Area of Specialization: “Advising for the Globally-Connected Citizen”

Advising for the Globally-Connected Citizen

CSSA allows its students the choice of either obtaining a minor in an official academic area or specializing in a custom-designed area. I chose to specialize, as my interests were broad enough to warrant independent design. Coming into the program, I envisioned specializing in a way that would prepare me to work in international education. As I moved through my first year, I realized my specialization needed to focus on guidance and support for students in an increasingly connected world. I wanted to add elements of how to teach students to understand their own world views and how those can influence their connections with others, as well as how to advise these “global citizens” in an age with rapidly developing technology. I eventually settled on the title, “Advising for the Globally-Connected Citizen,” which suggests a more limited scope in functional areas while also showcasing my interest in cultivating mindful students.

I have truly seen that international issues in higher education go far beyond study abroad and international students on-campus. Although my participation in the NASPA International Education Knowledge Community (IEKC) is not an official part of my area of specialization, it is a critical component nonetheless. As a part of the leadership team, I interact with professionals who work in various functional areas yet also contribute to higher education’s international knowledge base. For example, administrators at various levels have the opportunity to participate in exchange tours, allowing them to explore how different student affairs/student services models function in other countries. These exchanges include sending American administrators abroad, as well as bringing international delegations to the United States. While I have not participated in an exchange due to my standing as a graduate student and new professional–currently, most exchanges are for upper-level administrators–I am able to learn from these worldly travelers, as I hear about the models and the way they navigate their relevant local and global situations.

As I move into my professional role as an academic advisor and program specialist, I am happy to report that I will be continuing my volunteer role with the IEKC as both the Technology Chair and the Marketing Coordinator. While I will be residing in Portland, I look forward to staying globally-connected while helping my students look worldwide for opportunities and inspiration in their careers and education.

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6 thoughts on “Area of Specialization: “Advising for the Globally-Connected Citizen”

    • Ardith says:

      I foresee it being unique for at least awhile. My own views and perspectives (and hopes), however, cause me to also think that this globally-oriented focus will become a necessity. Given that our markets are globalized in many regards, I expect to see higher education move that way, as well. Of course, I also see some push-back in the next few years as tensions between “focus on the homeland” and “look forward”-type thinkers bubble up.

    • Ardith says:

      On a related note, WordPress started showing me where in the world my views are coming from. Apparently, I had a hit from Australia and one from France today. I’ve seen Brazil and Costa Rica on the list, too.

    • Ardith says:

      Good question. As a starting point, I’ve been investigating Clark College’s education abroad and international education programs, so I can at least know what is available to students I’ll advise. I hope to find figures on the number of international students in the particular area I’m advising, as well as finding out what current practices in terms of sending students outbound to progress towards their degrees.

      I anticipate students’ interests in focusing globally to differ from case-to-case. That viewpoint could be true of any professional working in student affairs. I think it’s important to remind students that there is practical value to thinking in global ways, as their future clients and customers will come from varied global and international backgrounds; this is especially true in a metropolitan area, like the greater Portland area.

      I should also stress that “global mindedness” doesn’t mean all students need to be international students or study abroad, but that they should understand the reality of global dynamics and not be afraid of exploring the international influences in their local communities.

      Of course, I am also going to support students who want to know more about studying abroad, either through Clark College or internship opportunities or, if they pursue the transfer route, once they are at the four-year university level. I believe that one of our colleagues has the right outlook in that one does not need to be a study abroad advisor to advocate for the value of broadening one’s horizons to include the global communities.

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