As a practicum student in the Office of the Dean of Students, I serve as a Student Conduct Hearing Officer. As a part of this experience, I get to hear university level cases with students who have violated the Student Code of Conduct. I knew this experience would be essential to my preparation for my first professional job.
As a student conduct officer, I have been able to gain a stronger knowledge base on laws, policies, and procedures that affect the entire campus community and beyond. Additionally, I have been able to help students understand how their decision impacts them personally and professionally. It is important that they also see how their decisions affect the campus community and beyond. Being able to help students work through their experiences and process their decision-making is an extremely rewarding experience. I love it when students share with me that they want to continue to follow-up with our office to make sure that they are on target with reaching their goals and making the appropriate changes that they said they would. The level of accountability for students to want that for themselves is extremely powerful.
I really enjoy the fact that the office uses an educational model to ensure that we educate the whole student rather than just simply being punitive. This approach along with our retention-based model has helped me to be more intentional about how to help students through this tough and sometimes scary process. By helping students navigate their college experience in a positive direction I truly feel like I have made a difference.
Another thing that I really enjoy is working with the staff in the office. We all are very team-oriented and we do just that---work as a team! The supervisors in the office are very intentionally about making sure the graduate students in the office are receiving multiple opportunities for professional development. In addition, everyone is always so willing to help out and guide one another when necessary. The staff dynamic has definitely contributed to my success in this role.
These experiences have not only prepared me for my first professional experience but have set a strong foundation for the work I will continue to do in the student affairs profession.