Posted February 28, 2014 by Erin Morrell 

The Philosophy of Programming, Past and Present

Recently, someone at the Central Office shared a piece of Association history with me that was found while searching through all of the artifacts and items in the Central Office for the 100th anniversary celebration. It was a statement of philosophy of programming from 1972 that was created by the ACUI Program Development Committee. After reading it over, it got me thinking about how many things have changed in the past 42 years as well as how many things stay the same.Concert

The statement reads as follows:

“Programming is a process that should provide impetus for interaction. It should encourage the exchange of ideas, philosophies, and knowledge. The program process is complex and functions at many levels in approaching diverse objective and products.

Programming seeks:

  1. To sensitize the individual to the work around him and to stimulate his involvement through cooperative interaction.
  2. To contribute to the development of each individual’s self-concept through self-actualization.
  3. To affect the development of the individual’s problem solving techniques and his capacity to be an effective change agent.
  4. To facilitate the individual’s learning process through experiences.”

One of the first things that I noticed was that the general concept of what programming is and can be has not changed over the years. We may use different words to describe it now, words that are more in tune with the core values of the Association and help us to identify core competencies learned through programming and events, but the ideas and thoughts remain intact.

There are so many more facets of programming that we have now that may not have existed then or are more prevalent on campuses now, such as multicultural programming, targeted programming for classes and/or new students, programs in the residence halls, and even programs for nontraditional students and students that are veterans.

In terms of this statement, it tends to concentrate on the individual, which is a great way to learn, but we also have a greater sense of collaborative learning in the 21st Century. It’s important to encourage our students not only to learn skills that will help them plan and program events, but also to acquire skills that will be used throughout their time as a student and beyond. Many of our students leave college and have had amazing experiences and attribute much of their learning to their experiences outside of the classroom.

Programming is a large part of what student affairs professionals do and help with, and I hope that reading over this statement from 1972 and my comments will spark some conversation about what you believe to be the philosophy of programming, whether in general or on your individual campuses.

How do you relate to this programming philosophy from 1972? How do you think it applies to our work today?

Erin Morrell

Erin Morrell is the Associate Dean for Campus Activities & Orientation at Albertus Magnus College.

Erin has responsibilities in advising student organizations, including the programming board and student government, and supervising department student employees. She oversees the Albertus@Night late night programming series, and serves as the Director of New Student Orientation.


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