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Advocating for Standards in Student Affairs Departments in African Institutions: University of Botswana experience

Barbra M. Pansiri
Refilwe P. Sinkamba


The Student Affairs Departments have seen immense growth over the years, from a discourse which had no academic relevance in higher education, to that which is expected to add value to the attraction, retention, and graduation of students. However, the latest developments have seen the role of Student Affairs Departments grow from ‘in‑loco parentis’ to educators who are expected to strategically position the image of their institutions to ensure that students are equipped with relevant, tried and tested skills in preparation for their studies, work, and civic engagement. The level of personal growth of students as they transition from secondary to tertiary institutions is now also traced to the effectiveness of Student Affairs personnel, policies, and structures. Thus the need for the visibility of such departments and the need to add value to higher education in the 21st century has escalated. More innovative ways of engaging students and academics in this social discourse has a bearing on a professional approach that places emphasis on standards. The argument is made for advancing standards in the sphere of Student Affairs as a method of enhancing needed visibility and adding value to African higher education, the focus of which is leading the continent’s transformation agenda towards socio-economic development.