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O’Brien Center for Student Success

Higher Education & Community Engagement

The area of Higher Education offers many opportunities that allow you to have an impact on the development of students and the building of communities, and partnerships within non- profit and education sectors. There are many different areas within these areas where your degree and experience could be applied.

Academic Advising

Academic advising consists of either academic or professional advisors who assist students with navigating their academic progress. They assist students with choosing a major.

Admissions

The staff in admissions in responsible for the recruiting of high school students for their academic programs.  Responsibilities include, collecting and reviewing applications and making college acceptance decisions. There are also some instances where admissions is involved in the community as far as bridge and mentor programs for recruitment purposes.

Alumni Relations

Alumni relations programs at educational institutions build and strengthen relations with students, former students, faculty, friends and others.  The goal is to build life-long relationships with alumni in support of the institution . Maintain history and traditions and help secure a bright future for the institution. There are different types of positions in Alumni Relations which include ; Public Relations and Marketing, Events and Fundraising.

Campus Ministry/Religious Life

The level of involvement campus staff  have in religious life will be dictated by whether the school is public or private. Public schools may have a liaison who works with off-campus religious centers. Private schools might have a full-time staff that plans programs and services that cater to the different religious needs of students.

Career Services

The role of Career Services is to counsel and advise individuals and groups on occupations, career exploration, career planning and decision-making, job-search strategies, employability skills, and graduate and professional education. Provide students with resources to  locate work experiences.

Counseling

Work with individuals and/or groups on issues such as relationships, academic stress, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, sexual issues, and suicide. Often provide outreach to students through residence hall programming and by aiding in crisis situations. On some campuses, counseling offices are also responsible for assessment and testing of students. Often requires a doctoral degree and state licensure.

Disability Services

Disability Services seeks to support students in developing skills, learning about resources, and gaining the confidence needed to maintain a balanced and independent lifestyle that is essential to meeting individual, career and life objectives.

Events/Conference Planning

Staff in this area are responsible for designing, marketing, coordinating and planning conferences and special events on the campuses of colleges and universities. This could include running conference centers, finding housing for conference guests, marketing the campus as a potential meeting site, and scheduling events such as commencement, homecoming, and parents’ weekend. Many schools with large residential facilities rent out their residence halls to various conferences and camps during the summer months.

Experiential Education

Responsible for coordinating practical experiences for students outside of the classroom. These can include internships, practica, co-op experiences, and service learning experiences. Staff need to be able to conduct outreach to employers and organizations and to match students up with the proper experiences.

Facilities Management

Facilities officers and physical plant managers work with various campus constituents to ensure excellence in administration, care, operations, planning, and construction of educational facilities. This field encompasses a wide range of positions such as director of physical plant operations, energy engineer, director of maintenance and service operations, or environmental health and safety officer.

Financial Aid

Officers advise students and their families about work study programs, campus employment, loan programs, scholarships, and state aid programs. Staff are responsible for reviewing aid packages and helping students with their financial and budgeting concerns. Must be familiar with the many complex regulations and policies surrounding federal, state and institutional aid.

First Year Experience

Assist new students with adjusting to college life, locating needed resources, and developing social contacts. Staff in first year experience work closely with faculty advisors to ensure that a student’s academic experience is on track. They also might teach freshmen skills classes, run topical programs, and work with parents on finding the appropriate balance between support and independence for their children.

Greek Affairs

Many campuses have very large Greek fraternity and sorority systems that may or may not include housed chapters. In addition, some campuses have historically Black fraternities and sororities. Advisors assist councils in planning events, devising and implementing chapter policy, and working to publicize the organizations. Professional staff also ensure that chapters are following campus guidelines surrounding rush, pledging, and alcohol use.

Health Services

Provide medical treatment and advice to students who are sick or injured and encourage preventative care and healthy lifestyle. Most recently, a wellness trend has swept college campuses resulting in more joint efforts between health services and recreation/fitness centers. Student health services may be provided on campus either through clinics or an on-site medical school or may be contracted out to a local health provider.

Institutional Advancement/Development

Development staff are primarily in charge of fundraising efforts which can include running alumni outreach campaigns, researching potential corporate sponsors, and handling other large gifts. They also collect and analyze data on trends in giving and work on various strategies to improve these patterns.

Institutional Research

Many higher education divisions attempt to assess their programs and understand student demand for certain campus services. Staff in institutional research offices conduct assessments, analyze data, and suggest changes for programs, services, policies, and procedures.

International Student Affairs

Counsel international students on immigration regulations and visa concerns. Works with international students to help them to adjust to cultural and social differences. Organizes programs and activities to support these students and their families in their acculturation. Might also be in charge of coordinating visits of international scholars.

Judicial Affairs

Meet with students accused of campus policy infractions such as vandalism, alcohol abuse, cheating, and sexual misconduct. Staff are responsible for gathering all pertinent information for hearings, maintaining the due process of accused, maintaining records of hearings, and training judicial board members.

LGBT Affairs

Staff advise individual students, plan programs, educate campus constituents about pertinent issues, and advocate for the needs of LGBT students. Staff might also be a part of the formation of gay-straight alliance organizations. Many campuses have separate LGBT centers.

Multicultural Affairs

Staff advise individual students, plan programs, educate campus constituents about pertinent issues, and advocate for the needs of minority students. Many larger campuses have separate student centers devoted to African-American, Asian-American, Native American, and Hispanic populations.

Orientation

Work primarily with new freshmen and transfer students to aid in the transition process. Orientation staff plan and coordinate orientation sessions for new students, organize testing for course placement, conduct family/parent programs, and teach courses during the academic year to orient new students to campus resources. Also in charge of supervising undergraduate student staff working as orientation leaders/assistants.

Registration & Records

Monitors students’ academic progress toward degrees. Handles such tasks as course schedule publication, course registration for students, issuing transcripts and diplomas, scheduling classrooms, and maintaining statistical data on student enrollment. Often combined with admissions on smaller campuses.

Residence  Life

Housing staff wear many hats. They are involved with programming, community building, roommate conflict resolution, discipline, and crisis management. Staff might work in residences that are classified as single sex, coed, living-learning centers, graduate student housing, married student/family housing, or special interest housing for certain academic majors or athletes. Live-in staff work with students in a round-the-clock situation and also supervise undergraduate resident assistants. Assistant directors will be involved as well with staff selection and training and disciplinary policy making. Residence life is typically the largest employer of student affairs staff on many campuses.

Student Disability Services

Provide services and support to ensure that students’ with physical and non physical disabilities the resources they need to succeed academically and socially on campus. This  could include reasonable accommodations such as  modifications or adjustments to a course, program, service, or activity that enables a qualified student with a disability to obtain equal access.

Student Involvement/Leadership/Activities

Activities staff advise student groups, oversee student governments, schedule campus space for nonacademic events, develop and enforce rules and regulations for campus groups, and conduct social, educational and cultural campus programming.

Student/Campus Unions/Centers

A union’s professional staff oversee what can be the central gathering place on campus. One might be in charge of scheduling space, planning film festivals and recreation tournaments or advising student programming boards. Student union administrators also oversee the many services associated with unions such as bank branches, bowling alleys, cafeterias, and student organization offices.

Study Abroad/International Programs

Study abroad is a good way for students to increase their awareness of others, to live in a challenging atmosphere, and to integrate the curriculum in a new way. Staff in this area work to plan, promote, and coordinate educational opportunities of different types outside of the United States. They work with students and their parents as well as faculty and staff at both the home institution and the abroad institutions to ensure safe, educational, and socially enriching opportunities