Where You Work Matters

Throughout my undergrad, I had multiple opportunities to sit in on interviews for different professional positions on campus. After reading this book, I feel a little naive because I did not fully realize what went into selecting a university to work at. I have had quite a few friends apply for different jobs but not once did I ever have a conversation with them regarding the type of university or college it was. What I gathered from these soon to be Student Affairs professionals was that finding a job was extremely hard so they would take what they got. I find myself questioning that thought process and wanting to challenge myself by digging deeper into the schools history and what their mission and vision are.

After reading through the chapters, I would stray away from working at a Religiously Affiliated Institution. I attended a private school my whole life until I went to college, so the fact that this schools are religion based is not the main reason why I would not want to work at a religiously affiliated institution. Before reading this book, I had my personal reasons as to why I would not want to work at that type of institute, which includes but not limited to the lack of bureaucracy. A past advisor of mine had switched to a private university and ended up returning back to my alma mater because of the lack of control and rules. She specifically was working with their Greek Life and found the students had lack of respect for her role as an advisor. That was her personal experience but the book gives another great example of this lack of bureaucracy.
“…I have come from a public institution into a private institution. The public institution hat I came from was very highly bureaucratic, which was extreme. This one seeme to be at the opposite extreme because we are so decentralized and sometimes I think there has got to be balance in everything. So there is not a lot od red tape but that causes confusion sometimes because there are no rules.”

I think that if after I pursue my masters in Student Affairs and Higher Education I would be open to a couple options regarding the type of university I would work for. I think people don’t give Community Colleges enough recognition and the book does a good job of describing what they are: The Producers. I think that no only refers to their students but also the professional staff. I found it disappointing that those who work at Community College mentioned that there was a stereotype that they were viewed as second-class citizen education. Another comment was made that “… universities are in the limelight. It’s more prestigious to be at a university opposed to a community college.” What I found intriguing and interesting was that professionals from Community Colleges said they were very student service focused. I also liked the idea of working with a wide population. One professional said “I have two types of clients. One is the 18-22 year old, out of high school, needing a little help in making choice as far as their major and colleges nad professional areas. The other type is the 25-85 year old adult. They really need to know how to work or at least begin to develop some knowledge of working…” I think this type of college would be a unique experience and a challenge in itself because I wouldn’t be working with the normal student.

The Comprehensive Colleges and Universities are what really stood out to me. One reason being because they consider themselves to by a hybrid: they mix the traditional focus of liberal arts education with the research focus of a campus that offers graduate education. Professionals at comprehensive institutions serve specific functions but the nature of the campus enables them to work extensively in other functional areas thereby requiring them to view issues from a multitude of perspectives. One of the mission statements was described as general but what I found amazing was that the campus offers liberal arts and professional training; it serves day students, evening students, full-time students, part-time students, those from groups who have always pursued higher education and those from groups who have not. Comprehensive colleges and universities provide a solid liberal education at the undergraduate level and also offer advanced professional degrees. From a professional point of view, I appreciated the fact that there are these separate offices with specific focuses but that doesn’t hold professional staff back from getting involved and delving deeper in a different office. The opportunity to learn and network at the university is something I value.

Peace and Love,

Kayli Marie