Every institution or organization wishes to keep on improving and gaining a competitive advantage in order to achieve its set objectives. Each stakeholder strives at ensuring the organization performance and productivity are of high quality.In learning institutions especially community colleges, there are various student services that aim at fulfilling the students’ needs. These community services are entitled to a better performance in line with their set goals and objectives. The appreciative inquiry (AI), quality improvement, and Strength, opportunity, assessment, results is a tool that is used to measure and analyze the performance of an organization (Fonsenka, 2012). Therefore, this paper uses the AI/SOAR approach in evaluating and making recommendation for the student service department.
The student service department has devoted itself in providing an array of programs which aid the students to explore their full potential. The AI tool asserts that an organization should start by appreciating and realizing its achievements. Therefore, one of the most significant achievements is the ability to enhance cohesion and integration within the entire student body. Community colleges admit numerous students who come from various ethnic backgrounds. The diversified nature of students’ backgrounds attracts quite different behavioral aspects. The student support service program enables them to integrate and cultivate ethical behaviors especially through guidance and counseling. Similarly, the student service department is paramount in enabling students make decisive career choices. Most of the students who are admitted in college do not understand the courses that they are willing to undertake, but the student service helps them in making career choices. This is very important since the insight provides students with clear choices regarding their careers. Another positive issue is the disability support services offered by the department. When students join college some of them stereotype the students with disabilities, but the department educates them on appreciating and supporting the impaired(Fonsenka, 2012). The department also helps the students who are under suspension, probation, or those who are given a warning by the institution. Lastly, the support service depart is actively engaged in sensitizing students on the importance of co-curricular activities. This is very helpful as students who participate in these performs better and are usually stress free. These activities therefore enable the students to realize their capabilities and also in academic work.
The greatest assets of the student service department are the level of motivation of the workers and the willingness of students to collaborate. However, the large number of students provides a challenge when they try to seek help individually. The ratio of employees is significantly higher than that of students seeking aid from the department. One way that the department can improve and counter this challenge is grouping students who have similar problems. In this case, the groups with similar need can be taken together to help save on resources. For example, alcohol addicts who require counseling can be assembled together for guidance and counseling. This will aid in reducing the congestion of people who seek assistance from the department. Another aspect that would aid in improving the student service department is organizing an orientation to all new students once they get admitted (Gunter, 2001). Sometime students suffer because they are not aware of that they can get help from the student service department. An orientation would help the students in familiarizing with the department and the services that are offered. When a student realizes that there is a place he or she can seek advice on financial management, it would be helpful because they will curb the problem in its initial stage. The last improvement that can create imminent advantage to the student service department is measuring their results. According to SOAR technique, measuring results enables an organization in understanding what it has achieved the places that need improvement. For instance, they can collect data on student who succeeded on their careers after being guided by the institution. This happens in many organizations as there is need to have a measure to ensure continued productivity.
On the other hand, the aspects of affirmative perspective and principles of critical thinking of approaching education issues is a fundamental topic that has attracted scholars to research on. For example, Amobi (2007) asserts that affirmative perspectivedoes not encourage thoroughness and substantial analysis in academic work. He propagates that the principles of critical thinking allow the student to gather all information; hence, it enhances factual knowledge. However, the two aspects require the students to gather information from reliable sources and think critically in acquiring information. Students should be able to acquire student-centered teaching approaches that facilitate thoughtful analysis and valuable judgment while teaching or learning (Amobi, 2007). This aspect raises the question whether a leader can be both affirming and critical. Amobi (2007) states that both skills are required in order to have effective leadership in an institution. The affirmative skills are required when the manager needs to make decisions that may face resistance in the organization. For example, employees are mostly resistant to change and an affirmative approach can help in such a situation. Critical approach can be used when the same manager requires opinion from the members of staff before making a decision (Gunter, 2001). The critical approach aids in eliminating the ineffective opinions and choosing the best. Also in some circumstances, managers can wisely use both critical approach and affirmative approach to ensure the best decisions are made. Therefore, a manager can be both affirmative and critical in organizational operations.
Amobi, F. (2007).Making Itreal: promoting novice teachers’ critical perspectiveson educational issues through structured debates. Journal of teaching and learning. (4) 2: 29-46
Fonsenka, S. (2012).Innovative application of AI/ SOAR as organization development intervention (odi) on organizational operation and service quality improvement in a catholic school: a case study of assumption college srirach. ABAC Journal. (32)1
Gunter, H. (2001). Critical approaches to leadership in education. Journal of Educational Enquiry. (2)2: 94-98