The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2 - 74

David Schmid * Jennifer Wagstaff

may differ in licensure requirements and laws,
an individual with an earned master's degree
in student affairs from a counseling-based
program may be eligible to apply for a state
counseling license" (Protivnak et al., 2013, p.
55). Thus, the graduate preparation for possessing these skills can range from none to the level
of what is required in clinical training. There
is a final difference even in programs where a
full course or courses on helping skills are included. Reynolds and Altabef (2015) analyzed
the syllabi of helping courses in student affairs
and found that the top six most frequently discussed topics were microskills, counseling/
helping theory, multicultural issues/competence, ethics/legal issues, the helping roles of
student affairs professionals, and helping issues
in a campus context. In addition, seven of the
top ten skills taught were listening/microskills/
active listening, nonverbal and attending skills,
multicultural competence, intervention/action,
challenging and confronting, crisis intervention and management, and conflict mediation
(Reynolds & Altabef, 2015). These skills would
be used frequently by residence life professionals, as they "provide individual support through
. . . live-in staff, making referrals when appropriate" (ACUHO-I, 2015, p. 13). However, due
to the number of skills needed, "it may be necessary to devote more than one course to training in helping skills or find ways to incorporate
such issues into other courses" (Reynolds &
Altabef, 2015, p. 229).

SUMMARY AND PURPOSE
STATEMENT
The current literature suggests that a gap exists
between the skills needed to be an entry-level
residence life professional and the preparation

76

that is offered in student affairs graduate programs. Thus, the purpose of this study was to
determine the prevalence of helping skills instruction within student affairs graduate programs and to compare these findings in order
to understand how SHOs perceive the proficiency that entry-level professionals have with
helping skills.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS
There were four research questions for the current study:
* How frequently are counseling/helping skills
courses required in student affairs graduate
preparation programs in the United States?
* What types of helping skills do SHOs in the
Midwest deem essential to be successful in
entry-level residence life positions?
* Do SHOs perceive their current entry-level
professionals as possessing these skills?
* How do the results from the three previous
research questions compare?

METHOD
To answer the question "How frequently are
counseling/helping skills courses required in
student affairs graduate preparation programs
in the United States?" the researchers accessed
the publicly available Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA, 2019)
graduate program directory to acquire curriculum information from the 380 programs listed
on the site. The NASPA website was chosen
due to the greater number of programs listed,
as ACPA had only 128 programs at the time
of this study. The website of each institution
listed was visited to determine if the required
curriculum included coursework in helping

THE JOURNAL OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENT HOUSING



The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2 - Intro
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