Many student affairs practitioners passionately support students, but the cost of caring may include compassion fatigue, secondary stress, and burnout. In this interactive session, we will provide an overview of the current student affairs landscape regarding sustainable careers. We then will share the results of a constructivist case study that examined how a program that serves at-promise students contributes to and alleviates compassion fatigue among staff members. Using these foundational materials, we will discuss strategies for creating a culture of community care within student affairs. As a result of this session, attendees will be able to define compassion fatigue, describe how organizations can contribute to or alleviate compassion fatigue, and identify strategies to implement in their student affairs organization to support practitioners affected by the cost of caring.
ACPA/NASPA Professional Competencies
- Advising and Supporting
- Organizational and Human Resources
Genia Bettencourt, University of Memphis
Rosemary Perez, University of Michigan
Rosemary J. Perez (she/her) is an Associate Professor in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan. She earned her B.S. in Biological Sciences with an additional major in Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University and her M.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs at The University of Vermont. Dr. Perez worked in housing and residence life at the University of San Francisco and American University before earning her Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Michigan.
Dr. Perez’s research has three interrelated lines of inquiry and explores: (a) how people make meaning of collegiate experiences; (b) diverse learning environments and intercultural development; and (c) the professional socialization of graduate students and new practitioners. Across projects, she explores the tensions between structure and agency, and how power, privilege, and oppression affect individuals and groups within higher education. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Spencer Foundation, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, and ACPA-College Student Educators International and has published in venues such as Journal of College Student Development, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Journal of Higher Education, and The Review of Higher Education.
Her contributions to higher education and student affairs have been recognized with a 2017-2019 ACPA-College Student Educators International Emerging Scholars Award, the 2021 U-M School of Education Faculty Diversity, Inclusion, Justice, and Equity (dije) Award, the 2019 ISU College of Human Sciences Early Achievement in Teaching Award, and the 2016 ISU Multicultural Student Affairs Faculty/Staff Change Agent Award. She has been engaged in ACPA throughout her career and has served on the CWI Directorate, 2016 Convention Planning Team, and the MMI Faculty (2020-2022).
Genia M. Bettencourt (she/her) is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of Memphis. Previously, she served as a postdoctoral research associate at the Pullias Center for Higher Education at the University of Southern California and the Center for Student Success Research at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Higher Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst; a Master of Science in College Student Services Administration, and; Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, History, and Political Science from the University of California Davis.
Dr. Bettencourt's research focuses on issues of access, equity, and student success in higher education, particularly as focused on issues of social class and classism. Findings from her research have been published in such venues as The Review of Higher Education, The Journal of Higher Education, and the Journal of College Student Development. Her research has been funded by organizations including the Susan T. Buffett Foundation, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, and ACPA Foundation.
A scholar-practitioner, Dr. Bettencourt previously held roles in student affairs across residential life, pre-college programs, and student leadership. She is an active member of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) College Student Educators International, Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), American Educational Research Association (AERA), and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA).