When reflecting upon the value of student services, there are many things that need to be taken into account. One is that the student body is diverse, and is more diverse now than perhaps at any time in the history of higher education …
When reflecting upon the value of student services, there are many things that need to be taken into account. One is that the student body is diverse, and is more diverse now than perhaps at any time in the history of higher education Included in this diversity are LGBT students (Komives & Woodward, 2003). Additionally, there are many ethical and legal foundations that must be considered (Hamilton, 2002). Civil Rights laws and affirmative action are the legal aspects that must be considered (Sandeen & Barr, 2006). Diversity is a staple on campus, as there are many ethnicities and first generation students, as well as disabled students and LGBT students (American College Personnel Association, 2006). Also, as a student professional, I must be concerned with the theory of what guides the profession. There are many learning and development theories, and theories of organization. The guiding organizational theory is one that is considered to be collegial, which means that faculty and staff have autonomy, and may participate in decision-making and governance through committee work and hiring (Komives et al., 2003). Along the same vein is the theory of leadership that states that collaborative leadership, in which everybody in the community is involved in decision-making, is best (Love & Estanek, 2004). Financial aid is becoming more important to students, as there is increasingly a lack of funding combined with higher tuitions. Other challenges include the fact that technology has increased, which means that e-mail and chat has replaced face to face interaction in many cases. As a student services professional, I must focus upon not just teaching and training, but also advising. Student professionals must be able to understand the problems of the student body, and be able to craft an acceptable solution to these issues. Interpersonal and problem solving skills are essential when advising students, as well as having a thorough understanding of developmental and learning theories. Conflict resolution and community building are other skill sets which are necessary for student services personnel. To this end, in my role as a student services personnel, I know that I will have to wear multiple hats, while being a part of a collaborative team. The collaboration of the team will be crucial in solving problems which might crop up with our student body. I must not only know all the details about financial aid packages, and be able to advise the students accordingly, but I also must be able to resolve conflicts between students and the faculty, other students or organizations. One of the ways to resolve these conflicts is through mediation, so I must be familiar with the mediation process and be able to listen to both sides and use my mediation skills to help the opposing parties come to some type of acceptable agreement between them. Cognitive and learning theories will come in handy when advising students about the course that they should take to reach their goals outside of college. Some of cognitive theories are that of Piaget. Piaget discovered that there are ways that people think, reason and make meaning from experiences (Komives, 2003). What this means to me is that there must be challenges for the students – they should always be subjected to new and different stimuli, and should be encouraged to seek out ideological positions which are different from what they currently have. This might mean that I will encourage the students to try different coursework that might develop their ideologies, or coursework that would help them look at subjects in ...
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