Competency 8 – The Developing Professional

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8) The Developing Professional

Graduates should be able to demonstrate their ability to carefully examine and challenge their own personal and professional values, worldviews, assumptions and biases. In meeting this competency, students should demonstrate their experience with/ability to…

Seek out a comprehensive and well-rounded graduate and professional experience
Throughout my career in student affairs I have identified as a generalist. I have been able to blend my own unique mix of technology and student development theory. Someday I hope to be a Dean of students. It is because of this goal that I have intentionally constructed a graduate experience which is broad in experience, yet comprehensive in learning. My area of specialization enables me to be a constant advocate for students in any position that I am in.

Because of my generalist tendencies, I attended a myriad of sessions at the NASPA National Conference. Sessions that I attended included: diverse higher practices; best practices in student conduct; Native Americans and collegiate mascots; anti-racist White activism; alcohol education and assessment; students of color and learning communities; and infusing social justice within leadership programs.

I think that the CSSA First Year Seminar and the CSSA Programs and Functions of College Student Services provided me with insight (functional area descriptions, best practices in student affairs, current policies, etc.) that convinced me to continue my generalist journey. It has been tempting to specialize in a functional area, however, my passion remains in what I call the student affairs buffet.

One aspect of my experience that really fits in well with my generalist theme was my teaching practicum. As a CSSA student, I do not have to teach. I can go through the program without ever stepping foot into a classroom as anything other than a student. I really feel that teaching is something that enriches the soul and it allows for an exchange of knowledge (multi-directional) that I feel blessed to have experienced. I hope to incorporate classroom teaching into my next job as I feel that I have something positive to offer as a student affairs professional who is comfortable with teaching.

Develop an understanding of the value of community involvement and participation beyond the (OSU) campus
During my time at UIC, I was actively involved in student conduct discussions which directly affected the surrounding community. Students were hosting parties which were disrupting community members. Community relations were critical to UIC’s mission as an urban campus. It was essential that we create space for dialogues in which the UIC community and the external constituents could discuss relevant issues and concerns.

Universities do not exist in a bubble. The community in which they are situated adds value to the overall experience of the institution. It is important to have community support and involvement. In my future position as a student conduct officer or as a dean of students, it will be crucial that I have a relationship with community leaders. Campus life extends off of the campus and it is critical that a student affairs practitioner realizes this reality.

Reflect on graduate, professional, and personal development experiences toward greater self-understanding
I think that my entire blog provides content for this competency section. Each category represents a portion of my thoughts on a variety of topics.

Examine and question their “fit” within profession by clearly articulating personal strengths and potential contributions to the field
I think the personal statement that is on the portfolio homepage illustrates my strengths and potential contributions to the field of student affairs. It is a constantly evolving document which changes as I learn and grow as a professional.

An example of my growth as a graduate student and as a professional can be found in a professional development exercise in which I create my ideal position. These thoughts are from 2004. The position was extremely tech oriented and it really shows where I was when I started my program.

Engage in thoughtful career planning and decision making exercises
Thus far, my career plan has stayed on track. I left my position at UIC knowing full well that the transition from full-time employment to graduate school and then back to full-time employment would be challenging. I am currently seeking a position that will enable me to fulfill my professional and personal goals. I hope to be a dean of students in ten years. To accomplish this, I am currently applying for positions in student conduct and advocacy. I think that significant experience in this area will enable me to transition to my ultimate goal.

In our CSSA Professional Development in College Student Services Administration class we are learning about searching for jobs, negotiating life and career transitions, personal vision statements, authentic leadership, and personal wellness. Life transitions/situations almost derailed my OSU career so I am thankful for the support that I received from my OSU network.

A career gambit which I feel was a good decision occurred last summer. I applied to a position, interviewed, and was eventually offered a job. I had conversations with a variety of OSU student affairs practitioners and with my extended student affairs network. I decided that it was in my best interest to continue my full-time graduate student experience for another year. I had to rely on advice, experience, and my own instincts to make the decision. I am INFP on the MBTI, perhaps that had something to do with my decision…