FT: Engagement and success look different for everyone. Keep an open mind.
I didn’t realize it until I started writing this post, but I’ve been working in student engagement for a long time.
When I was a camp counselor, engagement meant taking the time to chat with a camper who seemed left out of social circles. I’ll never forget hearing our director emphasize the importance of engagement at every single staff meeting. Now, so many years later, I’m starting to realize the value of all those small connections. Success was simple then – happy campers.
When I was working with pre-pharmacy students, engagement meant connecting them with shadowing opportunities, student organizations, and undergraduate research. Giving them practical applications for their coursework helped strengthen their commitment to academic goals. Believe it or not, success wasn’t always a summer internship or admission to their top choice school. Sometimes success was supporting a student during a tough conversation with their parents about pursuing different goals.
For my nursing students, engagement means hearing their stories about balancing full time work, parenthood, and school; reassuring them that it’s okay to only take one course this term. For these students, success isn’t always graduating in a certain timeframe. The real victories are when students discover a new and rewarding subspecialty during a clinical experience course, or are able to finally apply for that promotion opportunity because they graduate next month.
How do we defining what engagement and success look like in our work? There will always be expectations from those above us in the organizational chart, but is that the bottom line? It’s important that we give ourselves some time and some space to create our own personal philosophies. Check out the link below for more details on and some prompts to get you going.
What does engagement look like in your office? How do you define your own success in supporting students?
Freitag, D. (2011). Creating a Personal Philosophy of Academic Advising. Retrieved from NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site: