Student Affairs and Campus Life History

The Evolution of Student Affairs

Early higher education in the United States was based on the Oxbridge model of education. Most early institutions were residential colleges where the tutors lived in the halls with the students. These tutors were the precursor to student affairs professionals in the United States.The profession of Student Affairs came out of the first Dean of Men, created at Harvard University in 1870. LeBaron Russell Briggs was appointed as Dean of Men in charge of academic advising as well as disciplinary duties. This appointment moved the day-to-day administration of student issues away from the president and placed it with an individual. In 1892, Alice Freeman Palmer at the University of Chicago became the first Dean of Women. Today, every residential college and university has an executive area of Student Affairs. Most student affairs professionals have Masters degrees in Educational Leadership, Higher Education Administration, Student Affairs Administration, or other relevant discipline (e.g.: Human Resource Management, Organizational Psychology, Public Administration, etc.). Senior student affairs officers almost always have terminal degrees - Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), or Juris Doctor (J.D.).


Student Life at UMass Amherst

The 150 year history of student life on the UMass Campus is rich and varied. Much of this history can be found in Library Special Collections which has UMass Yearbooks from 1869 to 2005 and collected archives of student activities at UMass Amherst, from student publications and organizations (fraternities and sororities, unions, and honorary societies) as well as records of student government, student protests, and religious and social groups.