Higher Education and Student Affairs

What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. –Jane Goodall


This fall, I will be attending graduate school at Indiana University for higher education and student affairs, and I couldn’t be more excited. I love the field of higher education and can’t wait to start working with students in a more in-depth way. As an undergrad, I realized what kind of difference I wanted to make in someone’s life, and I ended up choosing that as a career. Therefore, when asked to create a book collection for my honors seminar, I knew that I wanted my collection to center around the theme of higher education. The books in this collection reflect some of the foundational texts and documents of the profession as well as personal interests that are directly related to research in higher education. The content of my own personal library will change over time due to new research, technology, and student needs; however, this is a fairly comprehensive list of texts that I hope to acquire over time.

To put together my collection, I asked for feedback from current grad students and professionals since they deal with these books on a regular basis. I also researched professional organizations in higher education such as ACPA and NASPA in order to find texts that they recommended. In addition, it’s important to note that 99% of the books chosen aren’t worth a lot of money, simply due to the lack of popularity and necessity to others outside of the educational field. In addition, books related to higher education are used for commercial purposes, not artistic purposes. Regardless, they help inform the practice of student affairs and are critical to the field.

Check out my collection by clicking here or clicking on the shelf below!

1.) Sexual Behavior in the Human Male by Alfred Kinsey, Wardell Pomeroy, and Clyde Martin, 1948

Signed copy on AbeBooks for $2,250

This text started the discussion about research concerning human sexuality and contained the first printing of the Kinsey Scale, also known as the Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale. This is a founding document that promoted further research on the topic on sexual orientation and gender identity, which is an area of study that is very popular among higher educational professionals.

2.) Learning Reconsidered: A Campus-Wide Focus on the Student Experience by Richard Keeling, 2004

Learning Reconsidered focuses on the theory that learning is a holistic experience that includes both academics and student development. It states that the entire campus needs to work together to help students achieve. An online PDF of this text can be found here.

3.) Student Services: A Handbook for the Profession by Susan Komives and Dudley Woodard Jr, 1980

This handbook is widely used in higher education and is considered a “classic reference in the field.” It is a broad text with many, various topics relating to student affairs.

4.) How College Affects Students by Ernest Pascarella and Patrick Terenzini, 1991

How College Affects Students mainly discusses what the title implies–how does college affect students? Some chapters focus on moral development, attitudes, quality of life, cognitive skills, etc. It’s a very useful book for anyone working with the college student population.

5.) Student Success in College: Creating Conditions That Matter by George Kuh, Jillian Kinzie, John Schuh, and Elizabeth Whitt, 2010

This text narrows in on what the institution itself can do through programming, policy, and practice to enhance achievement.

6.) Student Development in College: Theory, Research, and Practice by Nancy Evans, Deanna Forney, and Florence Guido, 1998

One of my mentors purchased this book for me during my graduate school hunt. Needless to say, it’s one of the most well-known and widely cited texts in the field. It includes foundational theories for higher ed and provides the research behind the theories as well as how to implement them as a professional.

7.) Empowering Women in Higher Education and Student Affairs: Theory, Research, Narratives, and Practice From Feminist Perspectives by Penny Pasque and Shelley Nicholson, 2011

This text addresses the experiences and positions of women students and professionals in higher education, the challenges they’ve faced, and problems in today’s society. It aims to dismantle sexism and oppression.

8.) Women’s Ways of Knowing by Mary Belenky, Jill Tarule, Nancy Goldberger, and Blythe Clinchy, 1997

The authors of this book conducted 135 interviews with women and later analyzed and coded their findings. A summary of the findings of Women’s Ways of Knowing can be found here.

9.) A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives by Lorin Anderson and David Krathwohl, 2000

This text focuses on creating standards-based curriculums and educational objectives. It’s more of a “dry read” that helps with assessment, policy, and objectives.

10.) A History of American Higher Education by John Thelin, 2004

Like the title implies, this book discusses the history of higher education in America and how education has changed over time and responded to numerous challenges of society.

11.) Education and Identity by Arthur Chickering and Linda Reisser, 1993

This text mainly focuses on Chickering’s theory of student development. It deals with the topic of identity development among students in the university setting. His theories are still used today in the field of higher ed.


12.) Psychological Types by Carl Jung, 1921

Psychological Types was the building block for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, one of the most widely used personality tests in today’s society. Higher education consistently uses the MBTI to help with the development of professionals in the field. A PDF of this text can be found here.


Interested in finding your own personality type? This link  gives you a free, abbreviated version of the real test!


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