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Higher ed alumni publish textbooks on fraternities and sororities

Higher Ed Alumni Publish Textbooks on Fraternities and Sororities

New textbooks produced by two University of Rochester Warner School of Education alumni will give higher education practitioners and scholars insights into fraternity and sorority issues on college/university campuses across the country.
The two books Supporting Fraternities and Sororities in the Contemporary Era and Foundations, Research, and Assessment of Fraternities and Sororities were coedited by two Warner alumni, Pietro Sasso ‘08W (MS), an assistant professor and program director of College Student Personnel Administration at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and Mónica Lee Miranda ‘20W (PhD), director of the Center for Student Involvement at the University of South Florida in Tampa, along with J. Patrick Biddix, a professor of higher education and associate director of the Postsecondary Education Research Center (PERC) at the University of Tennessee. 
Both books were published by Myers Education Press in January 2020 as part of a new book series, Culture and Society in Higher Education, that analyzes the role of higher education as an incubator, transmitter, and transformer of culture. While examining the larger social, economic, and political connections that shape the academy, the series aims to revivify U.S. colleges and universities and to re-explore their core purposes.
In the book’s preface, Sasso said he first conceived of writing Supporting Fraternities and Sororities in the Contemporary Era when he was a master’s student at the Warner School. Several years later, the book was further inspired by sustained and reoccurring professional conversations and scholarship that have suggested that not just change is necessary, but that a fundamental shift is necessary to help reconstruct the meaning of the fraternity/sorority experience. The coeditors curated work from scholars and noteworthy practitioners from across the field of higher education to provide a book that reflects the complexity and expansiveness by addressing diversity, programming, and support approaches. The book begins with the understanding that issues will continuously exist, requiring a greater nuanced depth of appreciation to reduce their negative impact. It also summarizes national organizations from authentic, represented voices. Chapters take a look at solutions to support the fraternity and sorority experience, providing strategies and emerging explanations for the issues described throughout the volume. 
The book is geared toward strengthening readers’ understandings of fraternities and sororities so that they can make more informed decisions about the future of these institutions. “Among the chief intentions of this book is to demonstrate how all such groups can exist with a greater sense of purpose—one benefiting colleges and universities that truly seek to shape lives that matter,” explain the coeditors. “With that aspiration in mind, higher education professionals should strive to assist in the integration of fraternity and sorority experience with student development and student success. An integration of intellectual and social life should be the ultimate aim.”
The cover of Foundations, Research, and Assessment of Fraternities and Sororities showcases a row of fraternity/sorority houses on the University of Rochester’s River Campus. This book was inspired by continuing conversations about the enduring challenges facing fraternities and sororities on campuses across the country. The coeditors curated contributions from higher education scholars and noteworthy practitioners to examine a variety of issues relating to the past and future construct of these institutions. The book commences with a historical section that provides a perspective on the origins of fraternities and sororities. Other sections focus on areas such as values, legal issues, and research. Values are described regarding the values congruence movement and acknowledging emerging areas of the individual fraternity and sorority experience. Legal issues include freedom of speech, hazing law, and risk management. Additional profiles of large, national benchmark surveys are included, and the book concludes with a final overview of the state of fraternity/sorority scholarship.
This volume will appeal to both practitioners and scholars. “We hope this volume can advance research and assessment efforts, as contextualized by the importance of foundations, to enhance evidence-based practice,” the coeditors note.
After graduating with his master’s in higher education from Warner, Sasso earned a PhD in education from Darden College of Education, Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. His master’s thesis at Warner was titled, “From Administrator to Educator: Facilitating Student Learning in Greek Affairs Practice.” A higher education practitioner turned faculty member, Sasso has over a decade of professional and teaching experience in postsecondary education. As an administrator, his diverse experience has spanned across several educational administrative functional areas. As a scholar, he has written and coedited seven texts, authored over 35 scholarly publications, and facilitated over 30 national and regional presentations.
“My experience at the Warner School allowed me to explore the fraternity/sorority experience in which my master’s thesis and internships positioned me to reimagine how this student involvement opportunity can better develop our undergraduate student leaders,” says Sasso. “These were complemented by the program faculty who inspired my thinking and challenged my assumptions drawn from their own professional experiences and scholarships directly related to fraternities and sororities.”
Miranda successfully defended her dissertation, titled “Nuestras Voces: A Qualitative Exploration of the Experiences of Undergraduate Latinas in Latina Sororities,” in 2019 and graduates this year with her doctorate in higher education. In addition to her work at the University of South Florida, Miranda is also an independent educational consultant and speaker who facilitates a number of leadership development programs and interactive workshops as an independent contractor for various speaking and consulting agencies. She previously served as the director of fraternity and sorority affairs at the University of Rochester from 1999 to 2013.
“My 14 years as a former administrator at the University of Rochester, and now a former PhD student at the Warner School, set a solid foundation for my work as a practitioner, and research as a scholar, in higher education and, more specifically, in the field of fraternity and sorority life,” Miranda says. “I am grateful that a chance meeting with Pietro during our shared time at Warner led us to collaborate in this way years after we left Rochester and contribute to the advancement of, and knowledge in, this critical aspect of the student experience.”
The Warner School serves aspiring and advancing higher educational professionals and researchers in areas such as access and equity, student affairs, administration, academic and career counseling, and leadership. Learn more about the master’s programs and doctoral programs in higher education offered at the Warner School.