Contemporary Issues in Student Personnel
Q.1: Academic success and personal development of students in higher learning environments are dependent on both the quality and efficiency of the curriculum and classroom instructions, on one hand, and the suitability of student development services (student affairs). The levels of success of student development services and general wellbeing of students depend heavily on the effectiveness of collaboration between the staff of student affairs and the institution’s faculty (Cuseo, n.d.).
To improve the collaborative relationship between academic and student affairs for students’ benefits, I would focus on strategies aimed at stimulating and sustaining partnerships between the two, especially in terms of structural and organizational elements. First, I would focus on specific cross-functional areas in which both Academic and Student Affairs overlap (intersection points), capitalizing on them to stimulate dialogue and collaboration in the contexts of education and administration. Examples of these intersection points are the orientation of new students, academic advising (career and personal counseling programs), volunteer, internship, and practicum experiences, and programs in student leadership development (Cuseo, n.d.). These environments offer convenient opportunities to initiate dialogue on issues and programs that affect the interests of students.
Another focus would involve incorporation of courses that can integrate diverse issues in student development with academic learning into the curriculum. These courses would present opportunities to stimulate dialogue and action on the interests of students. Suitable examples would involve a course in the first-year of studies and interdisciplinary courses with orientations towards experience, such as a leadership development course. The creation of structured opportunities centered on current issues in the administration and operations of the institution would represent another opportunity to promote fruitful interactions between Academic and Student Affairs to advance the interests of students (Cuseo, n.d.). Ad hoc committees or task forces would be effective forums to address areas and topics in which both sides have interests, and hence influence benefits for students.
Q.2: The issue in higher education that I consider most critical to understand and address concerns its price. The cost of higher education is a significant issue owing to the high premium that it avails in an individual’s professional capacity and life. Considering that the modern corporate environment is highly competitive and requires progressively advanced levels of skills, higher education has become indispensable in the efforts of individuals to achieve professional success. At individual and community levels, education beyond the secondary school level represents a foundation for social esteem, better-paid employment, expanded options in life, effective stimulation of intellect (and thus excellent decision-making in life), and comfort in the pursuit of all these objectives. This valuation has spurred a high and increasing price of higher education, limiting its availability for a significant portion of the population, especially low-income communities. To make the problem worse, the highest rises in tuition have occurred among public higher learning institutions, in which most students have enrolled (Bergeron & Martin, 2015).
I am interested in potential solutions for the problem of high and rising cost of higher education that are effective and sustainable. I am especially concerned about the effects of high cost in access for students from lower social classes because of the risks of undermining social justice and the ideals of equal opportunity and democracy (Bergeron & Martin, 2015). It is necessary to design a policy in funding higher education to promote the access of education among students from low-income, disempowered, and disadvantaged backgrounds, and in this way foster social justice.
Bergeron, D., & Martin, C. (2015, February 19). College for All: Strengthening our Economy through College for All. Center for American Progress Article. Retrieved from: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/higher-education/report/2015/02/19/105522/strengthening-our-economy-through-college-for-all/
Cuseo, J. (n.d.). The Case for Promoting Partnerships between Academic and Student Affairs. Retrieved from: http://cpe.ky.gov/nr/rdonlyres/fc5065e4-e5a0-4f3f-9b36-fa33fef29929/0/thecaseforpromotingpartnershipsbetween.pdf