College Student Affairs Leadership
All Spotlights » Gary King - The Continuation of my GRAND Experience
As a recent Grand Valley State University graduate, I have an interesting perspective on the CSAL program and all it has to offer. I honestly didn’t know what to fully expect going into Graduate School at my Alma Mater, especially because I had already formed life-long friendships and relationships amongst existing GV community members. During orientation I met colleagues from Peru, Germany, New York, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, etc. which changes the classroom dynamics greatly! The diversity within the CSAL program provides vastly different perspectives. Welcoming diversity, differing perspectives and contrasting beliefs is something that is vital in the student affairs profession and in essence this is something the classroom and assistantship provides. While transitioning into the next phase of my life I realized how supportive and challenging the CSAL faculty, advisors, and administrators could be. Courses in the curriculum help foster learning that will be helpful in your career aspirations. For example, the spring Jamaica study abroad trip is something I anticipate will broaden my cultural competence and truly allow me to relate contextual knowledge to practical experience. The practicum/internship portion of the curriculum is another highly valued aspect of the program which I expect to really help broaden my outlook on higher education and student affairs.
While at Grand Valley I have worked with the Educational Support Program, TRiO Upward Bound, and now Freshman Academy. I am heavily rooted in working with at risk, low income, first generation, college students. I feel I have a passion for working with underrepresented students in higher education but, on the other hand, broadening my experience is something that will be valuable for my future in higher education. I plan to use the required practicum aspect of the CSAL curriculum to broaden my horizons and am looking at other Michigan universities for a site for my first practicum. The cohort styled program has an abundance of professional development opportunities along with an outrageous amount of networking opportunities. The majority of my colleagues hold positions all throughout campus, in virtually every student affairs related department. While working with students in my Freshman Academy graduate assistantship position, I have been able to collaborate with colleagues who hold assistantships and jobs in departments all across campus. The strong rapport I have formed with colleagues, faculty, and administrators has been beneficial in my attempt to maximize my students’ potential as well as my own.