Frank Shushok Jr., associate vice president for student affairs and assistant professor of higher education, is on a mission.
Shushok says he wants people to know that higher education is not just a content delivery system – that human experience, growth, and transformation are the heart of education. He wants to show that involvement in a caring community of learning can develop students’ skills and character. He wants to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the realization that significant learning can and does take place outside the classroom.
Since 2009 when he came to Virginia Tech, Shushok has become known for his determination to improve the student experience, his innovative ideas, and his stamina in the pursuit of his goals.
“He is an extraordinary learning-centered leader and has helped to transform our campus with his passion, commitment, and dedication to students as he models what our profession calls us to be – scholar-practitioners,” said Patty Perillo, vice president for student affairs. “He uses scholarship to inform his practice and reads, teaches, learns, writes, reflects, and encourages students, faculty, and staff to do the same. He is a quintessential educator.”
Widely published and a sought-after consultant and presenter, Shushok’s writing and research focus on student learning and engagement; positive psychology and its influence on student growth and development; and reorganizing colleges and universities to ensure that every student belongs to a community of care consisting of faculty, staff, and students.
A relationship builder and staunch advocate of collaboration across disciplines, Shushok has partnered with colleagues throughout the university to enrich students’ lives. Highlights include
- Leading a cadre of colleagues in the creation of the Division of Student Affairs Aspirations for Student Learning, which encourage students to develop habits of interpersonal awareness, intentional actions, and self-reflection;
- Collaborating to transform Ambler Johnston Hall into the residential colleges at Ambler Johnston, which are multigenerational, holistic learning environments with live-in faculty principals;
- Forging new partnerships between academics and student affairs to provide seamless learning and growth;
- Working with faculty to expand opportunities in 16 living-learning communities, in which students live with others who have similar interests;
- Introducing a strengths-based approach, which gives students a better understanding of who they are and the talents can develop; and
- Sharing in the promotion of a culture of learning in which the entire university community plays a role in educating students and shaping their Virginia Tech experiences.
This summer, Shushok takes on a new challenge. The governing board of ACPA-College Student Educators International recently confirmed Shushok as the new executive editor for About Campus, a bimonthly magazine for educators who want to thoughtfully examine the issues, policies, and practices that influence the learning experiences of college students. About Campus is published as a partnership of ACPA and Jossey-Bass/Wiley Publishers.
Being executive editor of About Campus is not just about reviewing articles submitted by colleagues. It is tantamount to being the moderator of a lively discussion, and facilitator of a crucial hub of scholarly exchange in a dynamic field.
Shushok said, “A widely-read forum for all those committed to effective and innovative student learning practices, About Campus is a powerful venue for discourse that translates cutting-edge scholarship into the kind of campus behavior that strengthens the fundamental purpose of our collective work – student learning.”
Shushok said that positive consequences are only realized when there is quick translation from emerging pedagogies to actual policies and practices. “About Campus is the link that encourages the entire higher education enterprise to discover, understand, and advance transformative student learning practices on college and university campuses.”
Gregory Roberts, executive director of ACPA-College Student Educators International, said Shushok’s innovative work at Virginia Tech will inform his perspective as executive editor of About Campus. “Frank's experience both as a scholar and practitioner makes him the ideal candidate to lead the publication for the next generation,” said Roberts. “We are excited to add Dr. Shushok's name to the list of talented executive editors who have served the association and the profession for nearly 20 years."
“It’s an unbelievable honor to stand on the shoulders of the four previous executive editors of About Campus,” said Shushok. “In my view, Charles Schroeder, Patricia King, Marcia Baxter-Magolda, and Jean Henscheid are giants in this work of advancing student learning. I plan to ensure the dialogue remains robust, forward-thinking, and creative in concert with a future that will necessitate our best collective efforts and ideas.”
“Frank has enormous capacity and phenomenal gifts which should not be contained to just our campus,” said Perillo. “Our profession deserves to benefit from his intellect, innovative thinking, and profound understanding of what it means to be an educator. I am grateful his strengths will be offered to enhance educators around the world. Our profession will be better because of him.”