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CREATING A STUDENT AFFAIRS CAREER STRATEGY

Five Career Strategy Components Part 2

3. Planning for Professional Development

Have your supervisors ever asked you to complete a “PD plan”? If not, shame on them! If so, did you take it seriously? You should have. Your professional development is key to keeping your mind and your career fresh and to con­structing your career strategy. Closely tied to the concepts of lifelong learning and extending your experiences, professional development is about putting your career plan on paper and deciding when, where, and how you will continue to develop and with whom you hope to interact and learn. Now, I know you may be thinking, “PD takes money, and neither my institution nor I have any to spare.” Although professional development can be costly in some respects, it is important to get creative and think outside of the norm when planning for your professional development. Methods of resourceful and innovative professional development will be examined in Chapter 6.

4. Networking or Connecting

How many times have you heard someone say, “This is such a small field”? My guess is frequently. However, not everyone feels this way, particularly if they are just entering the student affairs world or making the transition from another aspect of higher education or nonprofit management. It is essential that you think about the methods you want to employ to seek out others—peers, men­tors, and faculty colleagues—in higher education to build relationships and assist you along your career path. We use both the terms networking and con­necting because we know that people react differently to these kinds of terms. People tend to think of networking as something for the extroverted that occurs in large spaces with a seemingly excessive amount of individuals. This percep­tion can be overwhelming; thus, we simultaneously use the term connecting, which we define as getting to know others through commonalities.

We encourage you to use whichever term and method feel authentic to you, in both philosophy and format. We also want to mention that politics can come into play with this tactic. Politics are real at higher education insti­tutions, whether public or private, within the larger field, and with external constituents. Approaches to networking or connecting and navigating poli­tics will be offered in Chapter 7.

 5. Self-Reflection

If you have ever created and implemented an assessment for one of your office’s programs or events, you have likely asked students to partake in some self-reflection. Do you practice that yourself as well? If so, kudos! If not, I challenge you to do so. And, it is up to you to determine how to reflect. Some examples of how we know student affairs educators engage in reflec­tion will be offered; however, what works for me may not work for you and vice versa. I encourage you to “do you” when it comes to reflection. Try various techniques and determine what works for you. Then recognize that practice makes productive—the more you engage in self-reflection, the more productive that process will become for you. Reflection on self-reflection will occur in Chapter 8.

 By Sonja Ardoin

Click on the source code STYSG4 to receive a 20% discount

The Strategic Guide to Shaping Your Student Affairs Career by Sonja Ardoin, March 2014, 192 pp, 6″ x 9″, Paper, 9781579229580, $24.95, E-Book, 9781579229603, $19.99

 
 

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