Shortly after returning from China, I had the opportunity to talk with the Association of Christians in Student Development (ACSD) during their annual conference, themed, “Cultivating Wisdom: Bringing Life to Knowledge.”
While riding the subway in Hong Kong, I couldn’t help but notice the ubiquitous signs and announcements to “please mind the gap.” After multiple reinforcements, I couldn’t help but think that it is precisely in minding (and mining) the gap that those of us in student affairs bring life to knowledge with our students.
We operate at the gap between intellectual (content) and moral self-direction (character development); between what higher education provides and what is required for the 21st century global environment.
We mind the gap because our students are walking a tightrope between optimism and the current difficult realities (student debt, employment and career). They live and think globally and are not sure how to be global citizens. They are the most outward-looking and accepting generation in history and, yet, they are conflicted about embracing diversity.
As student affairs educators, we are uniquely positioned to “mind the gap,” reinforcing experiential learning and helping students reflect on how they develop their values. With the 75th anniversary of the Student Personnel Point of View, we are reminded that student affairs professionals are uniquely positioned to Mind and Mine the gap by basing our work on the philosophical legacy and enduring principles of educating whole students to reach their highest potential and make a positive contribution to society.