Student affairs have suffered a great influence and have experienced many changes from the side of a community. Due to the globalization processes which take place in all spheres of human life, student affairs leadership has been also affected. There is no confirmed research about either the positive or negative influence of the changes due to globalization, which take place in the sphere, but it is important to stress that the changes occur and they affect the mode of life students lead. Student affairs leadership has been affected by the world globalization processes. The increase of the diversity among students and the increased level of the use of the information technologies are the latest trends in student affairs leadership.
Trends and/or Issues in Student Affairs Leadership
Due to the research and practical consideration of the problem of the recent trends in the sphere of student affairs leadership, it has been noticed that diversity growth among students, which results into the integration of new cultures in student community.
Much evidence exists in relation to the aspect of the increase of diversity among students, however, the issue of diversity in relation to student affairs leadership has not been studied in detail (McClellan & Stringer, 2009). The increased diversity affects student affairs leadership in many ways. Overall, the changes in the social and political life of the educational establishment cannot omit a student business. Diversity among students presupposes the consideration of any problem with a particular attention to the cultural and ethnical belonging of a person. The changes in the demographics of students bring new ideas and a fresh look on student affairs leadership of a particular community.
The increased level of the use of the information technologies, which have both positive and negative influences on students, is another latest trend in student affairs leadership. Having an opportunity to deal with the student issues by means of the information technologies, allows student affairs leaders to speed up the process of communication and to solve the issues distantly, without caring of a country and time zones. Student affair leadership is affected by the social network systems, which unite teaching, learning and education services. Overall, the information technologies help a community to solve problems faster and with the higher efficiency (Torres & Walbert, 2010). The use of the information technologies helps leaders to coordinate their work and spread the information faster and among more students. Information is the most valuable opportunity in the modern world and student affair leadership uses this opportunity in its work and services.
Comparison and Contrast of the Trends under Analysis
Both diversity and information technologies bring positive and negative aspects in the life of students in the community. The role of student affairs leadership is high in this respect, since by working with students in all spheres of their life, leaders of campus community can affect the changes which take place and remove the negative effect from unsatisfactory factors. Thus, the positive role of diversity is reflected in the experience students share. It enhances and promotes education in general. The same happens with the information technologies, as the increased use of information technologies makes the life of students on the campus easier and more interesting. At the same time, information technologies have very negative effect expressed in the increase of the stress and pressure. Some scholars report about the increased level of mental issues among students provoked by the stress and the extended information flows during the day. According to Reynolds (2011), “students face a variety of mental health issues including bipolar disorders, family problems, substance abuse, eating disorders, sleep disorders, impulsive behavior, and suicidal behaviors, which make it difficult for many students to function and be academically and socially successful” (p. 362). Benton and Benton (2006) and Grayson and Meilman (2006) predict that information technologies in case of their overuse may be a factor for stress development, which may lead to the problems mentioned above. Diversity trend has a negative effect on student affair leadership, as discrimination and inequality still remains a very important issue communities have to deal with. Overall, both trends have emerged almost simultaneously with the development of globalization in all spheres, including education and social life (Schuh, Jones, & Harper, 2011).
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The Issues both Observed in Practice and Reviewed in Readings
The increase of the integration of different approaches to leadership in student affairs is one of the main observations of diversity implementation. The more diverse students belong to the campus community, the more varied leadership approaches are to be implemented. One of the main functions of student affair leadership is to assist students in social and educational problems, and it is impossible to deal with the issue without understanding its background. The number of members from different cultures increases in student affairs leadership that allows meeting the needs of students. Specifically, Chinese students may search for support from the side of Chinese student affair leaders. The same can be with other nationalities. People from different cultural areas feel more secure when they deal with leaders of their nationality. It has nothing in common with discrimination; it only speaks more for the cultural unity and support.
Specifically, Torres and Walbert (2010) stress on the “intensifying availability of communication and information technology” as a part of the diversity affect. Information technologies, including the hardware like computers, smartphones and software and application, influence student life in practice by means of giving people more opportunities for contacting others on distance.
Student affairs leadership deals with several problems simultaneously without even leaving the room. Sending requests and receiving emails by means of information technologies saves time. At the same time, information technologies used by student affair leaders increase the demand for services to be used by students, which leads to student overload. Trying to meet the requirements of the informational sphere in both hardware and software, some students forget about their primary purpose and it significantly affects their studying.
Implications or Limitations Associated with the Trends
The main implication of the spread of diversity and information technology is the increased level of globalization. Overall, student affairs leadership promotes the raise of globalization processes in a particular community. The integration of different cultures in the campus community is done by means of the educational processes and by means of student affairs leadership. The benefit of such integration has already been discussed. However, the increase of diversity has some limitations. The more foreign cultures are accepted, the less traditional issues are left. It leads to the decrease of the specific nations in the world. Assimilation takes place and one of the tasks of student affairs leadership besides the promotion of diversity and globalization should be support of the individuality of each of the cultural representatives. Diversity in student affairs leadership should become the first step in reorganization and restructuring of the campus community on the way to promoting the globalization processes. The loss of the cultural peculiarities and individuality is one of the main limitations of student diversity.
Information technologies also lead to the increased level of globalization. More and more people use the information technologies for running the processes, manipulating and monitoring people as well as solving serious issues. The use of information technologies for the communication purposes is used as a normal means of sharing information and ideas. One of the main limitations of such use of information technologies is the loss of the personal contact. One of the aims of student affairs leadership is to communicate student problems, support them and help in different questions based on education and social issues. However, the increased use of the information technologies prevents student affairs leadership to communicate the problem personally. Thus, it leads to a reduction of the personal contact that prevents to fulfill the initial purposes of student affairs leadership.
In conclusion, globalization has impacted the development of such trends in student affairs as the spread of diversity and information technologies. Each of these trends plays a vital role in the development of student affairs leadership as a part of student life. Each of the trends has a practical implementation, which helps student affairs leadership to be helpful. At the same time, globalization with its diversity and information technologies trends has both positive and negative effects on student affairs leadership. Aiming at supporting people in different spheres of their college life, a community has to function in the constantly changing environment. Such conditions encourage student affairs leadership for constant perfection and development. However, the obstacles and barriers also exist. Student affairs leadership should be aware of the recent trends, as it is a guarantee of effective and timely reaction to the recent changes in the student global community.