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Advancement Planning: Primer for Student Affairs Professionals



The program provides an overview of the leadership demands of today's student affairs senior staff member along with strategies for moving up and maximizing options in an evolving higher education ...

The program provides an overview of the leadership demands of today's student affairs senior staff member along with strategies for moving up and maximizing options in an evolving higher education environment. The presentation outlines the concepts of intentionality and helps participants develop a road map for advancement, as well as offering concrete, tactical advice on how to professionally navigate the recruitment process, assess offers, and negotiate with success.



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  • Quick Introductions & Poll the Audience:Talking PointsIntroduce panelistsWe’ve assembled a veritable treasure trove of experience & perspectives here!While we have a number of ideas and suggestions to impart - - we’ll also look for your contributions & comments throughout this presentation.Let’s consider everyone of us as valuable resources…after all, if it takes a village to raise a child, it certainly takes a community of professionals—an association—to actively foster the development of future leaders!
  • Our presentation is a combination of observations, best practices and workplace realities.Mention the growing accountability to the bottom line, fiscal responsibility, demands for creativity and brand distinction, and need to align programs and services with learning outcomesPANELISTS:What are some of the trends emerging in student affairs other than what is noted above (in notes)? Rae: Briefly describe increasing melding/merging/collaboration of student affairs and academic affairs.Barbara: What about multitasking demands; collapse of positions during times of financial cutbacks; rising expectations?
  • Moving from Point A to Point B takes significant planning, focus, and commitmentSome of these points we will cover in more detail (e.g. Advancement Paradigm along with discussion of size & scope of institution/organization matters)
  • Illustration of typical career progression for many student affairs professionals - - emphasize the progressive stepsTouch on (not yet discuss) traditional versus more current titles at Colleges & UniversitiesPANELISTS:What are other typical progressive career ladders?How might someone progress from Academic Advisor to positions of greater responsibility and scope?What are some job titles that you are seeing with increasing regularity - - that differ from example above?Based on searches you have supported and/or witnessed - - how often does someone become a Dean of Students without have previously served as a unit director or Assistant DOS previously?
  • PANELISTS:Other comments about academic credentials and/or institutional fit?What about the ability to link student life initiatives with academic programs/priorities?Consider addressing this from this angle: what would your current boss say is most important in terms of skill set & experience if your position had to be replaced by a new leader in the next 12 months?
  • PANELISTS:Additional skills you would add here? Rae: Tolerance for ambiguity/flexibility Barbara: Ability to take control & make decisions Lead with conviction
  • Let’s move from a more theoretical framework to practical recommendations to move you along in your career!3 Universal Interview questions Can you do the job? (strengths) Will you love the job? (motivation) Can I stand working with you? (fit)
  • Select a couple of key points to emphasize/will not cover everything in detail on the slide. *Responsibilities versus Accomplishments *Link duties & outcomes with specific jobs *Always submit in PDF, error free formatMust practice what we preach!!!There is a need to remind people that there is absolutely no room for misstep when they are a candidate. They need to follow directions; have carefully written & proofread application documents, and excellent interviewing skills. If they are to inspire others, they must meet a high standard of excellence themselves. PANELISTS:What grabs your attention when reading a candidate’s resume?Provide an example of a “big turn-off” when reviewing a resume.
  • Valerie to lead off - - PANELISTS can also contribute - - let’s poll the audience to see what points they want us to expand upon.Four Basic ParagraphsState the purposeSummarize skills and knowledge area; highlight accomplishmentsBriefly state what you know about the institution/position you’re applying forState why you are a good match for the institution/positionAre there exceptions here? When is it necessary to speak to key qualification outlined in a job announcement in the cover letter?Offer examples of great opening lines & instances when candidates have lost their audience before the mid-point of the letter.
  • PANELISTS:Comment on network with institutional insiders… Who is, and is not, appropriate to contact before interviewing on campus? How do nominations help or hinder someone’s candidacy?
  • Advance Preparation: do’s & don’ts Do research extensively Do conduct outreach to colleagues knowledgeable about an institution of interest Do utilize the search consultant to deepen your insight - - and ask any/all questions If you need an immediate accommodation, alert the search committee chair or search consultant in advance of your visit Do not share information about health concerns, family matters, requirements for vacation time, etc. prematurely Do not blanket institutional leaders with a survey before you get the job! Do not fail to extensively review the institutional, division, and departmental websites; know the recent “news;” if there are issues or problems you uncover, come prepared to discuss how you can address them and help the organization move forwardInterviews are exercises in solution selling - - they are not so much about you as they are about your ability to solve the organization’s and interviewer’s problems.Go back to those 3 basic questions outlined earlier: All interview questions in the universe are a subset of those 3 questions - - 1) Can you do the job? 2) Will you love the job?, and 3) Can I stand working with you? Since all interview questions are a subset of the “Universal 3” you need to determine which question is being asked and bridge to the real question. To do this, you’ll need to determine your talking points: you’ll want to have 3 main points that relate to you and the position you are interviewing for. Organize your talking points in terms of STRENGTHS, MOTIVATION, then FITSample questions 1. Relates to strengths - - as does the classic, Tell me about yourself. 2. Relates to fit - - as does “How do you assess the environment when you begin a new position?” 3. Relates to motivation - - “Why are you a good candidate for this position?” or, “What is it about this job that compels you to apply?”Remember - - interviews with a search consultant are a great warm-up; search consultants may, or may not, have in-depth experience in the position for which they are recruiting, however, they always have a general understanding of the field and current best practices; still need to prepare as the search consultant serves as gatekeeper to the rest of the process. FOR SEARCH COMMITTEE - - realize that often there is no one on the committee who has hands-on experience in the job they are looking to fill. Keep that in mind as you consider language, jargon, and examples of your work.
  • PANELISTS:When you’ve met a talented person just getting started on their professional career, what one piece of sage advice (or recommended action) have you offered to encourage their professional growth and success?
  • PANELISTS:What other resources would you recommend here?

Advancement Planning: Primer for Student Affairs Professionals Advancement Planning: Primer for Student Affairs Professionals Presentation Transcript

    Primer for Student Affairs Professionals
    Valerie Szymkowicz
    Senior Associate
    SJG—The Spelman & Johnson Group
  • ADVANCEMENT PLANNING:Primer for Student Affairs Professionals
    Leadership demands of today’s student affairs senior staff members
    Strategies for moving up & maximizing opportunities
  • Our Presenters:
    Valerie Szymkowicz, Senior Associate,
    SJG—The Spelman & Johnson Group
    • With Contributing Panelists
    • Rae Trachman Perry, Associate Dean for Student Development, Middlesex Community College
    • Dr. Barbara Fienman, Higher Education, Interim Management Specialist
  • It’s All About YOU!!Highlights:-Leadership Demands of Today’s Leader-Moving Up: Right for you?-Back to Basics: Job Search 101-Maximizing your options-Doing due diligence-Handling offers/Negotiating for Success-Building the Talent Pipeline
  • Even Experts Can Learn
    New perspectives
    From student affairs trenches to search committee realities
    Preaching vs. Practice
    Plan - - don’t procrastinate
    Law of Expectations - - employ positively!
    Understand the Advancement Paradigm
    Specialist to Generalist or vice versa?
    Size (and scope) really matters!
    Set and commit to your goals
  • Advancement Paradigm
  • Leadership Demands--Student Affairs
    Academic Credentials & Institutional Fit
    Critical Skills
    Leadership/ visionary orientation/innovation
    Strategic planning & changemanagement
    Student conduct/legal issues/crisis management
    Staff development/supervision
    Budget planning/management/fundraising
    Knowledge of best practices
    Demonstrated commitment to diversity
    Also: political savvy & ability to engage wide range of stakeholders
  • Other Critical Skills
    Oral communication & professional writing skills
    Program planning & implementation
    Assessment evaluation
    Ability to relate to multiple constituencies
    Ability to build cross-cultural understanding & cross-organizational bridges
    Ability to effectively negotiate between competing demands
    Creative problem-solving & entrepreneurial thinking
    Understanding the brand identity of the institution
  • I am ready to make a move!!
    Strengths & limitations assessed
    Ideals, goals & options considered
    Demonstrate best practices with regards to job search behavior
    Must sell myself to get an offer
    Remember: In the entire universe there are only three interview questions!
  • The Resume
    Goal-oriented document
    Concept of “Real Estate”
    Chronological vs. Functional
    Market your experience, institution(s) & associations
    Responsibilities vs. Accomplishments
    Quantify with impressive & true statistics
    Select list of publications & presentations
    Submit in PDF, error free format
  • The Cover Letter
    Carefully composed, substantive communication!
    Not a transmittal letter!
    Four Basic Paragraphs
    Exceptions to the Rule of Thumb
    Speak to the position, it’s unique qualities & special circumstances
    Personalize the letter!
  • Ongoing Preparation
    Due Diligence - - designed to mitigate risks
    Institutional Risks
    Talk to stakeholders, collaborators & supporters
    How will you deliver on what is needed?
    Position Risks - - understand the mandates
    Good to Great
    Personal Risks
  • The Interview
    Advance Preparation
    Interviews are Exercises in Solution Selling
    Great candidates express enjoyment, enthusiasm, & likeability
    Remember the 3 Universal Questions
    Sample Questions
    What is the most important thing you have learned in your career that has prepared you for this position?
    How would those who have worked with you describe your administrative skills?
    Tell us about your role in initiatives on your campus to encourage diversity and strengthen student retention?
  • References
    Plan early, communicate often
    Always provide full contact information - - full name, title, institutional address, phone numbers & email
    Know general availability
    Differentiate between nominations and applications; nominations and references
    Formal versus informal
  • The Offer
    You sell yourself to get the offer
    You negotiate to get the right offer
    You do your due diligence to decide if you are going to accept the negotiated offer
    6 Points to Negotiating: 1)plan, 2)get started, 3)clarify, 4)find alternatives, 5)find agreement, 6)implement
  • Building the Talent Pipeline
    Why pursue this work?
    Service above self
    Encouraging talented individuals to join us
    Identify progressive skill development & advancement steps
    Provide introductions to help others build key relationships
    Building communities of support
    Professional associations
    Online/social networks
  • Exciting Opportunities Await!
    Student Affairs as critical partner
    Lots of opportunity for new ideas, talent, and challenge
    Where do you want to go AND what role is right for you?
    Many different environments to choose from
    Incremental steps, backed up by superior preparation = success!
    It is all about you AND the impact and influence you can have on others.
  • More Details:
    • The New Leader’s 100 Day Action Plan by George Brandt, Jayme Check, and Jorge Pedraza; Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006 (great onboarding suggestions)
    • Visit SJG Recruiting Library for tips & pointers on resumes, cover letters, interviewing, campus visits, references, etc. (www.spelmanandjohnson.com)
    • Other resources?