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And now for a commercial break…

And now for a commercial break…

At this point in my EACE Trending blog series on assessment, you have:

  • Found your institution’s strategic goals or priorities and highlighted any language that pertains to your office’s work.
  • Created a mission statement using some or all of that language culled from institutional priorities and divisional goals as well as keywords obtained from discussions with your staff about the work you do with your students.
  • Learned how Bloom’s Taxonomy language is used to build student learning statements for programming.

Now we are stopping mid-way through learning how to use Bloom’s Taxonomy for a commercial break –to market something that I think will make your lives in the world of programming and assessment easier.

NACE recently introduced definitions of Career Readiness and Competencies for students. These are skills sets – or competencies – that all students should have before they enter the work force. They include the ability to:

  • think critically and problem solve;
  • communicate verbally and in written form;
  • build strong team and collaborative relationships;
  • develop strong computer skills;
  • build leadership qualities;
  • demonstrate professionalism and a strong work ethic;
  • and last but not least, manage one’s career well.

This list is similar to list of competencies my office has used over the past four years to develop programming. Called the Student to Professional Project, we realigned our mission and all our programming, resources and materials to focus on students learning the above competencies. Through this project we went from random to intentional. For example:

In 2010, our office might have developed a new workshop this way:

In June, come home from EACE conference excited about new idea about a workshop. Realize don’t have enough staff or large enough budget for workshop as presented at EACE, so adapt workshop. Present to boss for okay. Boss likes idea and says to move ahead. Create program and checklist. Market. Present. Collapse in ball on floor in exhaustion.

Now, we are much more intentional:

In June, meet with other counselors and boss in office. Discuss where we see gap in skill development among our students this past year. Discussion also includes any feedback from recruiters. Find that our students struggle with networking and their elevator speech. Brainstorm with staff about what specific skills are needed to include in this networking workshop and take time to include benchmarking and ideas from recently attended conferences. Create workshop that teaches those skills. Create assessment instrument that assesses whether students have learned what we intended. Market. Present. Collapse in ball on floor in partial exhaustion, but get up in a few minutes and review assessment. Adjust workshop to improve learning outcome of skill, if needed.

Programming developed for specific competencies not only addresses your students’ challenges but also creates a system that is less random. Instead of playing Wac-a-Mole with student programming,


you are addressing real concerns you and your staff (and your recruiters) have about your students’ progress in their transition from a student to a professional role. Students develop stronger skills where they were lacking and your recruiters start to see changes in student professional behavior. A true win – win – win.

Over the next few blog postings, I am going to describe in more detail how to link your programming to NACE’s new list of competencies and, as a result, align your office with a mission of helping students develop essential professional skills.

About the Author:
Carol Crosby is Assistant Director in Career Services at Bridgewater State University (BSU) in Bridgewater, MA. Her work in higher education has spanned 20 years and she has worked in career services offices for 12 years. She has a M.S. in College Student Personnel from the University of Rhode Island and has attended the HERS Institute at Wellesley College, NACE’s Management Leadership Institute, and the Fulbright International Education Administrators Program in Germany. She has been a member of BSU’s Student Affairs Assessment Committee and has participated on the program review team for accreditation for her office. She presented her office’s approach to assessment as it relates to students’ skill development at NACE’s 2015 Annual Conference in Anaheim, California.



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