Student Affairs Professionals
What, in your view, should the purpose of higher education entail?
Degree-granting institutes are expected to make sure that college-goers develop both generic dispositions (e.g., beliefs, attitudes, curiosity, etc.) and skills (communication, oral, written, compassion, tolerance, etc.), and discipline-specific abilities (e.g., knowledge, skills, attribute, responsibility, etc.) on completing their college degree. Existing research indicates that receiving higher education doesn’t only entail acquiring discipline-specific education or applied competences. Rather, affective and socio-emotional skills (non-cognitive factors), which make a graduate an effective citizen, also constitute valuable outcomes for career readiness and college success (Chan, Brown, Ludlow, & Noguera, 2015).
I believe that higher education’s chief purpose is, and ought to be, the development of prepared young minds. Higher education, specifically, and education, in general, have numerous purposes, of which one among the most crucial is promotion of citizenship. By surveying the present-day political scene, I feel that the presence of good and dutiful citizens who understand, care, and are capable of ferreting out truth is becoming increasingly important. This objective needs to be broached first when discussing higher education’s purposes. Another aim of higher education is preparing individuals to become good humans, good family members, and the sort of spouses and parents we should be, for the benefit of our families as well as the overall community. Yet another purpose of higher education involves imparting world-competitive knowledge and skills to individuals. One reason for my relentless interest in the field of education is my drive to aid individuals in securing good jobs. The mere securing of a job doesn’t suffice; it must be good, i.e., it should pay well, thereby, enabling individuals to provide for family members adequately (The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, 1998).
According to Steven Schwartz (2003), university education’s goal is helping create a more just and fair society.
University education may have significant indirect impacts. Universities offer public services, such as counseling, drama and music performances, art exhibitions, consultation on private and public affairs, and social, medical, and scientific research. University students understand public service’s significance through the example set by their respective universities. Via interaction with peers and academics, students get familiarized with concepts, such as responsible citizenship, the constitutional freedom of expressing oneself, and tolerance. These values are transmitted by graduates to individuals who haven’t attended university. Social mobility is another element relating to higher education. Higher education that can be availed of by students hailing from different backgrounds will become a tool for advancement toward egalitarian goals. While an increasing number of women and individuals belonging to minority groups have enrolled in universities of late, the goal of social equity is still an elusive one. The nation’s government is aiming for a growth in the share of individuals receiving higher education. However, according to some academics, this goal will lead to lowering of educational standards. Meanwhile others are of the view that the university selectivity seen today favors social elites (Schwartz, 2003).
The goal of higher education should be to create and maintain a pool of learners as well as a market of ideas. In other words, senior officers and institutional heads should ensure a reconnection of undergraduates equipped with generic and discipline-specific skills and knowledge to the contemporary labor market, while providing explicit statements of required learning outcomes, which promote democratic vitality and economic competitiveness. Concurrently, faculty members should mentor college pupils not only academically, but professionally as well, by outlining college degree profiles best suited to careerist and individualistic motivations. In addition, campus leaders and senior administrators ought to aid faculty members in developing curricula, programs, and experiences resulting in the inculcation of demonstrable abilities in students, consistent with widely prized domains of 21st century skills and knowledge (Chan, Brown, Ludlow, & Noguera, 2015).
What are the characteristics that ought to be exhibited by students?
An ideal pupil is not necessarily one who is smartest in the classroom. While being smart is clearly helpful, being the smartest is not essential. Rather, one may define an ideal student as one who maintains intellectual curiosity in sufficient quantities. Such a pupil is keen on understanding the reason for phenomena occurring around him/her, the relationships that exist across antecedents or variables, and more efficient ways of doing things. Furthermore, an ideal student learns to identify as well understand answers obtained. The word “study” in this context denotes the involvement in behaviors, which provide valuable information, and may be assimilated to form answers. Such students may display an interest in successful career development, and might aspire to earn considerable salaries; however, their chief aspiration is not becoming rich, but learning and understanding.
The ideal student can effectively interact with other individuals. Pupils who cannot work in a team and are loners (for various reasons, including laziness, shyness, and arrogance) as well as indifference towards other people typically generating lower value than that consumed by them. Such pupils enjoy their interactions with other people and leverage these interactions into meaningful partnerships. They might or might not explicitly realize it, but they are, in fact, celebrating the idea that multiple combinations of individuals can achieve things that cannot be achieved by individuals alone. EQ-related (Emotional quotient-related) information is being utilized by a few business schools for screening students. This highlights the importance of people’s emotional intelligence. However, selection on the sole criterion of EQ doesn’t mean that the need for training pupils to advance their EQ diminishes in any manner; by EQ advancement throughout college/university, these skills of pupils become even stronger when graduating. An ideal pupil has effective communication skills. Painting exquisite pictures or using the finest of vocabulary is not important — rather, graduates should be capable of explaining the meaning underlying these images and words. The ability of being simple, clear, and precise is a key talent. I recall being told once, by my presentation coach, that I had an awful voice, and hence, the challenging task was using it to maximum possible effectiveness.
An ideal student takes responsibility for his/her actions (or inaction) and takes care never to make excuses. This quality is not only appreciated and rewarded by professors, but by spouses, superiors, and other individuals one encounters in one’s personal and professional life, as well. In my view, such behavior is an indication of straightforwardness, while the reaction of others towards it represents a positive acknowledgment that a majority of individuals do not possess this characteristic. A person who is truthful will more likely be able to handle honest feedback and utilize it to bring about personal improvements. Ultimately, an ideal student, akin to an ideal individual, is somebody who concentrates on ensuring that other individuals are better off and, in the process, usually gain success him/herself. Ideal students usually earn good reputations and are trusted by others. Lastly, as we are aware that such positive behavior is not the norm, but the exception, individuals practicing it are valued even more (Delaney, 2013).
Motivation results from an interaction between conscious as well as unconscious influences like the goal’s incentive or reward value, level of desire or need, and lastly, peer and personal expectations. It is, primarily, due to these influences that people exhibit certain behaviors. Internal and external factors contribute to kindling desire and energy in a person to commit him/herself to a given job, subject, or role, or even accomplish an objective (Ganta, 2014). For being successful, students have to be appropriately motivated to attain goals. I have constantly felt that perseverance and motivation are critical to attaining success, and have valued these traits among pupils. Although, certainly, quite a great deal has been said about the aforementioned traits, they are vital for one very plain reason. When things go well, all is easy. An individual’s true character comes to the surface in the face of adversity. An individual’s responses in bad times (i.e., in times of challenges and crises) indicates what his/her value will be in the classroom or at the workplace. Individuals driven to stand back up after a fall, and who are determined in their attempts, and refuse to give up, will likely achieve success. Working towards success is an ideal pupil’s trait, which will be widely appreciated. Individuals possessing this trait will be appreciated irrespective of their race, background, age, or religion.
How should student affairs professionals support the strengthening/development of these characteristics in these students? How should the institution support these characteristics in these students?
There are two methods to do so;
Collaborate with faculty in aiding them to accomplish their established objectives for pupils’ learning; and Demonstrate how planned learning activities external to the classroom influence overall success of pupils.
One strategy necessitates faculty cooperation. For achieving this cooperation, student affairs professionals need to demonstrate evidence of credibility and efficiency as a coworker. Accomplishing this will facilitate collaborative planning, which will better aid faculty in accomplishing their student learning aims. The concept of a collaborative relationship between student affairs and academics has remained the focus…