The most common services offered by student affairs at higher education institutions in México and, to some extent, in Latin America, are: varsity and intramural sports, athletics, cultural activities, student organizations, counseling, drug prevention, food services, student transportation, student health/medical services, career services, and alumni relationships.
Raising the Stature of the
Profession in México and
BY ENRIQUE RAMOS
The most common services offered by student affairs at higher education institutions in México and, to some xtent, in Latin America, are: varsity and intramural
sports, athletics, cultural activities, student organizations,
counseling, drug prevention, food services, student transportation, student health/medical services, career services,
and alumni relationships. Other services offered mainly by
private institutions include housing, parent-related programs,
transportation services, and student web services. Three major
challenges now face Mexican higher education institutions.
Staff Qualifications and Training
Student affairs professionals in México and Latin America
and other countries are not generally members of professional
associations that offer greater opportunities for professional
development, including networking, contact with senior professionals, access to research and journals, enhanced mobility,
and career growth. Most of these opportunities are not available for student affairs staff in México and Latin America.
Academic Preparation Programs
An important challenge for student affairs in México and
Latin America is related to the lack of academic preparation
programs for student affairs personnel at the master’s and doctoral levels and the lack of research regarding student affairs-related issues. To increase student affairs personnel preparation, the Tecnologico de Monterrey, a private institution in
México, began an online master’s program in higher education
with a major in student affairs in January 2009. The program
currently enrolls some 75 students.
Organizational Restructuring of
Another challenge faced by several higher education institutions in México is related to the organizational restructuring of
student affairs. Traditionally, student affairs divisions reported
directly to campus presidents. However, student affairs directors may now report to other areas, such as recruitment and
promotion. At some institutions, student affairs is viewed as a
marketing tool for recruiting prospective students rather than
as a learning and development opportunity for students.
Student affairs activities in México and Latin America are
far from the point at which staff members have access to
state-of-the-art training and development opportunities. The
organizational restructuring faced by some student affairs divisions may seriously affect the quality of the services provided
to students and could seriously diminish students’ learning
and development opportunities.