebooks to help sell the organization to external audiences. If we are truly focused on our mission, member development is not about what a campus (where you want a new chapter) thinks is strong programming or the shiny object that could win awards. Member “development” is as simple as ensuring that each undergraduate understands that his/ her membership is integral to skill development that will help him/ her be successful in any role he/she undertakes throughout his/her life. Whether a fraternity/sorority advisor, organization staff member, or fraternal volunteer, we are all role models and mentors and should help undergraduates connect the dots at every opportunity. “Programming” should help undergraduates realize that everything they do as a member is member development. The day a young woman or man joins a fraternity/sorority, she/he begins to develop critical intrapersonal and interpersonal skills necessary to compete in an incredibly tough job market and world – the skills that are not necessarily being taught in classrooms but are being taught in chapter meetings, the recruitment process, officer roles, committee work, and even competitive events like Greek Week. All of the experiences in which an undergraduate participates as a member of a fraternity or sorority build critical soft skills he/she will not get on Facebook, in front of a computer screen, or while texting his/her friends. And he/she won’t build them to the same extent in other student organizations. Fraternity/sorority membership always has been and continues to be a living laboratory of leadership skill development. According to a recent report from The Conference Board, a global organization that educates about management and the marketplace, U.S. employers continue to struggle with finding new hires who have more than basic skills, but possess higher-level critical thinking and creativity, what many experts are calling “21st century skills” (Lichtenberg, 2008). As we enter what Daniel Pink, author of the book A Whole New Mind, calls the conceptual age, students will need a new set of skills to compete in today’s global society. The age-old delivery system of a factory model of education must disappear completely if students are to succeed (Pink, 2006). As campus leadership organizations, fraternities and sororities are positioned to help bridge the gap in skill development while the U.S. education system scrambles to keep up.

Professionals who work with students can help them connect the dots by helping them realize that being an involved member of a fraternity or sorority in college should be about learning 21st century skills by fostering creativity, honoring diversity, promoting resilience, and tolerating ambiguity. What fraternal organizations provide to their chapters on the inter/national level, and what campuses can reiterate, should simply help college members connect the dots between 21st century skills and the ways they are building those skills in their chapter experience. For example, if a senior member of any chapter was given a list of the 21st century skills in a job interview and asked to identify a time during the undergraduate experience that he/she felt he/she built those skills, he/she should be able to articulate how he/she has done so through his/her involvement in the chapter. If he/she cannot, we are doing him/her a disservice. We are not helping him/her connect the dots and need to evaluate what we are teaching and what our members are learning. When an undergraduate leaves college able to articulate clearly why the fraternal experience was so critical to his/her skill development, he/she will become an involved alumnus/a. This could be a way to keep upperclassmen from quitting because the experience is no longer tailored to their needs. Eventually, higher education will change because students, teachers, delivery systems, and global standards will force it to change, but such change will not happen in the short-term, which means the fraternal experience can continue to be at the forefront of student skill development. What are you doing as a fraternity/sorority advisor to help each student you mentor connect the dots? What is your fraternal organization doing to capitalize on this incredible opportunity to graduate members who will take 21st century skills into the workforce? The opportunities are numerous! – Ginny Carroll is the CEO of inGiNuity and has spent 25 years in management and consulting. She is a frequent trainer and speaker for businesses, student audiences, leadership conferences, and conventions across the country on a variety of topics including building leadership capacity, social savvy, and multigenerational communication. References Lichtenberg, J., Woock, C., & Wright, M. (2008). Ready to innovate: Are educators and executives aligned on the creative readiness of the U.S. workforce? Retrieved on May 25, 2010, from The Conference Board Web site: describe_kf.cfm?id=1452 Pink, D. (2006). A whole new mind: Why right-brainers will rule the future. New York, NY: Penguin.

From Where I Sit is a section in Perspectives featuring a personal perspective on the interfraternal community. Do you have an opinion to share on fraternity/sorority life? Tell us how things look from where you sit by emailing your thoughts to the editor at, and you could see your ideas in a future issue of Perspectives. Summer 2010 / Perspectives


Quarter-Life Crisis? Mid-Life Crisis? Career Identity Crisis? By Neil E. Stanglein


hen fraternity/sorority professionals begin to reach year three, four, or five in their current position, they might find themselves asking the following questions: Am I challenged in my current job? What does career advancement at my current place of employment look like? Should I start job searching? Many professionals view fraternity/sorority advising as an entry-level position – a position taken right after graduate school or after leaving the road as a consultant, somewhere to stay three to five years before continuing up the ladder of success – however that term is defined. Because of this culture, professionals may find themselves questioning their next career move, because they think it is what they have to do. But is it true? Instead of asking “When do I begin looking for my next job?” why not ask “How can I continue to challenge myself professionally?” Dr. Bill Nelson told the IFI Class of 2007 that it is necessary to remain at an institution/organization for four years in order to see change begin to occur (July 2007, personal communication). I would argue that instead of hanging on for that fourth year just to see change, professionals need to look to years five, six, and seven to not only see that change occur, but to institute more change. But the even bigger question may be: “How do I begin to challenge myself in my current role when there is no possibility for advancement?” Let “outside of the box” professional development be your answer. As I near my fourth year in the profession as a campus-based advisor, I have found myself asking all of these questions: Should I stay or should I go? If I stay, how will I challenge myself professionally? How will I stay sane when continuing to have the same recruitment and alcohol conversations? I have found outside of the box professional development experiences to be great resources for keeping me sane and excited about a job I have been in for almost four years. Looking to AFA’s Core Competencies for Excellence in the Profession (AFA, 2007), professionals can allow the competencies to guide not only their work, but also their professional development. But, a word of caution – if you do not want to experience burn-out, do not try all of these at once!


There is no better way to utilize the Educator competency than by offering to teach a class 12

Perspectives / Summer 2010

at a local institution. Fraternity/sorority advisors need to know their options before embarking on the journey to teach a class. Advisors should start small – look at summer courses, freshman seminar courses, or other one-credit courses for their first teaching endeavor. Often, a professor is no longer able to teach or the institution is short an instructor, and this is where a willing fraternity/sorority advisor can step in and fulfill a need. If you are feeling the need for more of a challenge, offer to develop and teach a course that fulfills a need at your institution. Fraternity/sorority leadership classes, general leadership courses, or mediation and conflict resolution courses are just a few examples of courses that fraternity/sorority professionals have taught. The opportunity to interact with students both inside and outside the classroom can be extremely rewarding, not to mention extremely challenging. While fraternity/sorority advisors are constantly developing learning outcomes, it is a different experience to develop learning outcomes and content for a course. The learning outcomes for a new member education program look very dissimilar to the learning outcomes for an Introduction to Leadership course. If teaching a course is not an option, professionals can look to creating a workshop or series of workshops for fraternity/sorority members or for all students. Professionals can identify areas within the fraternity/sorority community or campus that are in need of improvement, possibly risk management, event management, officer transitions, or marketing/branding. Developing workshops on varied topics is an excellent opportunity to collaborate across departments and involve others in the workshop endeavor. The workshops will allow the fraternity/sorority professional to develop learning outcomes and curriculum, while creating partnerships at the institution.

Values Aligner

Advisors must challenge fraternity/sorority members to continually live up to their personal and organizational values and expect the same of others. In doing so, fraternity/ sorority advisors need to provide training and opportunities to educate members on how to live their values. In January 2010, William Woods University and Westminster College hosted their first Fraternity Summit, bringing the fraternities from the two campuses together to discuss values alignment, similarities in chapters,

and leadership. Developing a summit is an excellent way to challenge yourself professionally through developing learning outcomes and curriculum, selecting facilitators and keynotes, and coordinating event logistics. William Woods University and Westminster College’s Summit in January was very successful because of the timing. There was new leadership for the fraternities, and it was planned over winter break, a quiet time on campus. For the professionals working on the project, the winter break timeframe for planning allowed the project to be a main focus during a somewhat slow time in our offices. For the newly elected officers, the Summit provided an opportunity to set goals and get to know one another better.


AFA’s Collaborator competency emphasizes the importance of information sharing, relationship building, and partnering with constituencies related to the fraternity/sorority community. How do you challenge yourself to collaborate? One way to do this is to reach out to other nearby institutions or organizations and plan a field trip. This can be done for both professionals and for students. Get more than just fraternity/sorority life professionals involved. Partner with the other institutions’ residential life, career services, leadership, and campus activities offices, and bring co-workers with you to collaborate and share ideas. If you want to take your staff on a field trip, go to another organization’s office to meet the staff and perhaps do some training together. Having meaningful, guided conversations regarding issues their campuses are facing can result in new friendships and new ideas. As a result of the Fraternity Summit, the fraternities at William Woods University and Westminster College realized how much in common they had and discussed opportunities for their chapters to collaborate on programming; and chapters were able to borrow new ideas on how to handle the issues all fraternities face. Never underestimate the power of collaboration with inter/national fraternity/sorority organization staff members and those who volunteer on the local, regional, or inter/ national level for their organization. Inter/ national organizations usually need volunteers for their leadership conferences. By maintaining those professional relationships and collaborating with them on issues, you may have the opportunity to facilitate or present a workshop at one of their events.


How can you take your fraternity/sorority advising to another level? Reach out to a chapter that has been struggling with an issue, perhaps recruitment, scholarship or risk management, and develop chapterspecific programming for them. Spend time with chapter leaders and advisors, and figure out what methods will best help the chapter succeed. Oftentimes, chapter members are unaware of the amount of resources the fraternity/sorority advisor has on hand. The chapters are sometimes afraid to reach out, because they think they will just be punished for the issues they are having. Make it known that you want to help them succeed and challenge yourself in the process.


We are responsible for a large amount of information as fraternity/sorority professionals – membership records, academic data, student conduct resolutions, crisis management plans, just to name a few. How can you challenge yourself to improve within these administrative areas? Consider revisiting your crisis management plan for potential improvements. Share this plan with others at your place of work, or even seek feedback from your colleagues at other institutions or organizations. Seek out opportunities to increase your experience with supervision, including that of professional, graduate student, or undergraduate student staff. Work with your supervisor to create opportunities for you to have this experience, even if it is for a short-term project. If this not a possibility in your current position, consider seeking experiences such as this through volunteer opportunities. As the head of a volunteer committee you gain supervision experiences that you can apply to your professional career. For example, I serve as a volunteer leader for AFA. As such, I have been able to participate in AFA’s 360-degree volunteer evaluation, which afforded me the opportunity to have developmental supervision conversations which I do not have in my professional position.


The Researcher competency could be daunting for an individual with limited experience conducting research. A great place to begin is conducting a survey to assess current issues and trends in fraternity/sorority life on your campus or in your organization. If your institution or organization is ready and financially able, consider investing in a formal assessment tool or program to gain concrete data and information, or an outside consultant to gain some different perspective and expertise. The data compiled through a formal assessment project will help professionals identify current strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities in the fraternity/

sorority community or organization, and the experience of working with the project may increase a professional’s understanding of assessment. The observations provided by an outside consultant will assist in identifying change initiatives and generate collective buy-in to solutions, and the experience working with the consultant may increase the professional’s ability to explore issues and identify potential solutions. If you are able to, you could turn your assessment into a paper or article for publication. Another important piece to remember is to read for your own professional development, including relevant research journals. Read Steve Farber’s Greater Than Yourself (a copy of which was distributed at the 2009 Annual Meeting Opening Program). Or, visit the library and check out books on new topics. My recent reading list has included Guyland by Dr. Michael Kimmel, which discusses men’s gender development, and Inside Greek U.: Fraternities, Sororities and the Pursuit of Pleasure, Power, and Prestige by Alan DeSantis, which covers male and female gender roles and how fraternity and sorority members perceive them. After you read a new book, gather colleagues for a book discussion either in person or virtually, or submit a book review to a publication. Fraternity/sorority professionals should also stay current on what is happening on campuses or in organizations across the country and worldwide. Subscribe to a newsreader service, such as Google Alerts, to have the news delivered to your inbox. Or subscribe to an AFA Online Community forum and engage in discussion about recruitment, risk management, or Association business.


Fraternity/sorority professionals need to keep up to date on current trends in technology. It is important to understand how current members and alumni/ae wish to communicate – email, text, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Do you participate in The Student Affairs Collaborative’s Student Affairs Chat (#SACHAT) or the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values’ Greek Chat (#GreekChat) on Twitter? Greek Chat allows professionals and students alike the opportunity to discuss what is currently happening in our fraternities and sororities around the country. Professionals should not be the only individuals participating in these chats, as students can add their unique perspective to the chat and learn new things along the way. Explore and research ways social media is changing. Just because a council has a Facebook or Twitter account does not mean social media is being used effectively. Organizations like Delta Zeta, Delta Gamma, Sigma Gamma Rho, Sigma Nu, Delta Lambda Phi and many other groups

have social network accounts that are used to disseminate information to members, alumni/ae, and campus professionals. Organizations are also able to engage followers by “re-tweeting,” or responding to tweets from their members.


Professionals have to DWYSYWD: Do what you say you will do. If we expect students and members to be engaged in their campus communities, professionals need to be engaged in their communities as well. Professionals need to volunteer for professional organizations and sit on committees at their institutions. At William Woods University, I sit on two committees: the Strategic Planning Committee and the Academic-Service Learning Committee. Neither takes up much time, but my involvement allows me to network with faculty and staff members from other departments. I am also an active AFA volunteer, beginning as Assistant Media Scanner and currently serving as Special Events Coordinator for the 2010 Annual Meeting. When professionals are considering volunteering, they need to challenge themselves to volunteer in areas about which they would like to learn more, but also know when to say no to volunteer opportunities.


When it comes to thinking outside of the box for professional development, be realistic. Make long-term and short-term goals. For example, “I will read two books by the beginning of the next term and write one book review” is a good short-term goal. A goal to assess the needs of new members regarding new member education might be a little more long-term. There are plenty of opportunities for professionals to challenge themselves on a regular basis as they stay in their current positions, most of the time not even having to leave the office. – Neil E. Stanglein is the Director of Greek Life & Student Involvement at William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri. References Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors (2007). Core competencies for excellence in the profession. Retrieved May 1, 2010, from CoreCompetencies.aspx DeSantis, A. D. (2007). Inside Greek U. Fraternities, sororities and the pursuit of pleasure, power, and prestige. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky. Farber, S. (2009). Greater than yourself: The ultimate lesson of true leadership. New York, NY: Doubleday. Kimmel, M. (2008). Guyland. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Summer 2010 / Perspectives


By Larry D. Long

strategies to improve the Fraternity/Sorority Experience


embers of the AFA/EBI Committee recently published a summary report of the AFA/EBI Fraternity/Sorority Assessment for 2009.

To read the full AFA/EBI Assessment Committee Summary Report, please visit the Assessment webpage, under Knowledge Center (

The report revealed that the fraternity/sorority experience enabled the majority of respondents to meet new people, assume positions of responsibility, improve their verbal communication, understand the consequences of drug use, and develop pride in being members of their organizations. The report also revealed, however, that the fraternal environment of the respondents was not as strong in developing abilities pertaining to academic and vocational success, offering diversityexperiences, and discouraging the use of alcohol (AFA/EBI Assessment Committee, 2010). Using the findings from the summary report, this article describes strategies for improving the fraternity/sorority experience.

strategies for improvement The AFA/EBI Fraternity/Sorority Assessment described the experiences of fraternity and sorority members through the use of 18 factors, covering learning outcomes, programming, and satisfaction. The learning outcome factors consisted of questions that asked respondents to rate to what degree their fraternity/ sorority experience enhanced their ability to perform a task. The response options ranged from “Not at all” (1) to “Extremely” (7). This article focuses on the learning outcomes with the lowest overall means: Interpersonal Competence (M=5.65, SD=1.17), Leadership Skills (M=5.58, SD=1.30), Diverse Interaction (M=5.61, SD=1.33), Healthy Behaviors (M=5.52, SD=1.44), and Personal Development Skills (M=5.42, SD=1.32). Strategies to improve the fraternity/ sorority experience include promoting learning and cognitive development, developing the administrative abilities of members, promoting diversity, encouraging the responsible use of alcohol, and developing the academic and vocational abilities of members.

Promote Learning and Cognitive Development

According to Pascarella and Terenzini (2005), informal contact with faculty is positively associated with persistence and gains in 14

Perspectives / Summer 2010

interpersonal skills, general maturity, and cognitive abilities. The following assessment response items, engage faculty outside the classroom (M=4.92, SD=1.71), think critically (M=5.42, SD=1.52), and define problems (M=5.55, SD=1.45), however, had the lowest ratings within the Interpersonal Competence factor. To improve the outcomes of the fraternity/sorority experience, advisors should support the intellectual growth of fraternity and sorority members. This may be achieved by creating more opportunities for studentfaculty interaction and by supporting the development of problem solving abilities. Advisors should involve faculty members in fraternity/sorority programming in a meaningful manner. For instance, a business instructor might lead an educational session on managing personal finances or a sociology professor might lead a workshop on creating inclusive social environments. Student-faculty interaction may also be improved through events, such as professor appreciation receptions and scholarship dinners. These engagements may have a secondary effect of improving the public image of fraternity/ sorority chapters.

Develop the Administrative Abilities of Members

Response items manage finances (M=5.22, SD=1.63) and run meetings (M=5.52, SD=1.57) had the lowest ratings within the Leadership Skills factor. These items represent administrative abilities that can be useful to members in their professional careers. Advisors may develop the administrative abilities of the students they advise by challenging officers to control their budgets, for instance. This entails giving officers a spending limit that forces them to choose carefully how to spend their funds. To accomplish this task, the chapter leadership should avoid additional disbursements to officers, unless the money is crucial to the success and welfare of the organization. A social chairman who has used all of his funding, for example, should not receive an extra $2,000 in order to plan another social event, as this does not teach fiscal responsibility. The chapter leadership can also train the general membership in budgeting by offering an educational workshop on managing personal finances. Further exploration of the Leadership Skills factor revealed a significant difference by leadership experience, Cliff’s delta=.28, p < .05. Chapter officers (M=5.81, SD=1.15) reported greater gains compared to respondents who never held a leadership position in their chapter (M=5.17, SD=1.45). In addition to developing

the administrative abilities of officers, advisors should provide leadership opportunities to non-officers.

Promote Diversity

Interaction with people who are different from you (M=5.52, SD=1.48) had the lowest score within the Diverse Interactions factor. Advisors should create opportunities for members to interact with people with differing backgrounds. This may be achieved by encouraging student leaders to organize events with organizations, campus departments, and community agencies that promote diversity. Campus-based professionals might also consider developing opportunities for diversity experiences. The fitness center at Ball State University, for example, regularly offered wheel-chair basketball as part of its recreational program, and Kansas State University recently hosted a leadership conference for “out” fraternity and sorority members. Research shows exposure to diversity experiences positively influences knowledge acquisition, reflective thinking, cognitive growth, and cultural understanding (Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005).

Encourage the Responsible Use of Alcohol

Research is consistent in demonstrating the negative association between alcohol use and academic achievement (MusgraveMarquart, Bromley, & Dalley, 1997; Wielkiewicz, Prom, & Loos, 2005). An interesting result of the Assessment is that the highest and lowest scores of the Healthy Behaviors factor were understand the consequences of drug use and abuse (M=5.70, SD=1.55)

effective study habits, writing professional correspondences, and creating résumés and cover letters as part of their membership education programs. Organizations might also consider introducing members to campus resources such as the library, tutoring services, and the career center. The recommendations in this article are based on the aggregate results of the institutions that used the AFA/EBI Fraternity/Sorority Assessment during the 2008/2009 academic year. The results may not apply to a particular institution or fraternal organization. Advisors, organization staff, and campus-based professionals should assess the developmental needs of their students before choosing to implement specific interventions. It should also be noted that the Assessment evaluated the degree to which the fraternity/sorority experience enhanced the abilities of members. While a low rating indicates that the fraternal experience did not adequately enhance the abilities of the respondents, the rating does not imply that the respondents lacked a particular skill. It is possible that respondents developed their abilities through other opportunities. The AFA/EBI Fraternity/Sorority Assessment revealed that fraternal organizations are strong in developing the social abilities of members. The organizations do not, however, adequately support the academic mission of institutions of higher education. The active involvement and collaboration of campus-based professionals, organization staff, and alumni/ae volunteers is vital in ensuring

The AFA/EBI Fraternity/Sorority Assessment for 2009 report revealed that the fraternity/sorority experience enabled the majority of respondents to meet new people, assume positions of responsibility, improve their verbal communication, understand the consequences of drug use, and develop pride in being members of their organizations. and drink responsibly/abstain (M=5.36, SD=1.68), respectively. Members appear to understand the consequences of substance use, but still feel influenced to consume alcohol. This may especially be the case in chapters that promote a culture of drinking. Advisors should focus on reducing the use of alcohol as a social bond. This may be achieved by encouraging officers to organize alcohol-free social events and eliminating alcohol from traditions such as initiation and new member/mentor activities.

Develop the Academic and Vocational Abilities of Members

Personal Development Skills had the lowest rating of all of the learning outcomes. The questions pertaining to written communication skills (M=5.05, SD=1.68), establishing an effective study schedule (M=5.10, SD=1.61), setting priorities (M=5.44, SD=1.50), and time management (M=5.56, SD=1.51) had the lowest scores. These abilities are transferable skills that are vital in college and post-graduation. Unfortunately, these are also skills that students do not tend to develop until later in their academic careers. Most students, for example, do not enroll in expository writing until their sophomore or junior year of college. This presents a great opportunity for fraternities and sororities to have a positive impact on the personal development of members. Organizations should incorporate hands-on educational workshops on developing

fraternities and sororities become more conducive to developing the academic, vocational, and intercultural abilities of members. – Larry Long serves as the Student Life Coordinator at Gonzaga University in Florence, Italy, and is a member of the AFA/EBI Assessment Committee. References AFA/EBI Assessment Committee (2010). AFA/EBI fraternity/sorority assessment: Summary report 2009. Retrieved June 23, 2010, from Musgrave-Marquart, D., Bromley, S. P., & Dalley, M. B. (1997). Personality, academic attribution, and substance use as predictors of academic achievement in college students. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 12, 501-511. Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T. (2005). How college affects students: A third decade of research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Wielkiewicz, R., Prom, C., & Loos, S. (2005). Relationships of the leadership attitudes and beliefs scale with student types, study habits, life-long learning and GPA. College Student Journal, 39, 31-41.

Summer 2010 / Perspectives


Reviewed by Christopher P. Kontalonis, Kappa Sigma Fraternity

Outliers: The Story of Success Malcolm Gladwell • New York, NY: Little Brown and Company 2008, 309 pages, $27.99 (Hardcover)


utliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell (2008), seeks to convey a fundamental understanding of how people become or became successful. More specifically, the book focuses on the notion that success may stem more from circumstances or characteristics beyond our control, in disagreement with the old adage of “hard work will get you anywhere.” In other words, the success of certain people may stem from pure chance rather than circumstances within their control. Many may find such a concept disturbing if not impossible, although Gladwell does an excellent job of verifying his claims through a variety of anecdotes combined with statistical data. To give one example of how certain people may be pre-destined to succeed in certain things, Gladwell shows that a majority (17 out of 25) of professional hockey players in Canada are born in January through April. This is not a statistical anomaly or an astrological variance; rather, it can be explained by the age

tion on his part, but rather because he grew up near a facility where one of the first computers was available for his use. As a result, Gates was one of few children (and perhaps the only child) to be able to gain 10,000 hours of experience in computer programming by the time he entered college. These hours were not logged working to become a brilliant software entrepreneur. Rather, they were simply a child filling his spare time. Gates also happened to enter the workforce right at the time when computers were becoming “hot,” which Gladwell argues is the reason for his ultimate success. Similarly, he tells the story of The Beatles’ early beginning, where they would play for eight or more hours at a time, multiple days a week. As a result, The Beatles had more experience than almost every other English rock band coming into the market, and this made them able to perform better, to sound better, to develop new sounds, to become more popular, to sell more records, and to be ultimately more successful.

The book focuses on the notion that success may stem more from circumstances or characteristics beyond our control, in disagreement with the old adage of “hard work will get you anywhere.”


cutoff for junior hockey leagues in Canada being January 1st. As a result, the closer you are born to that date, without being born before it, the older you will be within the league and the more advantage you can gain over the other players. In turn, the better players are chosen for “Major Junior A” hockey, an all-star league for minors. Those players consequently receive additional playing time and better coaching. These factors combine into the notion that being born earlier in the year will actually give you a better chance of becoming a professional hockey player in Canada, all because you are simply older or the oldest within a particular league, because your birthday is closer to January 1st than the other players.

Gladwell has numerous examples of real-life scenarios similar to these throughout the book that are difficult to dispute. After reviewing the book, one comes away with a feeling that although there may never be a way to prove his theories correct, there is a large amount of favorable evidence. One could counter he only used examples that backup his notions, ignoring the millions of other success stories. Either way, the work provides excellent analyses and connections which will likely be unfamiliar to the average reader. Gladwell in no way asserts that being part of these groups of “outliers” is a guarantee for success. Rather, he explains and portrays there are countless examples of outlier type scenarios.

Gladwell goes on to develop such concepts as the “10,000 hour rule,” which says that to become an expert at something, one must have no less than 10,000 hours of experience. He uses this rule to explain the success of Bill Gates and the popularity of The Beatles. Gladwell asserts that Gates became successful not because of some extraordinary amount of hard work or dedica-

Connecting this to the field of student affairs and academia, is it possible that certain people are “predisposed” to be successful? Does growing up in a college town, having parents who are members of a fraternity/sorority, attending college, or working for certain types of people make you more likely to succeed? What are the connections and similarities between the most

Perspectives / Summer 2010

successful student affairs professionals? Are there outliers in the world of fraternity/sorority advising? Many would assert that the field of student affairs and fraternity/sorority advising is one where this concept of outliers or statistical traits of success do not exist. In other words, if someone chooses to become an effective fraternity/sorority advisor, whether organization-based or campus-based, that person simply needs to work hard, learn specific concepts, and develop the appropriate contacts. While this may very well be the case, until a specific study is conducted or some data is at least reviewed, this assumption is not valid. What percent of student affairs professionals participate in professional organizations such as AFA? What percent of effective fraternity/sorority advisors are members of fraternities or sororities? What percent of effective fraternity/sorority advisors have reached 10,000 hours of experience or study? Furthermore, can this concept be applied to identifying students who may be better qualified for leadership positions? Can you, as a fraternity/sorority advisor, know that some students may be more apt to â&#x20AC;&#x153;do the right thingâ&#x20AC;? because they possess certain traits? Do students from certain majors perform better as chapter leaders? Are students born in certain months more likely to participate in fraternity/sorority life? Data to prove or disprove theories such as these could make for an interesting PhD thesis or a great subject for future publication.

a concept that seems unusual or impossible and describes how it is probably more likely to be considered possible than it is a series of random events. Readers interested in success, psychology, or society in general will find great interest in this book and Gladwellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s others, and may develop a different perspective on what it takes to rise above the rest. References Gladwell, M. (2002). The tipping point: How little things can make a big difference. New York, NY: Back Bay Books. Gladwell, M. (2007). Blink: The power of thinking without thinking. New York, NY: Back Bay Books. Gladwell, M. (2008). Outliers: The story of success. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

Gladwell has written several other books of similar methodologies to Outliers. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, and Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking, are two other interesting titles produced by Gladwell. The format among all the books is consistent. Essentially, he takes

Summer 2010 / Perspectives


Get Involved in YOUR Association! AFA I n v o l v e m e n t Opp o r t u n i t i e s


he Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors is a volunteer-driven organization, and AFA volunteers are an essential vehicle for identifying the opportunities and challenges facing fraternities and sororities. Through our Volunteer Management Plan, leaders from all aspects of the interfraternal movement are brought together to help AFA make

the best decisions for our future. Whether you are a veteran volunteer or just considering getting involved, we hope that you will choose to volunteer in the upcoming year.

How Do I Volunteer? The first step is filling out the on-line Involvement Form. The Involvement Form is available year-round; however individuals submitting forms by September 3, 2010, will be given priority consideration for appointments in 2011.

What Opportunities Exist to Volunteer? AFA values the many and varied contributions of our 200+ volunteers and encourages you to choose an area of interest and contribute in ways that are meaningful to you! There are many ways to participate and a variety of volunteer experiences available to suit every volunteer interest. Simply visit the Getting Involved/Volunteer Opportunities section of the AFA Website. Each of our volunteer roles has a position description listed that describes the work of that particular committee/work group.

Benefits of Volunteering… Here are a few benefits AFA Volunteers have stated! • Giving back to a community that has given me so much • Building connections with colleagues • Becoming more informed professionally • Receiving support and encouragement from other professionals • Commitment to the success of our profession and Association • Trying new roles and responsibilities that I wouldn’t normally do in my job – it builds and strengthens my professional skill set • A responsibility to be involved in our volunteer-driven Association • My talents are utilized to make a difference • Seeing tangible results come from my work • Receive access to resources and knowledge of best practices 18

Perspectives / Summer 2010

“I find volunteering with other professionals to be rewarding and personally developmental as I observe and learn with other experts in the field. In reality, the benefit to me is only a happy side effect, since the real reason I choose to volunteer is to give back to the Association in response to all the benefit it has provided to me as a member.” – AFA V o l u n t e e r

“Volunteering is an opportunity for me to be involved in something outside my regular job responsibilities, to provide assistance for the betterment of the Association, and to stay up-to-date on what is going on within the Association.” – AFA V o l u n t e e r

“My AFA role has been the best and most professional volunteer role I have ever had!” – AFA V o l u n t e e r

Expectations of Volunteers Appointments for standing positions occur in late September. Volunteer leaders spend approximately two months prior to the Annual Meeting transitioning, training, and planning for their new positions, with new responsibilities beginning immediately following the Annual Meeting. Workgroups are appointed throughout the year as needed to address specific needs or issues and may work for a few months or an entire year. Information about specific committees or positions, training opportunities, basic expectations, and the 2011 Involvement Form can be found in the Getting Involved/Volunteer Opportunities section of the AFA website.

Consider sharing your time and talents today!

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Kevinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s signature keynote, Passion, Persistence & The Price is Right!, is an inspirational and entertaining program that helps students achieve their goals, find passion in their lives and recognize how challenges are only stepping stones to future success. Be Greek, Be Proud! is designed specifically for Fraternity and Sorority Life audiences. This presentation will rekindle, entertain and inspire fraternity and sorority members to take action in their chapters, their communities and their campuses.

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Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors 9640 N. Augusta Drive, Suite 433 Carmel, IN 46032

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Perspectives Summer 2010  

AFA Perspectives Summer 2010

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