• Reimagining the Student Experience: Formative Practices for Changing Times
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Reimagining the Student Experience: Formative Practices for Changing Times

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By Brian Jensen and Sarah Visser

Understand the times. Respond faithfully.

Higher education stands at a crossroads. However, there is a way forward that recognizes our current realities while also embracing the possibilities of what higher education could and should be. In this volume, Jensen and Visser have brought together a collaboration of diverse voices from among those devoted to the endeavor of Christian higher education—voices that enrich the conversation surrounding the lives of current and future students. Offering a professional, robust vision of human flourishing, Reimagining the Student Experience invites educators, administrators, chaplains, and university professionals to think deeply and faithfully about their journey with students, from their arrival on campus to their pursuit of faithful living.

Foreword by David S. Guthrie

Brian Jensen is an executive search consultant at Vanderbloemen with fifteen years of experience in Christian higher education, including roles in residence life, student leadership development, and executive leadership. In addition to consulting with churches, nonprofits, and higher education institutions, Jensen speaks at colleges and conferences on topics regarding leadership development, student retention management, and educational leadership, and he is the coauthor of Storied Leadership: Living and Leading from the Christian Narrative.

Sarah Visser serves as the vice president for student life at Calvin College. She has spent fifteen years working in higher education institutions, serving in both faculty and administrative roles. Prior to her current role, Visser served as the chair of the Department of Leadership and Organizational Psychology at Azusa Pacific University, where she taught undergraduate and graduate students and worked as a professional in the area of student affairs. Visser is also a contributing author to Diversity Matters: Race, Ethnicity, and the Future of Christian Higher Education.

“Jensen and Visser bring together a powerful message that addresses important trends in Christian higher education. This book is a rich, insightful exploration of current issues facing the upcoming generation of students that also provides practical, tangible resources for faculty, staff, and administrators serving for the glory of God in Christian higher education. Reimagining the Student Experience is an essential read and a reminder of the kingdom work we engage in daily.”

—Shirley V. Hoogstra, President of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities

“Jensen and Visser have assembled scholar-practitioners who skillfully invite us to dive deeply into the current dialogue in higher education. The chapters are brimming with relevant questions and challenges for this generation of campus leaders. Student development professionals who are committed to a Christian posture will be served well by immersing themselves in these sometimes uncomfortable yet critically important conversations.”

—Stephen T. Beers, Vice President for Student Development, John Brown University

“Jensen and Visser clearly understand the issues facing twenty-first century higher education practitioners. Equally clear and perhaps even more compelling, they understand the heart of higher education—its truest nature and its truest possibilities. This volume will not only help educators practice their craft more effectively but will dare them to think more deeply about the formational nature and potential of their work. Reimagining the Student Experience is a treasure that will bless many, both those who work with students and the students themselves.”

—Tim Herrmann, Director of the MA in Higher Education and Student Development Program, Taylor University, and coeditor of A Calling to Care

“At a time when our nation is deeply divided and change is the norm, faith-based higher education must embrace the purpose and promise of preparing servant leaders who will exemplify knowledge, wisdom, empathy, and compassion. However, this calling can only be fulfilled if educators unite in their efforts to reimagine the student experience as a holistic endeavor. Jensen and Visser have edited an engaging, persuasive volume that will surely inspire a new generation of student affairs professionals.”

—Kim S. Phipps, President, Messiah College

Reimagining the Student Experience takes on the most difficult questions—both old and new—that challenge educators who are committed to guiding students in the twenty-first century. The authors of each chapter address the historical context and current thinking on each topic, as well as thoughtful discussion questions, a meditative blessing, and a host of additional resources. This volume is an ideal resource for both veterans and new arrivals to the challenging privilege of helping young people set the trajectory of their lives.”

—Shirley A. Mullen, President, Houghton College

“Building upon the foundation laid by David Guthrie, Jensen and Visser have tapped an impressive array of scholar-practitioners to address real-world issues that are directly relevant to Christian higher education today: diversity and inclusion, human sexuality, individual and institutional wellness, service-learning, and guiding students in discerning their calling, to name just a few. The oft-referenced need to balance challenge and support is modeled in every chapter as scholarly insights are coupled with calls to action.” 

—Karen A. Longman, Professor and Program Director of the PhD in Higher Education, Azusa Pacific University, and editor of Thriving in Leadership and Diversity Matters

“Christian faculty and administrators desperately need mature Christian writing that provides the best wisdom about student affairs practice. This wonderful volume delivers it, offering deep yet practical insight into how Christianity shapes and transforms the work of student affairs professionals. The authors remind readers that navigating current realities requires a corporate and personal immersion in Christian thought, virtues, and practices, sustained by the Holy Spirit.”

—Perry L. Glanzer, Professor of Educational Foundations, Baylor University

“As a faculty member, I am constantly searching for books that are timely and practical for my graduate students pursuing careers in higher education. This important work is seminal in helping current and future educators consider Christ-centered approaches to understanding, challenging, and supporting their students. By providing thoughtful, relevant practices, Reimagining the Student Experience advances the aims of higher education in a significant way.”

—Dottie Weigel, Assistant Professor and Program Director of Higher Education, Messiah College

“This book offers a beautiful theological framework for the daily work of student formation. Each chapter, written with insight and compassion, outlines both contemporary examples of and practical next steps for integrating faith, living, and learning in the student experience. Incorporating the themes of this book into the ongoing work of a university will provide a seamless, forward-thinking, hopeful, and Christ-centered approach to the modern challenges and opportunities facing today’s professionals.”

—Kimberly C. Thornbury, Vice President, The King’s College

Reimagining the Student Experience is thought-provoking in its winsomely written exposition of contemporary issues facing Christian higher education. This thorough compilation takes us on a hope-instilling journey to fresh perspectives, interpersonal vigor, and a renewed sense of cocurricular duty and vision.”

—Toussaint D. Whetstone, Director of the Wheaton College Counseling Center

“Through the lenses of diverse Christian educators, leaders, and practitioners, Reimagining the Student Experience offers timely and relevant insights into some of the most pressing issues in student affairs today. This book fosters hope, creative new strategies, and fresh perspectives for Christian higher education.”

—Dr. Kris Hansen-Kieffer, Vice Provost for Student Success and Engagement, Messiah College

ISBN 9781684262809

Pages 192

Dimensions (inches) 

Weight (pounds) .5


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