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In 2012 the International Association of Student Affairs and Services (IASAS) began a series of conversations on what it means to serve in student affairs and services roles across various regions of the world.

Denny Roberts, Khalid Al-Khanji, Mohammed Al-Kuwari, Ameena Hussain, Greg Roberts, and Lisa Bardill Moscaritolo initiated the “conversations” as a follow up to a small group discussion during the first global summit, with the objective to learn if there was a common purpose for our work.


The first questions were:

  • How do we view students and what do we seek to achieve in our work with them?

  • What is the core of our work and how we do it?

  • What skills and competencies are required to complete our work with students?

The first conversations outcomes reported back to the study team came from Germany, Canada, Romania, Caribbean, United Kingdom, Antigua, Belgium, Cypress, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Spain, and Turkey. North Americans were asked to hold their participation so that a truly international perspective could be discerned.

In 2014 the results of the study team were shared at the second global summit. One outcome that was not expected was the idea that the process of holding these “Conversations” in different settings around the world could be used to broaden and deepen the appreciation for our work.  Additionally, IASAS could strive to serve the international student affairs and services community through the “conversations” template.

Defining the conversation template

The “Conversations” process offered a template for conversations that could take place around the world at conferences, staff meetings, virtual meetings, or other gatherings based on two to three questions: associations and individuals can use for further research topics with different sets of questions.

The value of this process is to take a topic of interest and apply an international perspective to our work. The conversation process relies on the IASAS network to collect input.


Additionally, IASAS members can assist in the conversation process in order to build capacity and build consensus about the essential nature of our work. The conversations outcomes are posted on the IASAS website as a resource for members.

The Conversation on the philosophy, purpose, and competencies of student affairs and services work.

The 2014 findings of the original conversations  were reported at the second annual Global Summit. The plan is to continue the conversations to other regions of the world such as the Middle East, Asia and Africa in order to allow for a broader perspective on the philosophy, purpose and competences necessary for working in student affairs and services.

The findings of the original conversations around philosophy, purpose, and competencies of student affairs and services work  have now led to the creation of new conversations, this time focused on student activism and how we, as educators, can respond to this emerging trend. The first conversation was held at the 2016 NASPA International Symposium.

How to get involved in the conversations and research?
Are you
 interested in facilitating an ongoing conversation or have an idea for a new conversation?

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