GRADUATE STUDENT SERVICES:SETTING THE CONTEXT FOR A WAY FORWARD Brian D. Dusbiber, Ed.D
THE ISSUES AT HANDGraduate students can become frustrated with, and have difficulty with, meeting the various professional and personal demands on their time and energy. Brian D. Dusbiber, Ed.D A lack of accommodation for the multiple roles they fill. Concerns about career plans and future employment opportunities. A lack of opportunities to meet, learn from, and socialize with other graduate students. The essential but volatile nature of relationships with faculty. A need for better communication and more information about available campus resources
SOCIALIZATION TO THE PROFESSION Upon completion of their degree it is assumed they will have taken on a professional identity Brian D. Dusbiber, Ed.D that is appropriate to their desired career outcomes. Includes the socialization into the culture, values, and mores of a chosen profession. Knowledge acquisition, investment (values) and involvement (breath and depth) all influence socialization.
REINTRODUCTION TO HIGHER EDUCATIONUnique characteristics of the emotional an psychological stages of the adult learner, particularly if they have been out of the classroom for some time. Brian D. Dusbiber, Ed.D a) the imposter syndrome (“I don’t belong here with these other students”) b) cultural suicide via distance created between student and family and friends when critical thinking skills of the student are dusted off c) a lost innocence when students may feel confused or cheated over what they may have thought as the right answer d) the new, beneficial rewards of belonging to a emotionally supportive peer learning community.
ENGAGEMENT AND SERVICE DELIVERY PLANSGood practice in graduate student services: Continually strives to eradicate marginalization among underrepresented populations. Brian D. Dusbiber, Ed.D Provides meaningful orientation to the institution beyond academic units. Invests resources in communication with graduate and professional students. Facilitates opportunities for community building and multicultural interaction across academic units. Partners with academic schools and departments to create engagement plans for students. Enhances career and professional development. Systematically assesses satisfaction, needs, and outcomes.
ORIENTATION PROGRAMSOrientation program can, and should have an impact onthe socialization of new graduate students. Modelprograms include these characteristics: Brian D. Dusbiber, Ed.D Elements of orientation can be introduced over time, and not necessarily at one event. An introduction to the history and mission of institution and program of study. Current status report and updates on program of study. Description and conversation on “life as a graduate student”, and faculty expectations. The necessities of course (course registration, ID cards, parking) and campus policies, both inside and outside the class Particular attention paid to writing and research assistance, disability services, career development services and others.
ORIENTATION PROGRAMSContinued:o Campus resources and services available to graduate students. Brian D. Dusbiber, Ed.D Graduate students often don’t know what is available to themo There should be an early opportunity to meet 1-1 with their advisor.o An explanation of campus technology assets and availability.o Opportunities for collaborative research, conference attendance, teaching or graduate assistantships.o Overview of online course management system.o Networking opportunities for students outside of class. Service and honors organizations.
PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY DEVELOPMENTAs the program of study focuses on thesocialization to the profession and the student’sidentity as a scholar, the following should get Brian D. Dusbiber, Ed.Dattention:o Building or branding oneself in the professiono Mastering the language of the fieldo Identifying intellectual and professional interestso Seeking to connect with a mentor in the fieldo Pursuing research presentation opportunitieso Participation in campus or local events, colloquia, and guest lectureso Locating and forming relationships with peers to build a cadre of professional networks and support.
CAREER SERVICESCareer Services must respond to graduate studentneeds: Brian D. Dusbiber, Ed.D Graduate students will be drawn to career services and resources they believe are designed for them. They will be wary of those offices or services they believe are not suitable for them. Stay away from “one-size-fits-all” approach to career services. Each program of study is different. Communication and regular outreach at convenient times and locations are essential. Online/web-based tools, social media, and personal contact builds responsive methods for out reach.
COUNSELING SERVICES Counseling services can often be an under recognized need on campus for graduate students. Brian D. Dusbiber, Ed.D Full time graduate students are likely users of counseling services. They may not have access to employee assistance programs Some graduate programs of study are either very competitive, or intrinsically stressful by virtue of what is expected of the students. This may complicate pre existing conditions in the student’s life. Graduate students pursuing their education in a helping profession, such as social work, divinity school programs, or psychology are familiar and comfortable with therapeutic approaches and may be more likely to avail themselves of counseling services.
ADVISING SERVICESThe relationship with the faculty advisor can becrucial in the student’s success in their academiccareer. Brian D. Dusbiber, Ed.D They can guide the student toward understanding the structure and culture of the field of study and profession Assist with the development of language and mores of the field. Connect the student to others in the field, opportunities for research or professional development, and individualizing their educational path. Foster growth in intellectual capacity and professional interests. Guidance on occasion to navigate obstacles in front of the student.
WRITING SERVICESWithout exception, further development of highlevel writing skills is a necessity in the vastmajority of graduate programs of study. Brian D. Dusbiber, Ed.Do Expectations from faculty for good, clear analysis in writing is fundamental.o Each program of study teaches writing based on the needs of that profession. Good writing in a business degree can look very different than in education or social work.o Online resources must be available for graduate students who can not meet with someone face to face.o Writing mentors should have sophisticated skills, and be able to related to students at the graduate program of study level.
LIBRARY SKILLSA introduction to library resources and services isessential. Brian D. Dusbiber, Ed.D Frequently graduate students are starting at a new university, or have not used a college library for some time. New, web based resources emerge frequently or have been revitalized. Comfort with working with these features requires some just in time training. Higher levels of expectations around proper use of writing style becomes elevated (APA, Chicago Manual, AMA, MLA)
DISABILITY SERVICESGraduate students may not be aware of the extentof services and accommodation available. Brian D. Dusbiber, Ed.D For some graduate students they may have not been aware of a disability while they were an undergraduate Course Syllabi should include information on how to arrange for accommodation for a disability.
STUDENT HEALTH AND WELL BEINGThere is an array of services graduate studentsmay need from student health services andwellness programs. Brian D. Dusbiber, Ed.D Those students without employer supported health care may rely on campus services for ongoing care. Immunizations both annual, and for international travel are often a need. Lifestyle balance (home, work, family, school) can frequently be a problem for graduate students.
PARENT/FAMILY SERVICESMany graduate students are enrolled during peakchildbearing years. Brian D. Dusbiber, Ed.D Convenient, affordable child care on campus or nearby is important. Professional staff who can assist graduate students who are parents through the labyrinth of a college campus. Stress is sometimes realized as graduate students face demands from home and cultural expectations of idealized parenthood. Scholarly and professional expectations as the graduate level can elevate stress as well.
LEGAL SERVICESMoving into adulthood and independence, graduatestudents frequently need legal service. Brian D. Dusbiber, Ed.D There is often financial stress associated with building debt. Adult relationships on occasion required legal representation. Many graduate students are entering into contracts and leases for the first time. Some law firms, or attorneys at law will provide pro bono services on a one time basis to assist students.. The cost for further legal representation or future meetings can be negotiated after that first meeting.
BUSINESS OFFICE/ACCOUNTS PAYABLE,BOOKSTORE, DINING SERVICESGraduate students want services that areconvenient to their busy schedules, and exercisehigh levels of customer service. Brian D. Dusbiber, Ed.D Convenience, particularly using online services, is important. Assistance with financial aid management, or seeking scholarships or grants is another role that is needed. Avenues for renting and purchasing textbooks and book packs, both online via e-readers and hard copy continually advance. Graduate students will focus on ease of acquisition and cost. Dining services need to be available when graduate students wish to use them.
IN CLOSING While graduate and professional student services may very well overlap with more traditional undergraduate student services, there is a need to also understand the unique needs of these students. The student is making a significant Brian D. Dusbiber, Ed.D personal and financial investment. The university is committed to their professional, scholarly education. Research, writing, and contributing to the profession become increasingly emphasized. During this journey, students find that “life goes on” and there are likely more responsibility and or intervening circumstance in life that conflict with their full attention as a graduate student. A strong awareness of that experience, and developing sufficient resources to address them effectively continues to be a growing concern of graduate and professional school administrators, and program directors.