Pages:6 (1910 words)
Document Type:Case Study
One of the primary goals of every educational institution is to ensure a positive development in the lives, mentality, and intellectual capacity of its students. This goes beyond just academic rigour and extends to the incorporation of extra-curricular activities, infrastructure, and other such elements that foster a conducive, friendly, and supportive environment for an excellent learning experience (Commodore, Gasman, Conrad, & Nguyen, 2018. pp.1-2). While the academic affairs unit of an educational institution is responsible for the design and execution of curricular activities, the student affairs units have a better idea of the most effective extra-curricular activities and programmes that can enhance the learning experience of students: student affairs units usually consist of student development professionals, and they also work with organizations focused around that goal (Terri, 2013, p. 139). Considering the impact of these two units and their individual responsibilities, as regards the student learning and development experience in an academic institution, it is imperative for “them” to have an effective collaboration across all facets of academic planning, activity suggestions, and the overall educational experience (Blake, 2017, p.65).
This paper examines a few examples of such collaborations with a focus on two areas: support for a “learning-living environment”, and addressing problems related to poor personal or behavioural problems (e.g. suicide) which impair academic performance. Also, a practical example of an approach to bridge the commonly emphasized gap between academic and student lives/goals on campus is presented.
Collaboration between various parts of an institution is usually influenced by the level of bureaucracy, as well as the degree of autonomy of each unit within it. Considering the high segmentation within academic institutions, its is quite common to find units working independently of each other. While this is an intentional design, which achieves the goal of decentralization of resource values and access points for all stakeholders of the institution—especially for the students, the goal of the student affairs unit within an educational institution is better achieved, informed, and reinforced by a direct and strong collaboration with the academic affairs and planning unit (Terri, 2013, p. 144). An example of the positive influence of such a collaboration is seen in the case study described by Blake (2017, p.66-68). Another case study of a Midwestern university business school is described by Terri (2013, pp. 141-143). In that case study, the university faculty decided to integrate the student affairs unit in its study abroad programme for students. This was motivated partly due to the overwhelmed academic staff, who felt incompetent at handling the emotional and extra-curricular needs of the students during the programme. Through the experienced contributions and activity suggestions of the student affairs unit, the students were able to experience a seamless learning environment, which included activities on group formation and cohesion. Also, the student affairs unit helped to mitigate the common risks associated with study abroad programmes. They educated the students on applying risk-assessment methods to their interactions within the foreign environment, and they also acted as first responders to crises or emergencies of the students. Overall, the faculty had a positive feedback about the collaboration—especially as regards the efforts and activities of the student affairs unit—and were interested in such collaborations for future activities.
Having considered general examples of the positive influence of student affairs and academic affairs collaboration, we switch to a more streamlined focus—in line with the aim…
…dean’s office supported the financial involvements of the coalition across its activities: seminars, courses, symposiums, etc.
· In the case of learning-living environments, the faculty should have an overwatch of the programme. In this supervisory role, the faculty can integrate academic involvements in the LLCs, as done in the University of South Florida. The collaboration or coalition design should have an aim that is consistent with the vision and mission of the institutions.
· As in the case study described by Terri (2013), graduate students can easily be integrated into the student affairs programme as faculty staff. When dealing with issues concerning the undergraduate students, graduate students have first-hand and recent experiences of these same issues and can better inform of the solutions or consequences of inaction. Furthermore, their engagement in such activities helps the professional development of such graduate students, while absolving busy faculty staff of the extra work. Things like planning and executing study abroad programmes, advising study options, and other extra-curricular activities that enhance overall student experience.
This paper has considered various cases of collaborations and coalition between faculty staff/academic unit of educational institutions and the student affairs division of the same institution (and external ones). The positive outcomes of these studies further reinforce this paper’s original stand on the necessity for this partnership. The focus of these programmes is on the student’s experience within these institutions, and it is highly contingent on the degree of integration between these two independent units. Bridging the student academic-social life gap has been found to foster improved retention rates of students in their programmes, increase graduation rates, and offer the students more than a learning environment. It is expected…
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