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Small and Mighty Cover

Small and Mighty: Student Affairs at Small Colleges and Universities

Career and Workforce Development Supporting the Profession Small Colleges and Universities Division AVP or "Number Two" Mid-Level New Professional Senior Level VP for Student Affairs
April 1, 2023 Carolyn H. Livingston Christa J. Porter Thomas C. Shandley

Small and Mighty: Student Affairs at Small Colleges and Universities explores critical opportunities and challenges at higher education institutions with fewer than 5,000 students. Written by a diverse group of seasoned campus leaders, this comprehensive text covers a range of topics relevant to higher education and student affairs while providing detailed insights and actions to take for, in support of, and alongside students at small colleges and universities. Thriving in the small college culture requires flexibility, collaboration, and the ability to shift rapidly within the changing environment of higher education. Small and Mighty offers thoughtful strategies and insights to help student affairs professionals identify innovative solutions to some of the most pressing issues facing small colleges and universities.

Paperback | 2023 | 348 pages

ISBN: 978-1-948213-40-0

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Table of Contents

Donna A. Lee


Introduction: Learning About Opportunities and Challenges at Small Colleges and Universities
Carolyn H. Livingston, Christa J. Porter, and Thomas C. Shandley


Chapter 1: Small Colleges and the Search for Distinction
Carolyn H. Livingston and Steven G. Poskanzer

Chapter 2: The Small College: College Characteristics, Student Demographics, and Institutional Practices
Kimberly J. Blea, Lisa Brown Cornelius, and Miriam Feldblum


Chapter 3: Student Activism: Balancing Support and Accountability
Byron P. McCrae

Chapter 4: Relationships With Stakeholders
Grant L. Azdell, Greg J. Nayor, and Heather A. French

Chapter 5: Freedom of Expression and Responding to Bias: Public Dialogues, Academic Freedom, and Campus Responses
Mamta Accapadi and Ryan A. Miller

Chapter 6: Managing a Pandemic: A Case Study of COVID-19 at Small Colleges
Kemal M. Atkins and Tiffany T. Sanchez


Chapter 7: Strategic Planning and Assessment in the Small College: Why It Matters
Christa J. Porter, Carolyn H. Livingston, Robin M. Williamson, and Sindy L. Fleming

Chapter 8: Building Innovative Programs for the Small College
Sandra K. Olson-Loy and Paul R. Bennion

Chapter 9: Both Sides of the House: Integrating Academic and Student Affairs as a Component of Inclusive Excellence
Charlotte Johnson and Joel Pérez


Chapter 10: Fiscal Development: The Role of Student Affairs in Advancement
Megan E. Morey and Stephen Klass

Chapter 11: Working With What We Have: Reallocation and Realignment of Restrained Resources
Mark R. Miller, Charlie Potts, and JoNes R. VanHecke


Chapter 12: Preparing College Students to Be Career Ready
Ryan E. Alcantara and R. J. Holmes-Leopold

Chapter 13: Transitioning to the Small College
Darryl B. Holloman, Paul J. McLoughlin II, and Joy S. Smith

Chapter 14: A Firsthand Account: Why Choose a Small College?
Mike Segawa

Chapter 15: Looking Ahead: Opportunities and Challenges for Small Colleges and Universities
Thomas C. Shandley

The Editors

The Contributing Authors


Praise for Small and Mighty: Student Affairs at Small Colleges and Universities

“Small and Mighty is a tremendous resource for those wishing to learn more about the magic of small colleges and to better understand the challenges and opportunities of small college leadership and practice. Prior to becoming president of a small college, I spent my entire higher education career working in various student affairs positions at medium to large public and private research universities.  As a relatively new president of a small college, I appreciate having this book at the ready as a small college strategic planning reference and recommend the book in particular for those considering a similar transition from a larger institution to a small college.” —Lori S. White, President, DePauw University

“A mighty collection of keen insights and thoughtful recommendations from colleagues with decades of experience working at small institutions. This book illuminates some of the challenges as well as the many opportunities and rewards of student affairs work in these intimate settings.” —Michael J. Whaley, Vice President for Student Affairs, Wesleyan University

“Small and Mighty is incredibly smart and instructive for anyone interested in the nuances of working in and supporting the efforts of these institutions. It is an important text to help us thrive as we work to build and sustain healthy environments for our students to learn, grow, and become their better selves.” —Karlene A.P. Burrell-McRae, Dean of the Undergraduate College, Bryn Mawr College

“Shining a well-deserved and needed spotlight on the important work of student affairs at small institutions, this group of experienced administrators offers a comprehensive and nuanced view of the differences, challenges, advantages, and rewards of working in these small, relationship-oriented communities. Those without small college experiences stand to gain critical insights, and those who have attended or worked in this setting will recognize and resonate with the useful discussions and examples from these ‘small and mighty’ institutions.” —Laura Dean, Professor of College Student Affairs Administration, University of Georgia

“Small and Mighty is a must-read for any student affairs professional who works at, wants to work at, or wants to understand small colleges and universities. The book truly brings to life the contemporary dynamics, circumstances, opportunities, and challenges for these institutions. Written by experienced and contemporary experts in higher education, this book could easily be considered an instructional guide for understanding small colleges and universities.” —Rob Flot, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Occidental College

“Recognizing both the diversity and similarities among small colleges, the editors have invited a knowledgeable group of scholar-practitioners who adeptly highlight the challenges facing small colleges and provide a wealth of expertise and practical advice for navigating these challenges. This book celebrates the unique work of student affairs professionals at this often-overlooked segment of higher education, providing a valuable resource for those working in and/or considering the vast opportunities available for student affairs professionals at these small and mighty institutions.” —Ann M. Gansemer-Topf, Associate Professor, Iowa State University