Student Affairs

Practitioners and students shine at regional student affairs conference


Professional development lies at the very heart of the Division of Student Affairs’ strategic plan at Clemson University. By the same token, the university’s Master of Education in Student Affairs graduate program aims to provide students with a transformative learning experience founded on theory to practice.

Graduate assistants Avery Jamison (left) and Kelsey Durham (second from left) were awarded third place in the case study competition at the SACSA annual conference.
Graduate assistants Avery Jamison (left) and Kelsey Durham (second from left) took home third-place honors in the case study competition at SACSA’s annual conference from Nov. 1-4.

The two paths intersected recently at the 2019 annual conference for the Southern Association for College Student Affairs (SACSA), held Nov. 2-4 in Raleigh, N.C. SACSA’s mission is to provide opportunities to advance through professional development, scholarship, research and ethical practice, and understanding of issues impacting the profession while fostering core values of inclusiveness, professionalism and collegiality.

Several Clemson staff members were on hand to present topics of importance to not only their colleagues, but also aspiring student affairs professionals in the Southeast region.

“Clemson supports and benefits from this conference and the opportunities it provides to enhance our professional development, keep abreast of best practices and identify trends across functional areas to best support our students,” said Kristin Walker-Donnelly, who completed a two-year term as vice president of marketing and outreach on the association’s Executive Council. Walker-Donnelly currently serves as Clemson’s director of assessment in Student Affairs.

Clemson was well represented at the recent annual conference for the Southern Association for College Student Affairs (SACSA).
Clemson was well represented at the recent annual conference for the Southern Association for College Student Affairs (SACSA).

Walker-Donnelly presented with fellow Clemson colleagues DeOnte Brown (Student Transitions and Family Programs) and Gary Wiser (Fraternity and Sorority Life) on an industrial engineering tool known as value mapping. The tool, utilized by departments throughout Clemson’s division, has provided a new structure for annual assessment that helped leaders focus on the quality of the most important work.

Kimberly Poole, associate dean of students, also contributed during the conference. Her presentation focused on how care case managers, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and other departments across Clemson’s campus collaborate to identify needs and connect students to support services.

Agassy Rodriguez and Myles Surrett of Student Involvement & Leadership presented on how research, technology and relationships can transform pathways to involvement on campus. Surrett, who is pursuing a Ph.D. at Clemson, also presented on retaining talented new professionals in the student affairs profession.

Other presenters from Clemson included:

  • Ciera Durden, staff (Gantt Multicultural Center)
  • Kelsey Durham, graduate assistant (Campus Activities & Events)
  • Jada Hardric, staff (Academic Success Center)
  • Dion Harry, staff (College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences)
  • Quonna Holden, graduate assistant (Student Transitions and Family Programs)
  • Avery Jamison, graduate assistant (Campus Activities & Events)
  • Savannah Lockman, graduate assistant (Campus Activities & Events)
  • Austin McDonald, graduate assistant (University Housing & Dining)
  • Caitlynn Myer, graduate assistant (Healthy Campus)
  • Amirrah Nurr, graduate assistant (University Housing & Dining)
  • Maggie Potter, graduate assistant (University Housing & Dining)
  • Travis Smith, graduate assistant (Educational Leadership)
  • Nikalette Zina, graduate assistant (University Housing & Dining)

Tony Cawthon — a faculty member within the M.Ed. program at Clemson who also serves on SACSA’s Foundation board — was inspired by the incredible turnout from master’s program students at the conference.

“We are so proud of our students for sharing their knowledge by presenting at the SACSA conference,” he said. “They are so engaged and involved in many professional associations and represent themselves and our graduate program so well.”

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