Competency 5 – Program Planning

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5) Program Planning

Graduates should be able to demonstrate their understanding of and ability to design and execute high quality programs (i.e. seminars, workshops, trainings or other similar experiences that are meant to facilitate development and learning that are thoughtful, engaging, and learner-centered). In meeting this competency, students should demonstrate their experience with/ability to…

Design original programs including the identification of resources, needs, and goals
I think I came to OSU so that I could have a sabbatical from program planning. My position at the UIC Wellness Center kept me extremely busy from a programming standpoint. I was involved in planning web site accessibility and usability workshops for my fellow UIC student affairs colleagues as well as co-planning Wellness Center workshops/programs. From time to time, I would offer internal trainings/workshops for Wellness Center staff as well as for our collaborative partners. Workshop topics included: campus marketing, graphic design, and web site creation.

In my first year as a CSSA student I noticed that there was a significant need for technology knowledge amongst my cohort. I decided to create a series of technology workshops which would be framed around technology for student affairs practitioners. The workshops occurred once a week for an entire term. I made sure that the workshops took place in a computer lab so that students could have a kinesthetic experience. Students were able to work with graphics in PhotoShop and html in Dreamweaver.

Throughout my practicum in Student Conduct I was able to create unique combinations of restorative sanctions for OSU students. I believe that this falls within the realm of “original program design.” I would craft sanctions that would benefit each student and ideally keep them connected to appropriate resources which matched their needs and goals.

Market programs appropriately

My previous experiences in program promotion at the University of Northern Iowa and at the University of Illinois at Chicago provided me with significant practical knowledge in marketing and public relations. In fact, my undergraduate degree is in public relations with a minor in marketing. During my previous position at UIC, I was the marketing specialist which meant that I was in charge of promotion and marketing of all UIC Wellness Center programs, office resources, and events. I utilized a variety of promotional mediums including: flyers, table tents, listservs, banners, web content/graphics, campus television, student orientation presentations, and newspaper advertisements. It was a unique position as I was using my public relations/marketing skills in a higher education setting. The audience was an internal entity which allowed me to have a greater level of advertising control. In other words, I was in a unique position which I sometimes called the “marketing fishbowl.”

Although I was not involved in the creation and promotion of a lot of programs at OSU, I feel that I was able to effectively promote the CSSA Technology Workshop series via weekly emails and in-class announcements.

The OSU Success website project required me to utilize the marketing skills that I had developed at UIC. I came up with a unique type of t-shirt for the project. I thought that a retro ringer shirt would contrast nicely with the “rough” graphics of the website. The t-shirts were worn by OSU staff and faculty as a way to generate conversations regarding the website. The vendor who created the OSU Success website worked with me to create a logo for the shirts. The logo seamlessly integrated with the website’s look and feel. The t-shirts generated both positive and negative comments. I feel that at as long as people are talking about your promotional tool than you have done your job.

Facilitate the implementation of programs
I feel that this section has the potential to be redundant due to its position, therefore, I will attempt to provide examples of learning/experiences which have not already been mentioned.

I created weekly in-services for the staff at the UIC Wellness Center because I felt that it would be beneficial for technology competency of the office staff. Prior to the in-services, I was constantly being asked to provide technical support for office staffers. I believed that it would be more efficient if people were able to support themselves. A benefit of this was that I was not being pulled away from my primary marketing duties. I broached the idea during a staff meeting and it was well received.

A program that I am especially proud of occurred during my second year at UIC. I was asked to create a workshop/presentation which would educate incoming resident assistants about UIC student affairs. I came up with the idea of a UIC Jeopardy game. I designed a PowerPoint presentation which functioned just like the television show. It had sounds from the show and consisted of over 150 slides. I worked with a colleague at the Wellness Center to facilitate the program. We divided the students into teams. Each team had a team captain and a scorekeeper. I facilitated the discussion while my colleagues ensured that scores were recorded appropriately. The “game” lasted for 2 hours and was extremely successful. In fact, I was asked to refresh the design/content and ended up presenting it to the entire Dean of Student division which included: Career Services, the Counseling Center, Financial Aid, International Services, and Student Development Services.

Evaluate the effectiveness of programs in meeting desired goals and outcomes
During my time at the UIC Wellness Center I worked on several satisfaction surveys which measure the effectiveness of our programs in relation to meeting specific learning outcomes. Each evaluation was specific to the program or workshop that was being presented. At the time, I was not aware of the importance of effective program evaluation. After all, I was in charge of promotion of a program and not the quality of its outcomes. I have realized during my graduate program that without effective evaluations and specific outcomes then it does not matter that a program was marketed effectively.

Due to time limitations, I was not able to appropriately evaluate the CSSA Technology Workshop Series. I did receive anecdotal feedback from program participants on a weekly basis. I used feedback to tweak each week’s program content in an effort to balance what people wanted to learn and what I thought they should learn. A lot of the participants wanted to learn about technologies which would assist them with their portfolio while I had hoped to create a program which developed their overall technology competency.