Welcome to Student Affairs Administration (SAA)!

For almost 50 years, the Master of Arts in Student Affairs Administration (SAA) at Appalachian State University has prepared reflective scholar practitioners to work in various areas of student affairs to serve students and institutions of higher education through collaborative, equitable, and inclusive practice. 

Our in-person, cohort-based, 45 credit hour program has a theory-to-practice framework and an applied learning emphasis. The curriculum requires at least three different practice-based experiences (assistantship, practicum, internship), with the option to engage in two additional experiences (second practicum, summer experience), to infuse an applied learning element that allows students to graduate with over 1700 hours of working with students, colleagues, and groups.

Recent graduates have secured employment in Academic Advising, Career Development, Diversity & Social Justice, First Year Student Programs, Fraternity & Sorority Life, Leadership Development, Orientation, Residence Life, Service Learning, Student Activities, Student Conduct, Student Learning Center, Study Abroad, and many other areas. We consistently receive positive feedback from employers about our gradutes' preparation for and success in their roles and the broader field.                              

Mission Statement

To prepare reflective scholar-practitioners to work in various areas of student affairs to serve students and institutions of higher education through collaborative, equitable and inclusive practice.

Learning Intentions

The Student Affairs Administration program fosters four overarching learning intentions, each with several components. Faculty and educational partners strive to create learning environments where students will:

Overarching Learning IntentionSpecific Components
Expand and challenge their thinking about themselves, others, and student affairs through theory, research, and reflection. 
  • Define the historical roots and philosophical assumptions underlying the formation of the student affairs profession.
  • Describe student development theories as a way to explain human growth and development.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the legal foundations influencing student affairs practice.
  • Design, interpret, and conduct basic educational applied research, program evaluation, and assessment.
Experience multiple functional areas of student affairs through practice and reflection. 
  • Describe the various student affairs functions and discuss current issues of significance to select functional areas.
  • Describe how basic campus environmental factors (i.e., human aggregate, physical, and organizational) promote or detract from student growth and development.
  • Identify high impact practices associated with deep learning.
Develop their professional philosophies, values, pathways, and communities.
  • Identify and follow professional ethical standards when interacting with students and other constituents.
  • Assess personal strengths and areas of growth as scholar-practitioners in student affairs and commit to an on-going professional development plan.
  • Collaborate with peers, supervisors, faculty, and the broader field.
Cultivate their abilities to be change agents in higher education.
  • Demonstrate an appreciation for students across identities, backgrounds, and cultures and an understanding of the associated needs of a variety of student populations.
  • Demonstrate effective group facilitation skills.
  • Identify ways to advance equity and inclusion in student affairs.
  • Develop their ability to lead in ways that advance equity and inclusion in student affairs within a frame of integrity and ethical decision making

Program and Department Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, & Equity

The Student Affairs Administration (SAA) program and Counseling, Family Therapy, and Higher Education (CTH) department seek to educate practitioner-scholars who serve with humility, reflect on their own identities and positionalities, embrace equity and inclusion, and navigate the complex realities of doing social justice-based work. We are committed to creating a learning environment among students, staff, and faculty that fosters critical consciousness, values diverse identities, and engages in purposeful action toward dismantling systemic oppression in our fields. We also recognize the tension between diversity, inclusion, and equity efforts and the practices, policies, and systems within our institution and broader society that are barriers to cultivating this kind of environment. As such, we strive to be transparent and responsive, reduce our role in perpetuating injustice, and work towards equity and justice with and on behalf of the students in our programs and in the communities that we serve.