By Keith Edwards, Macalester College, Heather Shea Gasser, Michigan State University, and Grant Anderson, University of Minnesota

Last year at the 2013 ACPA Convention in Las Vegas, the three of us debuted a well-received presentation called “Positive Psychology and Student Affairs Leadership” and wrote this post about our session on Keith’s blog. Since then, the themes from the presentation remain present and relevant in each our three lives, so we reprised the session for a second year and delved deeper into seven specific themes. We’ve been talking a lot about how our reading on positive psychology has transformed our student affairs leadership and how we live our lives. Our presentation at ACPA 2014 in Indianapolis allowed us to further develop and fine-tune this presentation.

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I recently received a voicemail literally out of the blue from a former colleague. When I later listened to the message, I learned she was calling to do a reference check for a person she was looking to hire for a position in her department and that I had been listed as one of this person’s references. Here’s the rub: I had no idea this person was job searching nor that I was being listed as one of their references. In fact, I haven’t had contact with this person since I left my previous institution.

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As an undergraduate, I initially experienced the field of student affairs when, after serving as an RA, the housing department promoted me to the position of assistant hall director during my fourth year as an undergraduate at Colorado State University. A simple result of too few master’s-level graduate assistants and too many residence halls, exceptional undergrads were often recruited and promoted from the RA ranks to serve in a supervisory capacity. I was paired with a graduate student hall director in the SAHE (Student Affairs in Higher Education) program and together we ran Allison Hall. Meanwhile, I was double majoring in Fine Arts (Graphic Design) and Business (Marketing) and also seeking a minor in Art History. I was a classic overachieving and overly involved college student. The following year, I was promoted again and became a Hall Director, supervising the staff of the hall where I had lived as a first year honors student five years prior.

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