In the last newsletter message, I posed a question, “how does your work increase the worth and value of a college degree?”, and received some very thoughtful, interesting responses. Since there were wonderful messages in those responses, I decided to share some of them with you.
• When I work with students, I help them stay in school while dealing with many emotional, psychological, medical, academic, and environmental needs that are particular to their life’s circumstances. I can’t tell you how many times a student has expressed appreciation, crediting our services for staying in school.
• My work increases the worth and value of a college degree by providing opportunities for students
o To work collaboratively with a very diverse group of peers
o To be leaders among a group of peers who are also leaders
o To be a follower when appropriate
o To exercise creativity with a “safety net”
o To communicate successfully with a very diverse group of peers
o To build lifelong connections with a very diverse group of peers, faculty and staff and their alma mater
o To realize the importance and rewards of living a life of service, leadership and integrity
o To make a positive difference in the lives of others.
• Each facet of the university is an opportunity for learning. Many students learn how to budget, take their first loan and act as the primary source of contact with financial issues for the first time with our office. What an incredible opportunity we have to teach them important financial lessons and responsibility! We truly can and do impact how they shape their financial future. In addition to learning financial principles, students have the opportunity to learn the importance of not just reading, but understanding documents they sign and the consequences that come with that.
• We provide real-life opportunities for students to put theory into practice. An idea that they discuss in the classroom can be tried, if they are involved on campus in some clubs and/or organizations.
• In Student Government, we give the senators an opportunity to apply knowledge they have gained in the classroom, BUT it is a two-way street and they get to learn things in SGA that they can apply in the classroom, as well. We support academics by facilitating conversations that need to happen outside of the classroom; we challenge students to go beyond memorization and to really be able to put together an argument or position and defend it. In order to be able to meet all the demands placed on them, they have to work on time management skills and productivity.
Space limitations prevent including all of the responses, but I appreciate everyone who took the time to respond. Our work is important, but we can’t expect others to ‘just get it’; we have to be able to explain why it’s important. And if we can’t explain the value of a particular program or service, we have to be willing to ask ourselves why we continue it. I believe a college degree is worth more than just an increase in earnings, as important as that is. I’m glad to work with so many people who add to the value of UTSA’s educational experience. Keep up the good work and enjoy the relative quiet of Spring Break!