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Seeking Out Unconventional Student Affairs Jobs

Lots of possibilities.

October 2, 2014
 
The future of student affairs is in seeking out new places to work

Last week's post about emerging career possibilities for student affairs professionals was a thought piece about future gigs for future practitioners. A comment on the post about how good it would be when Coursera started hiring student affairs folk prompted me to do a quick search around the web for jobs that might not fit the traditional pathways for student affairs. Without further adieu, here are some unconventional student affairs jobs that don't fall within the traditional student affairs framework:

Manager, Learner Community:
It seemed logical to seek out a position for a student affairs practitioner over at the Coursera site. This particular position looks quite dynamic as they are looking for "an experienced community builder to help develop a vibrant and engaged learner community." Community management jobs are very similar to on-campus student affairs positions, except they take place on the web.

Course Support Representative:
It made sense to check out Udacity as a place for future student affairs folk. This gig is part-time/contract, but who knows, it might lead to a full-time position. If not now, maybe in the future. According to the job description, you will "take an active part in managing sensitive situations and solving challenging student issues." Sounds like a great fit for people who are from a student affairs background.

Relationship Manager:
It's almost impossible to mention Coursera and Udacity without mentioning EdX. This position will definitely stretch the imaginations of what we think are "student affairs jobs." However, why couldn't a student affairs pro thrive in a B2B environment? The right student affairs practitioner could excel in this position.

Learner Advocate:
With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Khan Academy is still going strong in its quest to change the world. For a student affairs practitioner who has a solid set of math skills, this job could be the perfect blend of advocacy, creativity, and outside-the-box thinking.

Student Advisor:
This is basically a "regular" student affairs position that happens to be for a corporation, instead of a college or university. The description for this job from Pearson reads like a great entry-level experience for someone with a higher education administration degree.

Student Development Specialist:
Let's be honest, if you could, wouldn't you want to work at Google? While this position isn't all about student development in the theoretical/success sense, it is definitely within the scope of what student affairs folks can do. Any and all student affairs graduate preparation programs should be graduating cohorts of folks who could take on this job from Google.

Solutions Consultant, Senior:
Okay, this job might in sales (or at least it looks like its aligned to that area) at Ellucian. However, what's wrong with that? If you've got the relevant expertise in enrollment management and student affairs, we (as in the entire student affairs field) need you in this job. How great would it be to work with people (on the sales side of things) who really know the business of student affairs and enrollment management? It might be game-changing.

Enrollment Services Manager:
This is essentially an enrollment management position that exists within Blackboard's Education Services Team. This is a position that is going to require some prior experience at an institution. Corporate jobs that require (or prefer) previous institutional experience represent a growing trend: opportunities that bridge the space between non-profit entities and for-profit companies.

Campus Operations Specialist:
"The primary responsibility of this role is to assist the student by offering services and support which will help the student achieve academic and career success." The first paragraph of this job reads like a lot of student affairs positions. Brace yourself, the job is with the University of Phoenix. I know that in some circles, that's like uttering an expletive. However, when did we collectively decide that our field was going to almost completely ignore the for-profit degree space? There's a lot of amazing work that could be done on behalf of for-profits with an injection of multitudes of student affairs practitioners. Bonus job: Academic Counselor - There are always academic advising jobs!

Academic Advisor:
Southern New Hampshire University has a strong reputation for providing a high level of support for their online students. While the needs of an online-only student might differ from their counterparts at brick-and-mortar institutions, the need for quality academic advising is universal. In fact, academic advisors who work within an online-only capacity are often relied upon by students to serve as their conduit for programmatic advising, career exploration, and financial aid related queries. Look for a future post on the versatility of academic advising as a career track that will always be necessary within higher education.

Administrator, Academic Conduct:
The Open University in the United Kingdom is one of the largest universities in the world. Most of the students who study at OU will never set foot on campus as the school largely serves a distance education population. This particular position is basically a cyber conduct officer role. While the use of plagiarism software within higher education has been in place for quite a while, this is one of the first times that I can recall seeing a student affairs conduct job that's focused entirely on digital conduct.

The road ahead for student affairs is rife with disruption and innovation. Higher education is moving, evolving, and changing...quickly. We need to stop preparing people to seek out the jobs of yesterday. The new spaces for employment are already here. They just look a little different than our usual entries. Are you ready to be unconventional?

 

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