Partnerships Coalitions Thesis

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Faculty & Student Development Partnerships

Teaching Faculty and Student Development: A Look at this Link in Relation to Addressing Issues of Alcohol Abuse and Underage Drinking Among Students

The education, as a social institution, exists to serve a number of functions to the individual. This includes transmission of knowledge and skills, cultural transmission of values, social integration among many others (Henslin, 1993).

When we think of education or school, there are normally two components that we can't help but think of, i.e. that it comprises of a "teacher" and a "student" upon which the transmission of knowledge, skills, and values (which arguably is the main function of education) happens. It is in this light that we understand the inevitable link of the student and the teacher or faculty. Taking these elements further leads us to the main objective of this essay, i.e. To explore partnerships between teaching faculty and student development as well as cross-campus coalitions. These will be explored on the realm of addressing alcohol abuse. For the purpose of this article, alcohol abuse would be referred to as binge-drinking and underage drinking among students.

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This paper is divided into two main sections. First, we will be discussing an education institution that deviates a bit from traditional education -- "the learning-living environments" or programs. This shall pave the way for our discussion of alcohol abuse as we will be looking into learning-living programs and its correlation (or implications) with alcohol abuse. Building from this discussion, the second section of this article will dwell on the problem of alcohol abuse and how it is being addressed via the creation of cross-campus and campus-wide coalitions.

I. The Learning-Living Environment/Program

Thesis on Partnerships Coalitions Assignment

Basically learning-living programs boards around thirty students housed in a traditional residence hall floor where they live together. They have curricular (course offerings) and extra-curricular activities. They have faculty and staff as well as peer leaders. Students also have provision of special residence hall resources (Soldner & Szelenyi, 2008). One important factor of why LLPs are generally considered a success this setting provides more opportunity for collaboration and resources that shared between the student and academic affairs (ibid).

Advantages of Learning-Living Program

A number of researches done in the domain of learning-living programs have enumerated the advantages of this kind of educational structure. According to Garrett & Zabriskie (2003), LLPs provide not only positive but also long-lasting impact on the student learning process. Aside from promoting greater student involvement, students in this program also experience gains in critical thinking department as well as intellectual development. There is also greater interaction (both formal and inform) between faculty and student which positively impacts the student's affairs work. Stewart (2008) also adds that LLPs provide holistic educational growth to students. Through this program, they are able to achieve active learning through engagement in various activities such as peer discussions and teaching, field experiences, as well as role-playing as he states, "While addressing the interdisciplinary theme of the program, those experiences provide the opportunity for students to apply what they are learning in their general education and major courses" (p.54).

Learning-Living Programs and Alcohol Abuse

Apart from the research works done to explore the outcomes and determine the positive effects of learning-living programs, some studies conducted on this domain attempted to look at the relationship between this subject-matter and alcohol abuse among students.

Binge drinking is considered as the top health risk among college students. A survey among college students revealed that the number reason for drinking is to celebrate occasions. Relatively cheap prices of liquor make it more accessible to college students (Brower, 2008). A good number of students also reported that peer pressure is involved in their drinking (Brower, Golde & Allen, 2003; Brower 2008).

How do LLPs implicate alcohol abuse? The results of Brower's (2008) study maintains that fewer consequences of drinking are experienced by LLPs as compared to non-LLPs. For one, fewer LLP students suffer from low academic performance compared to their counterparts. They also experience fewer social problems such as getting into fights. Negative implications in terms of health are also experienced lesser by LLP students. It has also been found that they are less likely to feel ashamed of their behavior and less likely to regret losing their control. These findings led Brower into the conclusion that "Learning Living Program is a powerful tool to lessen the problems association with high-risk college drinking" (p. 47). His explanation for this is rooted on the insight that strong local learning communities are built on these LLPs. And it is through these communities that students learn what is acceptable and what is not. LLPs in nature are not only academically but also socially supportive (ibid).

Another important insight that is worth noting in this section comes from the 2003 study of Browe, Golde, & Allen. They maintained that "The factor that reduced problem drinking behaviors…appeared to be the [LLP] "culture:" the peer norms and positive expectations about student-to-student interaction and responsibility that developed within the community for residents' behaviors, even when there was no explicit programming to counter alcohol use or misuse…" (p. 149).

On Alcohol Abuse and Coalitions

At this point, we have already established the fact that there is a significant relationship between alcohol use or misuse and learning-living programs that are deeply entrenched in the nature of student-to-student nets created by this kind of educational structure. Now, allow me to stretch this point a bit further and look at campus-wide and cross-campus coalitions and how it is able to address the problems of alcohol abuse and underage drinking.

To get better understanding of this point, I will be presenting the Esteban and Schafer's 2005 case study. The setting of this study is in Chicago State University which has a reputation for being a "party school" tracing back to over eight decades ago. Consequently, underage drinking and heavy drinking are problems heavily met by this school. Efforts to address these ranged from creation of more university rules concerning purchase and consumption of alcohol, massive educational campaign, working with police departments among many others. One crucial factor in these efforts is the university' recognition of the need to "cooperate with the community," by that the university encouraged more open communication lines with student organizations and student neighborhoods in an effort towards building a university culture which regards irresponsible drinking as unacceptable. In 2000, a coalition of fifty community leaders (from other universities, student organizations, business communities, health institutions etc.) was formed. The coalition, after the 18-month planning process, adopted the "environmental change strategy…This entailed simultaneously, comprehensively, and cooperatively addressing a number of community factors likely to influence teen and youth drinking…the coalition also stimulated a community-wide open forum for parents of CSU area youth on underage drinking" (pp.37-38).

This all the more highlights the fact that we need campus and community coalitions in addressing the alcohol abuse problem. As Zimmerman (2004) adds that coalitions actually provides better communication lines thereby avoiding misunderstandings between the student populations and neighboring areas or communities. The author also cites an example, in "the University of Albany, State University of New York, has emphasized in its coalition with the city of Albany that it is devoted to improving the quality of life both for students living off campus and for their landlords and neighbors. Ensuring that community residents understand the purpose of a coalition helps gain participation and public support for its activities" (p.1).

Conclusion

This article demonstrates to us the importance of coalitions and partnership by analyzing the case of student development and teaching faculty as well campus-wide and cross-campus coalitions aimed at addressing alcohol abuse issues. We have learned that stronger faculty-student and student-student nets built on LLPs provide positive impact on the learning process. We have also learned that coalitions are effective in addressing… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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