Two weeks ago many of us were able to escape like snowbirds and fly south to Tampa for ACPA 2015. I found this convention to be one of the best — not only because of the weather.
If you were caught by Mother Nature in the North, or by your university’s budgets, I want to provide you with an idea about why this convention was memorable—the strength of the programs.
The Commission for Career Services sponsors five programs each year that demonstrate best practices in Career Services, scholarly research, and innovation. Here are a few things I found to be educational and encouraging.
1. Practitioners are also scholars.
I think we often segment practitioners from faculty members in terms of research. The sponsored programs this year were proof practitioner scholars exist.
Ashleigh Brock (University of Richmond) and Dr. Jim Barber (William & Mary) presented their quantitative and qualitative research examining the effectiveness of career development courses. What began as Ashleigh’s question regarding courses she taught resulted in a collaborative project with a faculty member that allowed reflection on how we gauge the success of these courses.
Jessica Turos and Jeffrey Jackson, (Bowling Green State University), sought to better understand the recruiting strategies of employers and specifically how generational characteristics influence the process through their own research project. The results gave conference participants an opportunity to discuss the influence of current and future trends on the work of Career Services.
2. Integrating best practices from other industries is key.
Higher Education graduate programs provide a solid foundation in student development and though these theories may be our home, we can look to other industries for new approaches.
Heather White (University of Florida) and Farouk Dey (Stanford University) presented change in Higher Education/Career Services using John Kotter’s theory from business and applying it for change within their organizations. Case studies from the University of Florida, Stanford University, and George Mason University were provided to illustrate effectiveness for application in our own work.
Kelvin Rutledge, Katie Finney, and Charlie Ricker (Florida State) combined their backgrounds in business, marketing, and higher education to develop a strategy of infusing marketing principles in their work by examining community, culture, and context. They provided examples of the effectiveness of these principles in creating a greater presence amongst the stakeholders.
3. Theory is the core of our work. Get back to theory.
The convention was also encouraging because of the presenters who demonstrated their work was grounded in theory—and theory that can be applied at a variety of institutions.
Richard Morales (Kennedy-King Community College) presented how he is incorporating Social Cognitive Theory, Systems Theory Framework, and others to build a Career Center from the ground up. With a mixture of observation as well as theory and research, he is developing a customized application to work effectively with his predominantly first-generation students of color population.
Whether this learning seem profound or not, I hope it has piqued your interest to learn about these presenters and their work. Could you be the next presenter?
This post is part of our #SACareer series, addressing careers in student affairs, careers outside of student affairs, and the work of career services professionals. Read more about the series in Jake Nelko’s intro post. Each post is a contribution by a member or friend of the Commission for Career Services from ACPA. Our organization exists to benefit the careers of career services professionals, student affairs professionals, and anyone supporting students in the career endeavors. For more information about how to get involved with the Commission for Career Services or the #SACareer blog series, contact Jake Nelko at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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