When I told people I’m heading off for a year of travel during my sabbatical, the first question I got was, “Where are you going?” When I set out, I didn’t have a specific answer. I could only say that I was on an adventure—an adventure to find the best of student engagement practices among student affairs professionals. In the language of appreciative inquiry, I set out to search for what is “life giving” at a time when higher education work is often marked by uncertainty, anxiety and exhaustion.  During my decades long experience in student affairs and higher education, I’ve learned that my colleagues are driven by activities that boost student well-being, contribute to their excitement about learning, and instill commitment to enriching their communities and the world. By discovering the best of what is making a difference in our work today, we can build a vision and a powerful future for tomorrow’s students.

During my journeys and conversations with my colleagues, I have written and am continuing to write reflections on practice. I invite visitors to this page to peruse the essays and engage in the conversation through responding to the survey questions included at the end of each reflection, or to contact me at matherp@ohio.edu to start a conversation about  a rich future for students and for higher education communities.