Wednesday, March 27, 2013

HESA 101

When I tell people what I do and what I'm going to graduate school for, I usually get a weird look and some confused questions in response.

Everyone: "Resident Director?"
Me: "Yeah, I supervise the students in a res-"
Everyone: "Higher Education? Student Affairs?"
Me: "Yeah, I want to work full-time at a uni-"
Me: ...*bursts into tears*

I find that this is a pretty common occurrence among my Higher Ed colleagues. (I mean, besides the whole bursting into tears thing.) It seems that unless you're actually a part of it, the Higher Ed field is a completely foreign concept. So, in order to further explain it to those who have no idea what my professional goals are in life, here's an introductory break down of the Higher Education and Student Affairs field.

Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) 101

Higher Education: The field of post-secondary education.

Student Affairs: The offices that act as student support. This includes (but is not limited to)...
  • Residence Life: Deals with housing, residential students, and policy enforcement.
  • Student Activities: Responsible for on- and off-campus activities, student clubs and organizations, leadership development, intramural sports, new student orientation, and MUCH more.
  • Athletics: Home to varsity sports, strength and conditioning, athletic training, and fitness facilities.
  • Advising: Assists students with class registration and staying on track for graduation.
  • Educational Assistance: Offers tutoring, disabilities services, homework help, and other services to help students keep their grades up.
  • Career Services: Provides help with finding jobs, internships, and graduate schools, picking a major for undeclared students, and also organizes career-oriented workshops and events.
  • Alumni Relations: Keeps graduated classes in the loop with what's going on with the institution, organizes reunions, and runs the alumni fund (which basically means they hit up alumni for donations).
  • International Student Services: (AKA what I want to do when I grow up!) Helps international students adjust to university life in the United States, as well as helping domestic students with study abroad and study tours.
Resident Director: (AKA what I do now) A professional staff member of the Residence Life office. Lives on campus in an apartment in a residence hall. Oversees residential students, and responds to any situation that might go on within the residence halls and across campus after hours. Assists with ResLife functions, supervises the student staff, and acts as a resource to residential students within their building and across campus.

Resident Assistant (RA)/Community Advisor (CA): Student staff that works for ResLife.

Programming: Fancy Higher Ed word for events.

On Duty/On Call: Being the primary person that is called when an incident occurs on campus. (Unless, of course, it is an emergency. In that case, campus safety is primary.) Rounds of campus may also be involved while on duty, depending on your position and the institution you work for.

Graduate Assistantship (GA): (AKA what I will be doing in grad school) Fancy term for a graduate student internship within an office in student affairs. Could be done at the institution you're studying at, or a nearby college/university.

I can't think of any other terms that apply to my life/what will pop up on the blog at this time, but as my career progresses I'm sure I'll come across some more weird Higher Ed lingo that I'll have to explain to you guys.

Hope this was helpful in some way! :P

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