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9 Principles of Good Practice


Additional Resources

ACCU Senior Student Affairs Officers
Principles Reference List



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Principles Regional Launch Workshops


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Principles of Good Practice

for Student Affairs at Catholic Colleges and Universities

The purpose of these principles is to provide a framework for student affairs professionals at Catholic colleges and universities in their reflection and conversation, staff development, and planning and assessment. These principles are born out of our Catholic tradition and shared across our many and diverse institutions. This guide is a tool to support and assist the transformative work of student affairs practice and can be used to catalyze discussion with a broad array of leaders across Catholic higher education.

Principle Introductory Video

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"A Brief History"

The Principles emerge from highly collaborative efforts over many years. The following is a timeline of the steps taken in the document's creation, implementation, and development.

Developing the Principles Timeline-2005-2016

Downloadable PDF

Re-Imagining the Principles 

In 2019, additional steps began that called for a re-imagining of the Principles and led to the new edition being launched in Summer 2022.

Many thanks to the "Re-Imagining the Principles Writers' Retreat" Participants and all those who have contributed to this newest edition!

Principles and Diagnostic Queries

Each principle is accompanied by five diagnostic queries that may be used for the purpose of formative self-assessment and strategic planning. They are: ACCU member students standing outside

  1. What does this principle mean for me, my functional area, and my institution? 
  2. How do we animate this principle through programs, policies, and practices? 
  3. What evidence do we have to judge the effectiveness of our efforts? 
  4. What does the evidence tell us about our effectiveness? 
  5. What will we do with the information we have gathered about our effectiveness? 

The principles have a normative dimension, describing good practices at all Catholic colleges and universities. It is expected, however, that the principles will be implemented differently depending on the institutional culture that reflects a specific history animated by a distinct charism. 

The Nine Principles of Good Practice

Photo of students on campus courtesy of Neumann University