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Running head: PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY PAPER

Personal Philosophy Paper


Lauren Swanson
Northern Illinois University

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY PAPER

Personal Philosophy Paper


Adult and higher education has changed throughout the last century. More students are
going to college than students were in the past. As more generations begin to come to college,
they demand different services and options in their education to help them succeed. Student
affairs professionals are responsible to meet those demands and help students grow and progress
through their academic and social lives. In order to meet these needs, student affairs
professionals must be willing to keep the students interests and needs in their minds at all times.
In order to help students accomplish their goals and needs, student affairs professionals must
help guide students to the fullest potential.
To me, adult and higher education is to help students reach their fullest potential both
academically and professionally, and for students to be prepared to move on from the role of a
student to a professional. As a future adult and higher education and student affairs professional,
it is important for me to remember to let students to create their own identity while they are in
higher education and for me to provide the guidance to help them succeed.
The purpose of adult and higher education should be to help students build an identity for
themselves, as well as prepare them for a professional role once they leave a college or
university. That should be at all levels of adult and higher education, such as community
colleges, four-year institutions, or even vocational schools. Also, the purpose of adult and higher
education is to educate their students in different backgrounds of education, such as having
students take general education classes. These classes give students the opportunity to gain
general background information on subjects, and the skills needed in these subjects, to give them
a knowledge base that can be applied in their future profession.
In order to achieve these goals for students, there must be classes and programs added to
a students degree path. This would include general education classes and a class dedicated to
help students successfully transition from the role of a student to the role of a professional.

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY PAPER

Certain general education classes must be able to include skills that can be used in professional
settings. In order to implement these requirements, classes would have to teach students critical
thinking skills, analytical skills, writing skills, and group working skills. One of the ways that
these skills are achieved is by doing group work in class with discussions from either the
instructor or the students in the class. This allows students to think critically about the material,
while also analyzing the information to answer the question. By doing this in a group, it gives
students the skill to listen and discuss their answers with their peers and colleagues respectfully.
Another way to implement student identity development and graduation readiness would
be through extra-curricular programs. Different clubs and organizations, such as Student
Government, can help students shape a students identity. These organizations allow students to
meet with other students and faculty members on a university or college who have mutual
interests in a specific subject or professional field. This gives students the opportunity to grow
and expand on their own instead of being instructed by professors in a classroom setting.
Students are able to create their own projects with one another and help others in the same
situation. This allows students to have their own freedom to express their identity or their
interests and creativity. By allowing students the opportunity to create their own projects and
work together they work to accomplish their own work, helping develop their personal and
professional identity.
I believe that helping students reach their fullest potential in school will help them
succeed in their professional careers. By making sure that students and prepared to graduate and
develop a professional identity while they are in adult or higher education, it will not only help
them become successful in their job, but it will help them create an identity quicker in their lives
while they still have opportunities to explore possible career options and programs of interest. By
focusing on preparing students for a role outside of being a student, I believe that universities

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY PAPER

would be able to establish better programing and networking opportunities for students. I also
believe that if there was a better focus on helping students prepare to graduate and move into a
professional role, there would be a higher retention rate on campus because students would be
more motivated to stay in school and graduate.
Even though there is a large part of responsibility on the educator and the institution to
implement programs and classes for students, it is also the students responsibility to take
advantage of the opportunities that are available to them while they are in higher education. In
order for a student to help build their identity and develop their skills and explore their different
interests, they must be willing to capitalize on the opportunities given with clubs, organizations,
internships, workshops, and mentors around campus. If a student does not find an organization
that works for what they are interested in and follow the path and influences that are laid out for
them by teachers, parents, or friends, they will not be able to create a personal or professional
identity.
I believe that this is also an important part of adult and higher education and my personal
philosophy because a college setting allows students the opportunity to explore different areas
and find a program that best suits them. If a student believes that there might be a better option,
they have the opportunity to look at different programs, talk to professionals in the field, and
even ask higher education professionals a new program that could better suit their interests and
professional goals. Students in higher education are able to explore different programs easier
while attending school instead of exploring programs when they have graduated. Students are
responsible for taking advantage of shaping their identity and utilizing the resources around
them, while educations and student affairs professionals are responsible for helping guide
students to those resources while instilling skills necessary to help transition out of school and
into their professional career.

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY PAPER

I believe that the philosophy described by Elias and Merriam would be a humanistic
philosophy of adult education (2005, p. 111). Humanistic adult education and educators are
focused on the needs of the individual in regards to their development and freedom. There is also
an emphasis on how to be affective with the dimensions of an individuals personality (Elias and
Merriam, 2005, p. 111). My personal philosophy is centered around a students diverse education
preparing them to graduate and transition into a professional role. This is like humanist
philosophy because it relies on a student or individuals need for freedom, responsibility, and
ability to learn what the individual wants to learn. This compares because it relies on the
students responsibility to learn what they want to learn and how they go about learning. It also
states that an educator is responsible for facilitating the process and helping guide the student in
their education (Elias and Merriam, 2005, p.124).
Another way that my philosophy compares to humanistic education philosophy is the
cooperation and skills established by group work. Elias and Merriam state that the best way for a
student to develop is not to be isolated from others, but instead, to work in a united and
supportive environment (2005, p.130). When working with others, there is no need for
competition, which allows students to feel equal towards one another and not feel threated by
those around them. Group work can be done in and out of the classroom in small discussions,
organizations and clubs, and during internships and mentoring programs. Having students
participate in group settings strengthens an individuals ability to use the skills they have learned
in their classes while positively learning their personal strengths and weaknesses and how to
better shape and create their personal and professional identity.
With my own personal philosophy, I want to keep the students best interest at the front of
my professional career whenever possible. In order to help students reach their fullest potential, I
believe that it is the responsibility of the educator to instill essential skills in their students, while

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY PAPER

also guiding a student down a path towards resources to help the student be successful while he
or she is attending school. It is also the responsibility of the student to take advantage of the
resources available to them and the information of the educators. With this philosophy, there is a
bigger emphasis on the student being able to control their programs and future career, as
compared to educators and professionals determining the outcomes for students and creating
their identity.

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY PAPER


References
Elias, J. L., & Merriam, S. B. (2005). Philosophical foundations of adult education (3rd ed).
Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishers.