In each case someone is trying to sell something. Educators are trying to sell the image of enhanced status. Human Resources is selling the idea of a less clerical or bureaucratic function. Use of the term Associate tries to sell the idea of a more collaborative relationship.
Critical thinking is a must to defend against those who want to persuade us with fancy titles and terminology to buy something, to use a service or adopt a certain opinion. It's important to be little skeptical of these changes in vocabulary, because using a fancier description is so much easier than actually delivering the quality we should expect. Critical thinkers require them to mean what they say, to tell it like it is.