EACE contribution by Carol Crosby, Assistant Director in Career Services at Bridgewater State University.
For those of you have been following my blog postings, our office participated for the last few years in a Student to Professional Project: Revamping most resources, materials and programs to imbed opportunities for students to learn and practice professional skills. We also added a process to assess the students’ skill development when possible.
Several exciting things have happened since we began this project:
- The counseling staff now sees most programming as an opportunity for students to learn and/or practice one or more skills;
- The staff also creates new programming or adds to online or paper resources based on what professional skills we have not yet highlighted;
- The staff now has a simple way to assess programming based on skill development;
- Our reports to our division now highlight the skills students are learning through our programming;
Last but not least:
- We now tell our students that our role in their lives is to help them to develop the professional skills necessary for them to transition from a student to a professional role;
- Our staff now likes and uses assessment to see if our students are learning and practicing skills.
Our mission is now simplified, our goals specific and our assessments directed.
I am going to only add one more step to my To Do List for Career Services offices hoping to duplicate this project in their own office:
Developing a Student to Professional Project in your own Career Services Office
- Add the learning and practicing of professional skills to your office’s mission statement;
- Survey employers, faculty and staff in your community to determine these skills;
- Create a list of skills necessary for your students’ professional development;
- Review your office’s materials, on-line presence and programming for missing opportunities for skill development;
- Intentionally create active learning and practicing opportunities for specific skill development;
- Develop and implement assessment processes that measure skill development including the learning and practicing of skills.
- Rinse and Repeat!
Each year, as we review our programming, cross the country to conferences to learn of new workshops, and examine our evaluations from the past year’s programs, we can repeat the above process. Our office will ask these questions each summer:
- What programs, held this past year, failed at skill development?
- What new workshops could we add to our schedule to increase the numbers of skills our students learn through our office?
- What skills on our list of 28 skills have we not covered in our programs, resources and materials yet?
- What skills do our employers tell us may be lacking amongst our students?
With responses to these questions, we can then review our programming, workshops and resources to see what we need to do the next academic year. It’s as easy as that.
In other words, our office, and yours, if you choose to shift to a Skills Development office, can repeat these steps over and over again, year after year, with great success.
As I close this series of blog postings, please know that I am available to answer any questions you may have about our process, the project and how to duplicate this in your own office.
Carol Crosby is Assistant Director in Career Services at Bridgewater State University. She has also worked in Student Affairs at Wesleyan University, University of Connecticut, and Brandeis University. She received her M.S. in College Student Personnel from University of Rhode Island and her B.A. in English from Wheaton College. You can connect with her through LinkedIn or by e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.