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And the Award Goes to…

And the Award Goes to…

EACE Blog contribution by Beth Settje, Senior Assistant Director, Internship Program – Center for Career Development at the University of Connecticut

Awards time is here. No, not the Oscars, the Golden Globes, the CMAs or the People’s Choice. Instead, I am referring to the awards and acknowledgments doled out at the national higher education conferences taking place all spring/early summer. Did you think of those?

Recently I attended a national student affairs conference’s award ceremony. Admission to this ceremony was by ticket only, though the winners’ names and awards were acknowledged in numerous places, such as the conference program and on posters in the registration area. These individuals had or are major contributors to the field and were all well deserving of their awards. In addition to these individuals, programs and groups were also recognized for outstanding efforts made on their home campuses. Two thoughts went through my mind as I listened to each person or group’s contribution, and/or their acceptance speeches.

These pillars of the profession, these outstanding leaders, were gracious, respectful and humble. They shared funny stories – both personal and professional. Their accomplishments too, are ones that are in our grasp, should we aspire to reach them. Some were published authors and editors, others were program developers, and still others had achievements that were campus centric, yet offered quality best practices that others could emulate. These conferences are our time to shine, in any number manner of ways yet for the most part, the vast majority of us don’t think to do it. We often think our work is good for our campus, but not worthy of national recognition. Or we tell ourselves to be humble and not self promote. Or we just don’t make the time to complete the necessary paperwork, letting our day-to-day tasks take over our own professional development. What great project or program did you complete this year, and not submit it as a presentation or paper, nor submit it for a regional or national award?

Those of us who work with students on a daily basis are often amazed at their adventures, and equally amazed at the fact that many leave these incredible feats off of their résumés, believing it either does not belong, is not relevant, or just forgot to include it. The same then can be applied to us – when was the last time you updated your résumé? When was the last time you nominated yourself or a co-worker for an award? When was the last time you had this type of discussion with your supervisor?

If we don’t promote ourselves, and make ourselves relevant, then we are not setting a good example for our students. Even more critically, if we don’t demonstrate that we are doing work worthy of recognition, we may face criticism and budget cuts from upper administration.

So as we start winding down this spring semester and do those assessments on how our year really went, start taking notes. In planning for the next academic cycle, think of what you are offering, and what you did that can be considered for an award, both regionally and nationally. You never know, you might even win.

Beth Settje

Beth Settje

Beth S. Settje has been working in higher education for over 20 years, and in career development for the past 12, with a focus on internships since 2005. Beth earned her BS in Business Administration from Arcadia University and her M.Ed in College Student Personnel from the University of Maryland.  Beth currently works at The University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT, as the Senior Assistant Director, Internship Program.

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