College Student Personnel program

Mission, Values, and Purpose

In the College Student Personnel program, student learning and development is paramount both for the graduate student and for the students that they serve as a student affairs practitioners. This growth is facilitated in the program through student, faculty, and student affairs professional partnerships in the classroom and in practical experiences such as assistantships, practicums, and summer internships, and guided by the values of theory-to-practice, ethical action, self-authorship, social justice, and transformative learning.

CSP program has a theory-to-practice orientation that includes coursework in student development theory, groups dynamics, philosophy of higher education, organization and administration of student affairs, multicultural competency, counseling theory and techniques, and research methods. All of this preparation is aimed at helping you become a reflective practitioner doing socially responsible work as student affairs professionals in a variety of student settings, including residence life, student activities, Greek affairs, admissions and student recruitment, academic advising, orientation, multicultural student programs, student retention, gender programs, career development, and experiential education.

The Learning Environment

The CSP program is grounded in our belief that people and organizations grow through an experiential process that is mutually shaped, socially constructed, and historically situated. In small cohort-based classes you will discuss, question, experiment, research, wrestle with, and debate the issues, and the roots of those issues, that face student affairs professionals. Faculty and student affairs professionals across campus partner with you in this learning process both inside the classroom and in your assistantship, practica, and volunteer experiences. And, your cohort coming from a wide range of undergraduate disciplines, student affairs experience, locations, and backgrounds, add another layer of learning and growing during your time in the program.

The CSP program is a two-year, 48 credit hour program that emphasizes the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competencies in the classroom and practical experiences, and meets the standards established by the Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS) for student services and developmental programs. Providing quality preparation for immediate employment in student affairs, as well as a sound background for individuals interested in pursuing future doctoral degrees in college student personnel of higher education, is at the forefront of our mind.

Student Learning Outcomes

As a graduate from the College Student Personnel program at Western Illinois University, you will be able to:

  • make meaning of how growth occurs, identify conditions that influence development and create experiences that advance greater interpersonal, intrapersonal, and cognitive complexity;
  • articulate the history of and create approaches that effectively address contemporary issues facing higher education;
  • define and assess an organization’s policies, practices, procedures, and structures for the purpose of strategically co-creating quality transformative environments;
  • gather, apply, and evaluate methods of research evidence to improve holistic student learning; and
  • define, implement, and reflect upon transformative learning practices for the benefit of both individuals and organizations.

Cohort Experience

The cohort is central to the CSP experience. Your cohort of 20-24 peers engage you in classes, study by you at local coffee shops, attend the assistantship and practicum events that you organized, and collaborate with you on group projects. Coming from undergraduate backgrounds such as biology, English, public health, French, history, gender studies, criminal justice, psychology, intercultural communications, and Spanish and from places like Washington, Wisconsin, Vermont, Calgary, Texas, Florida, New York, Minnesota, Oregon, California, and Colorado (not to mention ethic and religious backgrounds), you will be surrounded by new ideas and perspectives (and many places to visit during winter break).

“The cohort experience at WIU has been one of the most beneficial parts of the program. Being in the same classes with other individuals help us build off each other’s knowledge and learn together.  The faculty really encourage us to use each other as resources and if we fully take that advice then we have the chance to greatly benefit from each other. I depend on members of my cohort to help me reflect on many of my experiences and grow as an individual.”  - Tenisia Adams, CSP Class of 2015