Hello SA Blog readers!
I’m so excited to meet you as a “guest blogger” with this group. I’m new at this blogging thing, but really excited to get involved in this community. Since I’m new here, I figured i’d start by sharing a link that got people really riled up in my office this past week. Check out what US News and World Report has to say about a career as “higher education administrator” for 2009!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that a publication like this would pay attention to our world and do know that job security is better for us than our peers in much of corporate life. But, the review of our field as “unusually pleasant” really does carry some “tone”. Also, if he thinks that competition for student life/student affairs jobs is “less rigorous” has clearly not done his homework. I know the last time we hired someone for our programming position we reviewed nearly 100 resumes, so I think that’s pretty darned “rigorous.”
As a now veteran student activities professional, it is getting more and more clear that we have a problem in our field about articulating what we do. Higher education scholars use this as a call to improve assessment and I completely agree with that as a big need. However, we have to focus on the “everyday audience” as well. All someone from “the outside” can sometimes see is a group of excited students dancing in front of the stage at a concert we have sponsored and obviously can never understand all of the surrounding experiences.
I’m making a few New Year’s resolutions in the name of our profession and hope you’ll have some too:
- Help more people on campus understand the campus programming board and the students behind it. More people need to hear their stories and we need to make them more “high profile” even when it’s not comfortable for them or us. After I finish typing, I’m calling our PR office to talk to them about student stories.
- Be more assertive about the expertise our department holds about students, their experiences, and what makes them tick. People on campus are baffled by this and we are not, so let’s share what we know!
- Figure out better ways to promote our successes on campus to everyone who will listen. Our colleagues in Career Services can do it and do it well…why not us? I know the usual response is that our field is not as tangible in results, but let’s figure out a way to change that.
I’m working on my list this week – what other committments should we make to make campus activities less of a mystery?