What is the Future of Student Affairs? #futureofsa

I  wonder from time to time what student affairs would be like a few years from now. I have never really put too much time into it, but I think to myself, wouldn’t it be nice to have discussions about the future of student affairs with others who are just as curious as I am? I’m hoping there’s enough interest by those who happen to read this blog post to have continuing discussions about this topic.  Here are some questions I’ve been thinking about:

  • What factors are shaping the future of student affairs?
  • Who are the scholars, researchers, practitioners already having these discussions?
  • As  a profession, how is student affairs evolving as a whole? How about the different functional areas?
  • Given the technological advancements, budgetary constraints, and other factors, how does a student affairs workplace look like in the near future?
  • What skill sets will be required for future student affairs professionals?
  • What are the educational requirements to be in the field?
  • What identity theories will emerge and/or how will existing identity theories evolve to reflect this digital age?
  • How will management/leadership evolve?
  • What issues will student affairs need to address? For example, there seems to be this movement towards online education and so how do we provide student services for students who may never physically step foot on campus? How about the changing demographics (international students, veterans)?
  • As we accumulate data given our move towards paperless business processes, how do we make sense of these data we collect?
  • How will the relationship between student affairs and academic affairs evolve?
  • Are there generational issues in the workplace? If so, how do we address them?

If you have some thoughts/answers to the questions above, I’d love to hear them. What else can you add?  Would you be interested in having discussions around the #futureofsa?


6 thoughts on “What is the Future of Student Affairs? #futureofsa

      1. Kevin R. Guidry

        Sorry; I obviously didn’t check before I posted the link. I think I still have two of the papers – social media and 21st century relevance – on my tablet if you’d like copies.

  1. Jeff Pignataro

    Although I am still a bit new to SA, I feel like I already have a solid grasp as to the directions that SA is headed (at least in my micro-universe). I’d like to hit on a couple of the points you mentioned in you post:

    What factors are shaping the future of student affairs?
    It often seems, to me, that the number one thing that drives SA and it’s decision making is budgetary concerns. Perhaps this is the current atmosphere and condition we are in. And simply a phase that we will pass thought. Perhaps this is just reality. All private sector businesses are driven by their budget – why not public sector the same way.

    It just often feels like decisions are not designed around what the Students want/need, but instead what a department can afford to do at any given point in time. Really that argument goes both ways, sometimes there are things students would benefit from that just are not possible for economic reasons or there are things that are unnecessary and extraneous that minimally benefit students but because there is funds for them they need to be done.

    This can be both a negative and a positive. The negatives are quite obvious, but the positives are a little harder to find. Often times if budget isn’t a major concern then concepts and design ideas are thrown out the window. “Does it matter how huge it gets? We have unlimited funds to do it!” Therefore it’s very important to keep budget in mind in all projects so as to control the scope of a given project. But it’s equally important to not allow budget to be the entire focus of a project.

    What skill sets will be required for future student affairs professionals?
    What are the educational requirements to be in the field?
    These two really go hand in hand. Many of the skills sets require for SA are somewhat obvious and are already being pushed for in the private sector. In the IT world front-end design – a concept that was simply dismissed as “the designer’s job” – is quickly becoming a complete skill set that is a requirement for many development positions.

    Computer knowledge has been an obvious skill that has been pretty much required for many years. Although, now the focus is more specific – individuals will begin to show their social networking experience. Their ability to create social circles that are active and generate conversation/connection between users will show an innate understanding of the internet world that we live in today.

    Are there generational issues in the workplace? If so, how do we address them?
    Generational issues are a natural and unavoidable reality in any workplace. Although, in the public sector it seems that people tend to stay in their give positions (or at least departments) much longer.

    This creates an interesting dynamic in which the people at the top of the “corporate ladder” have often been in the department or division for many, many years. This drives an attitude of, “That’s how we have always done it.” People spend ten or fifteen years doing their tasks one way. When they reach the higher positions in the division they expect the people below them to do things as they had.

    In some cases, this can stymie ingenuity and cause things to be “stuck-in-a-rut”. It often takes divisional leader with the understanding that change is ok. Change is beneficial. Changing the way that you do things can actually improve many aspects of the workplace. Often times you can improve budget concerns and allow for people to show their skills that otherwise might be lost in the mix.

    All in all, the future of SA seems very positive and feels like it is headed in a direction of advancement and progress.

  2. Pingback: Blogging as Part of Identity Development/Exploration | Joe Sabado - Student Affairs & Technology LeadershipJoe Sabado - Student Affairs & Technology Leadership

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