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. . .
- Articulate and demonstrate their own ethics and standards of good practice within the profession;
Notes: Determine difference between ethics and values. What is the difference between my values and ethics in this part of the competency as compared to my values and ethics with regard to leadership?
Hopefully by this point, my ethics and standards of good practice are evident throughout my portfolio. My main statement in this regard can be found in Competency 1, section 2. The ongoing challenge for me is to share my ethics with others through my words and actions. The only way to accomplish this is to remain vigilant in my adherence to these ethics. When opportunities arise where I am able to share with others, which happens to be on a daily basis, I have to continually remember that all of my actions should be informed by my ethical beliefs. When a student worker hears me speaking to a parent on the phone and kindly sharing why I cannot release certain information about a student, I am communicating my standards of good practice through my actions. The student worker is able to recognize the appropriate way to handle the same type of situation should I not be present the next time a similar call comes to our office. When I am in a staff meeting and policies are being created that do not reflect well upon our mission to support students, I have an opportunity to verbally express my ethical commitment to services that result in student success. In order to insert my beliefs, I need to have the courage to challenge propositions by being articulate, cooperative and able to back up my statements with supporting information. When an organization that I work with engages in actions that are in opposition to my ethical standards, I need to know how to address my concerns without putting others on the defense, while communicating the importance of my beliefs. Overall, I have learned in my experience that I should continue to expand my list of ethical standards and always look for opportunities to learn from others who share my beliefs. Everyone has different approaches to inserting their ethics into their work. I can pick and choose the techniques that work for me when learning from others and applying those standards to my own professional environment.
- Articulate and demonstrate their own style and values within a leadership capacity;
Notes: Explain my style and values as a leader. Include examples from Org & Admin and Programs and Functions.
In Competency 3, Section 2, I introduced a mind-map of my leadership style. I believe in, both through my words and my actions, leading by trusting students and employees, keeping open lines of communication, mentoring, and nurturing. Trust comes in the form of allowing people to work unsupervised and letting them make their own decisions. Communication should be considered by the environment where the communication occurs, awareness of nonverbal cues, active listening, and attentive response. Mentoring happens simply by leading by example and establishing standards of good practice. Nurturing, the most neglected leadership trait in most work environments, is achieved by realizing that each employee who comes to work cannot be detached from the person, so work should be meaningful and enjoyable. Now that I have described my leadership style, I have to be able to put these beliefs into practice through my words and actions in my professional endeavors. I have learned that situations often arise that challenge one or more of my leadership beliefs. In these situations, I can often look to other leadership traits to bring balance back to the system. For instance, when I am trying to trust an employee who blatantly behaves inappropriately, I have to rely on my mentoring beliefs to provide guidance to the person so that they know how to behave correctly in order to re-gain trust. If another situation arises where a student worker is not sharing information (communicating) with me, I may need to address the nurturing element by asking if things are going alright for her outside of work. The emphasis on nurturing might open her up to communicate and bring balance back to the leadership equation. Another thing I have learned is that often leadership is thrust upon us before we even realize that we have taken the lead on something. So, I always try to apply my leadership beliefs to any situation in case it should come to pass that I am looked to for guidance as the leader.
Following is a vision statement that I completed in one of my courses. I learned during the exercise that my desires in life are fairly simple. I want to be happy and help others succeed. Before engaging in this brief assignment, it was a daunting thought to try and articulate my own personal vision statement. But it was actually quite easy to write, and my aspirations are clearly conveyed in this brief page of (terribly handwritten) text.
- Develop an understanding of the value of community involvement and participation beyond the OSU campus;
Notes: How should I prove that I have developed such an understanding? Provide examples of things I have done off of the OSU campus. Host family for ELI students. What else? NACADA conference and Exceptional Manager Workshop.
The university is part of the greater community, whether we consider that community to be local or global. All of our actions result in an eventual effect on our communities. The students we teach today will become leaders all around the world, taking with them what they learned while in contact with each of us in the university. I have had ample opportunities to maintain my involvement in the community through my current job. For example, when the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce brought industry leaders from all over the state to convene at City Hall to learn about programs being offered through OSU, I was the chose representative of the College of Agricultural Sciences. I sat on a panel of university leaders and we answered questions from the community members. I came to realize that many people outside of the university system see our institutions as a sort of gated tower of research where the community is kept unaware of what we are doing. The questions that I was able to answer were very helpful to the community members, although most of the answers that I gave I had mistakenly assumed people already knew. This alerted me to the fact that if we don’t communicate what we are doing in the institution with the outside world, then people don’t know what our mission is or how we even benefit the greater community by existing. This was a major epiphany for me, because I have been in the comfortable confines of the university system for so long that I had forgotten that not everyone reads “OSU Today.” Maintaining relationships with community members and organizations is the key to realizing true success for our educational institutions. If we do not know the needs of the community, how can we prepare our students to graduate and enter that world? I plan to seek additional opportunities in the future to be involved with the greater community to learn of their needs in order to better inform my actions in the educational institution.
- Engage in thoughtful career planning and decision making exercises; and
Notes: What am I doing beyond obtaining my Ed.M. in preparation for my ideal career in student affairs? What sorts of decision making exercises do I engage in?
Since completing my undergraduate program in 2002, I have been working in the university system and developing particular skills in order to take me where I want to go professionally. At Western Oregon University, I enjoyed two years of increasing responsibilities as the Transcript and Verifications Clerk. In that position, I learned the internal workings of a Registrar’s Office and electronic student information system. I also gained useful experience supervising students and becoming cross-trained to fill other positions within the Registrar’s Office. When making the transition to my current position, I decided that I wanted to go to graduate school and further my knowledge of enrollment management as a profession as well as explore careers in international programs. So, during my time in the CSSA program and in my current job, I have focused on engaging in projects and training that enhances my knowledge and experience working in enrollment management and international programs, as well as various other functional areas of the university. My countless hours using Banner and Datawarehouse have given me a nice background of knowledge that I can put to use if I transition back into enrollment management. If I choose to pursue a career in international programs, I have a huge number of projects and experiences that I can refer to as part of the CSSA program that will inform others of my competency with international programs and knowledge of multicultural issues. I have been very intentional about how I have arrived at this point in my career. I plan to continue developing my resume of skills and experiences while always looking for opportunities to enhance my knowledge, whether that be through additional responsibilities in my current job, or making a transition into an entirely new career in academia.
As an Individual Learning Activity in a CSSA course, I created a plan to become director of a study abroad program at a small public university. During the process, I learned how to search for a position, determine if my current activities are resulting in applicable learning outcomes, and most importantly, engage in careful planning in order to achieve my career aspirations.
The following handout gave me some great ideas as to the competencies required of a person seeking a career in today’s global economy. I learned that there are many more competencies to consider if I wish to be a successful professional in an international career. The learning never ends!
Comment: Are there specific next steps for you after you graduate this term? What do you want to work on next?
After I graduate I plan to focus my attention on my current position in order to find the potential learning opportunities available to me without having to change jobs. Eventually I will have to look elsewhere to take that next step toward my career goals. But at this point I feel that there is much more for me to gain from my current role as Student Services Coordinator. I would like to explore the possibility of creating a miniature student affairs unit within the CAS Academic Programs Office where students can have Agriculture related experiences from targeted functional areas of student affairs. For instance, I might work with Cary Green on some of his ideas to create a mentoring program, mock interview sessions, academic tutoring, comprehensive study abroad services for Agricultural Sciences students, and other programs that could be administered by me through our office. In the meantime, I will be seeking opportunities to enhance my skills by working with as many different colleagues, students, and professional organizations as possible. Hopefully I will even get to finally do a site visit at Lincoln University in New Zealand.
- Examine and question their “fit” within the profession by clearly articulating personal strengths and potential contributions to the field.
Notes: What strengths and potential contributions can I list as proof that I fit in my career of choice?
The idea of “fit” is always something that I propose be considered when I participate on search committees. Many times I have seen job applicants with the perfect skill set on paper be turned down for a position due to a lack of “fit” with the personality of the team, comparative professional mission, or overall working environment. Often a person with a lesser set of applicable skills will instead be hired because of a perceived “fit” with those very same elements that contributed to the decline of the other applicant. I am well aware of this concept and ready to consider my own strengths and weaknesses as they may contribute to my “fit” with future professional positions. For example, when considering my leadership style, I need to seek a position where my beliefs will align with the existing organizational culture. If I come into an office preaching trust and nurturing when the history has been distrust and robotic adherence to rules, I may have to reconsider how will my beliefs would be received. It may be that my style of leadership is exactly what that department needs. Or it may be a supervisory position doomed to failure. Either way, I need to be attentive to the possibility of a good fit, or lack thereof. As far as contributions to the field are concerned, having finished an educational program in student affairs does not automatically make me the best candidate for positions in all of the functional areas of student affairs. For instance, I might see a great position open up as a Residence Hall Director. I could probably share enough knowledge of student affairs and experience working at universities to become a reasonable candidate for the position. But the position may not at all be aligned with my past and future contributions to the field of student affairs. It would be more reasonable for me to consider positions in international programs since this is where I plan to focus my future personal and professional development. Being in alignment with my own goals will help me to provide the best possible educational environment to the students in my functional area since I will have the requisite experiential expertise to contribute to overall student success.
Very early in the CSSA program, I created an ideal job description for myself where I was director of an international programs office. I learned to identify the skills that I currently possess (although I possess many more now than I did at the time that I completed this assignment!), to consider my career goals, and to create a statement of my own personal philosophies. It is really interesting to look at this assignment from the very beginning of my program and compare it to where I am at now. So, with that, I conclude my CSSA portfolio.
Document: Ideal Job and My Skills and Philosophy
Comment: What have you discovered and/or reaffirmed about your fit in the Student Affairs profession?
Response: Before I had ever even heard of the CSSA program, I had already come to the decision that I would be pursuing a career in student affairs. I share the same message now that I shared at job interviews for positions in student affairs five years ago: During my time as an undergraduate at Western Oregon University, a certain advisor for WOU’s TRIO program changed my life in ways that he will never know. Ever since then, I have wanted to give back to students by sharing my enthusiasm for the college experience. College is a place of opportunities and expanding horizons. I thrive on that atmosphere and sincerely believe that often the greatest teachers during a student’s academic career are the ones outside of the classroom. Completing the CSSA program has only served to greatly reinforce my desire to give back to the students of the future. In the past I felt that I was a mentor through my contact with students in my office within the university. The difference now is that I recognize I am an educator with the university as my classroom – an educator who is passionate about the subject of helping students succeed.