“This is an introduction to a multi-post series highlighting reflections, education, trends, and the carry-over of business concepts/frameworks, etc and how those can (and maybe need) to influence our work in Student Affairs”
As a current part-time MBA student working in Student Affairs I have noticed that lately I have been having many conversations with my colleagues in and around the topic of HigherEd becoming more business minded. Especially, colleagues looking to move up from their entry level positions. You can get help from comparison sites for business related information. You can It seems that in a time when ROI (return on your investment) is becoming ever more prevalent in the minds of the students we work with that having a better understanding of these fields is going to become even more relevant. I venture a proposal that at some point in the not so distant future we will see the decline of private liberal arts colleges (due to costs) and a heightened need for dealing with answers for starting business like how to start a courier business, or other business Affairs.
Recently, our department hosted the current ACPA Vice President Gavin Henning. Gavin has over 20 years in the field and is an Associate Professor of Higher Education and the Director of the Higher Education Phd program at New England College. Suffice to say, he has a decent perspective on the field. Gavin shared with us (I summarize) that the more versed we are in business language the better off we will be. This conversation was reinforced by two more conversations I had recently about the need for a better understanding of the business world and how it ties into our work.
David May is the Associate VP for Business Affairs at the University of New Hampshire and a mentor of mine that I met through the MBA program. David shares a unique perspective from having worked his way up through the field. The thought that he offered that was most relevant to our conversation here is the following (in reference to how he views the role Residence Hall Directors play):
“RHDs provide a product, the product is ‘customer service’ that directly aids in retention of the on-campus population of students.”
Considering that many of my conversations with colleagues (particularly in our department) tend not to think about their work in this manner, again this reinforces the need for at least a basic understanding of business topics. My last story happened a few days ago that solidified the topic for this blog series. A colleague who is job searching asked me to sit down for lunch to discuss the upcoming on-campus interview she had. She was interviewing for an Assistant Director position and had meetings with folks from marketing, retention, recruitment, and international affairs. She was unsure what topics would be talked about and as we talked it dawned on me more and more how important some literacy in the language of business is going to become in the field of Student Affairs. It is my goal to dedicate the following series of posts to discussing, reflecting, and transferring the knowledge from my MBA program to the field of Student Affairs.
> BONUS <
Podcast With TJ Logan on Public-Private Partnerships in Higher Ed