Graduates should be able to demonstrate their ability to disseminate scholarly work through public forums. In meeting this competency, students should demonstrate their experience with/ability to. . .
- Develop and share ideas and concepts to students, staff, or faculty groups outside of the CSSA classroom;
Notes: What have I done outside the classroom to share student affairs related ideas? Can I use the CSSA Blog again here? How can I show that concepts from this program inform my daily work routine as Student Services Coordinator? Sharing my ideas on how to best conduct the scholarship selection committee process for the CAS. Coordination of the Dean’s Reception for Rising Scholars – preparing multiple speakers to communicate to students the importance of donor relations and extracurricular involvement. Sharing curriculum integration as a process (concept) with ANS faculty. Meeting with International Programs to explain the benefits of a blog for their department in relation to student connectivity and development. Putting into practice the ideas from the Spirituality in Organizations course when supervising student workers by mentoring and creating a nurturing environment. What else? I need help thinking of how I have taken my learning out of the classroom. I never did a presentation at a student affairs conference, but not everyone uses that type of obvious experience to illustrate mastery of this competency. What about scholarships and study abroad? Can I work them in here too?
In my job, I have had many opportunities to share important ideas with my colleagues. One of the most important comes with the scholarship selection process. When the scholarship committee comes together from the various departments in my college, it is my job to explain the selection process, and how college scholarships are supporting our students. We have a complicated system of scholarship programs and donor support, but I am able to make the process of selecting recipients meaningful and manageable for the members of the committee. I explain that the incoming student scholarships provide a great incentive for graduating high school students to choose OSU, which translates into recruitment. Also, the scholarships, beyond their monetary value, represent a form of recognition to the students showing that OSU is committed to that individual student’s success. For the continuing students, we are showing appreciation for ongoing success by awarding scholarships. This recognition doubles as a benefit to the donors by ensuring that students graduate from college with hopes that they pursue careers in Agriculture-related professions. Communicating this information to the committee each year has helped me to learn the most effective way to take a huge amount of complicated information and distill it into a message that conveys a sense of purpose and intended outcomes. The scholarship committee does not need to know how to work with the OSU Foundation and understand the ledger activity of particular scholarship accounts. They need to know why we are giving the awards and who is eligible. I can translate this learning into future opportunities to give effective presentations by making sure that what I am communicating is meaningful and useful information for my intended audience.
To review some of the information from Competency 5, my first internship was with the International Programs Office (IPO). The plan was to create an International Opportunities Flier for students in the Animal Sciences (ANS) department. But there was so much more to this process than I ever could have imagined. Dr. Joseph Hoff introduced me to the concept of curriculum integration (CI). I learned that the entire process of researching international education sites, building the relationships between ANS faculty and the IPO, determining the needs of the students in ANS majors, and constructing the actual flier with support from the ANS department is all part of the greater idea of CI. The beginning of the project literally required that we share the CI plan with ANS faculty. We needed to present CI as something that would be a benefit to ANS advisors and students. We were initially met with resistance due to the perception that all of this would result in more work for the already over-burdened ANS faculty. However, when the members of ANS realized the potential value of building relationships with overseas institutions and creating a tangible advising tool for their students, they got on board with the idea and things really took off from there. This internship taught me so much about the importance of building relationships with those who you need to work with to bring completion of a project into a reality. Showing everyone involved in a project that they own the results of their efforts provides additional motivation to care about the process and actively participate.
Document: ANS International Opportunities Flier
The CSSA Blog has created a new forum for developing and sharing ideas in student affairs. I have learned from the blog that providing a new avenue to communicate facilitates additional teaching and learning. Now anyone involved in student affairs can be speak in front of their peers, but without doing so in a classroom or workshop format. In this case, developing the forum for teaching is the precursor to the sharing of ideas.
Although I never did do a presentation at a student affairs conference, I did create a proposal. I chose to create a presentation on study abroad and anti-Americanism to be presented at a NACADA conference in Hawaii. The proposal process taught me what goes into preparing for presenting at a conference. I learned to create an outline, learning outcomes, and plan for audience involvement by following the NACADA proposal guidelines. When the next opportunity arises to present at a conference, I will be prepared to complete the proposal process.
- Incorporate original and innovative techniques that are appropriate and engaging in sharing these ideas; and
Notes: What have I done that is new and fresh? How is the creation of the CSSA blog innovative? Is an online forum for discussion of student affairs issues an original idea? What have I done in the way of innovation in my job? Scholarship process – Info to committee (all faculty), criteria, following Fin Aid and FERPA guidelines – I design the process and presentation of the college scholarship program – This is all relevant and there are ways that my knowledge of student affairs has guided me toward innovative ways of engaging in programs through my work. How do I turn my experiences outside the classroom into relevant information that meets this competency?
While the CSSA Blog may not be original by virtue of simply being a blog, it is innovative in its functionality. I learned from the start that the standard blog format of one person journaling and subscribers commenting on those journal entries would not work for the purposes of the CSSA Blog. So, the innovation came in the decision on how exactly the blog would be used. Jessica and I decided on a core group of authors who would be the people responsible for creating entries into the blog. The authors were chosen very intentionally by selecting a new student, a part time student, a 2nd year student, a faculty member, and an alumna. Each author has their own page that is a short bio with a picture and a comment tool on the bottom of the page. The blog administrator (me) then encourages the authors to create entries each week while prompting them with topics for discussion. Meanwhile, I sent an email out to all CSSA students, faculty, and staff encouraging them to check out the launch of the blog and become subscribers. Now, I obviously am not the person creating the content within the blog. However, I am responsible for the creation and maintenance of this innovative forum for sharing ideas. Since the blog started in November 2007, as of March 27, 2008, there have been about 50 blog entries and about 40 comments on those entries; we have gone from our initial 5 authors to a total of 8; and we have 45 subscribers! I have learned that technological progress has created many uncharted opportunities for the student affairs profession to share ideas in very new and original ways.
Transitioning back to curriculum integration… The following document is a quick look at the agenda for the first curriculum integration meeting where International Programs and Animal Sciences faculty came together. This method of presenting curriculum integration as a process rather than just as a means toward creating a flier for ANS students was very original. Although it is all Joe’s idea, I was lucky to be involved in the innovative approach to establish the relationship between international programs and Animal Sciences with learning occurring on both sides.
- Reflect on the experience and make constructive changes and improvements.
Notes: When I determine what activities will work for this competency, I need to think of ways that I can make improvements. What should “reflection” look like with regard to analyzing presentations of conceptual materials?
This part is ongoing. Each time I log into the CSSA Blog, present information to students at a study abroad fair, or talk to an advisor about the ANS international opportunities flier, I make note of what can be done to improve upon what currently exists. This part of the competencies serves as a reminder to me that I should always be engaging in reflections. There is no perfect way to teach or convey a message. We do the best that we can based upon our level of preparedness and understanding of audience. However, we can always be more prepared and more knowledgeable, and we can never completely know our audience. So, the learning will never end in this regard. I have learned through this program that sometimes a project needs to be revised or even restarted from scratch when intended outcomes are not being met. I am fine with that now because I know it is not so important that I constantly rush to produce content and programs. What is important is that learning outcomes are established and actions are intentional from the beginning. There is no true “completion” of any project because we can always improve upon works in progress or that which has already been developed.