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Capstone in Student Affairs

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Summary: The capstone course is like the summary of all other courses in the Student Affairs in Higher Education. In this course, we revisited our learning in the past and got the chance to prepare for our job finding process. We have also discussed some practical situations in student affairs profession and learned through playing the role of different administrator position, which was a great learning opportunity.

Reflection

            The mock interview process in the capstone course was a great experience for me. I experienced a real life interview through the mock interview process and got the chance to be interviewed by the professionals working in functional areas I am planning to apply for. I learned that I use examples and evidence to the statements, which is positive in presenting myself. But, at the same time, I explain too much so that the interviewer or I could lose the track of the main question. Therefore, I should give straight answer and one evidence for each answer. Though my resume seems strong by the interviewers, they suggested me to customize the resume based on the job advertisement. For example, at some point, I mentioned about my experience in managing “emergency situations”; whereas the employer asked for “crisis management experience”. Both are the same thing, but using same words as the employer used could be more useful. I also learned that focusing on the types of institutions is also necessary in addition to the job type. For example, if I apply for a job in a Christian belief based, I would not be able to get in the successfully.

            According to Perrow (1972) University is a complex organization where different people work differently to achieve a common objective. The differences in perspectives of different people may create issues in decision making process. In that case, politics is the way of influence decision-making (Khati, 2004).  Politics is a process of doing networking and influencing a decision through the power of networking (Zeiger, n.d.). In addition to networking there are few other factors which would help the student affairs professionals to play politics in managing situations. For example, developing ethical standard of the staff and putting some controlling factors would help the administrators to manage the behavioral and ethical issues in higher education. Regarding spreading rumor in social media anonymously is not an easy case to manage, as the person is not visible here. At the same time, even if the staff is detectable, taking action would be complicated for the freedom of speech related first amendment on the constitution. Helping the staff to develop their ethical standard is more feasible option.

            Additionally, we did a poster presentation on crucial issues in higher education. I proposed a unique accreditation system for all the universities in the world. This system would solve the accreditation issues, and would give the students opportunity to avoid hassles with their degree verification by third party credential assessment system. This is also good opportunity to mobilize the internationalizing of higher education. La Belle (2015) criticized the US accreditation system, as this system only accredits US universities, not foreign universities in the United States. The internationalization is being dominated by developed countries because of the accreditation process. This model would solve the problem with discrimination and dominance of developed countries on the education market. I consider this model as an innovative solution for the  higher education system.

            Subsequently, we had to designed plan for solving the financial problems of an institution and also had to prepare a strategic plan for the diversity plan of another university. For both assignments, we needed to do thorough literature review and informational interview to collect qualitative data. Therefore, our skill in research has been improved. As we worked for these projects in teams, we also got chance to learn about team dynamics and helped each other based on our skill and strength.

            Finally, this course gave me many new ideas, that I never discovered in my first year. For example, we had to meet Foster Care Service staff to get the idea about the “service”. I never had an idea about this kind of service. I learned about this volunteered managed service, which is surviving without any university help, and by only utilizing gift money. I also came to know about the nontraditional community in the campus and their survival strategy, which reminded me again about the diverse community on the campus and their diverse needs.

            Overall, this course was a combination of many different issues, but addressed the professional development issue only and enabled me to learn about the issues and innovative ways to solve the problems.

References

Khati, R. D. (2004). Political influence: a culture in University decision-making. Tribhuvan

            University Journal, 24(1), 21-30.

La Belle, T. (2015). US higher education: Long reach abroad with tight borders at home. International Higher Education, (33).

Perrow, C. (1972). Complex organizations. Retrieved from:             http://garfield.library.upenn.edu/classics1981/A1981LH21200001.pdf

Zeiger, S. (n.d). The Impact of Power and Politics in Organizational Productivity. Retrieved         from: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/impact-power-politics-organizational-productivity-

            35942.html

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