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Campus Partner Commitment Continuum

Campus Partner Commitment Continuum

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

Sometimes we operate in a silo, whether intentionally or not. We get very caught up in the latest project, student crisis, personnel situation, etc. and forget about how our efforts effect and are effected by others outside of our department. This phenomenon is not unique to just a few departments or universities; though I have not done formal research, I don’t think I am going out on a limb to say it likely happens at your school too.

So if you accept that at times, you and/or your department may operate in a silo mentality, you will want to ask yourself, “Is that acceptable or are you looking for change?” If the latter, how are you being strategic in your approach to breaking free of that mentality? At the Center for Career Development at UConn, we very deliberately plan which campus partners make sense to cultivate, as well as to identify just how strong a relationship we want with each one. To plan appropriately for this behavior, we have modified a Six Stage Relationship Building Continuum that allows us to gauge the relationship, from where it is now to where we want it to be.

Adapted from our University’s Foundation, which cultivates donor relationships, we created the Campus Partner Commitment Continuum. By anticipating our department

needs and identifying key figures on campus, we have intentionally developed programs matching our department goals. And because it is a continuum, it is fluid, allowing for movement and flexibility, throughout the academic year. Sometimes the relationship moves forward, and others backward, but either way, the decisions are thoughtful and as proactive as possible.

Campus-Partner-Commitment-ContinuumThere are six stages in the Continuum: Ignorance, Awareness, Interest, Experience, Participation and Ownership. With each stage is a set of questions that need to be asked regarding your perceived knowledge how much an entity knows and utilizes your department. By answering these questions, you can decide how much or how little time you want to devote to the partnership. You can also rate if you want the relationship to stay where it is or if you want it to move. A healthy continuum will have organizations that are in the correct place, as well as those who are poised to move (up or down). You also have to consider how you will work with those departments that may want more from you than you are prepared to offer.

Revisit the continuum a few times a year, when you do goal setting and when you check-in to see if you are on track to meet them. You can compare your partnership progress with what was intended and adjust as needed. You also can, but don’t have to, put an end date on the continuum, given that some relationships are destined to be short term and others longer.

I, along with Neal Robinson and Nancy Bilmes, presented the continuum at the 2013 EACE Conference and are happy to share it with you, as well as answer questions. For a copy of the continuum and the questions you must ask to align the organizations in the correct category, email me at beth.settje@uconn.edu.

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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