CURRENT ARTICLE • February 21st helping students find a vocation

Hearing the Call: Helping Students Find a Vocation, Not Just a Job

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Ask any potential student or their parents about their top concerns when choosing a college, and “employability” will likely be on the list. A host of societal factors have combined to make this true: First, the Great Recession of 2008 made families much more concerned about the cost/benefit rationale for higher education, with the hope that the increasingly expensive investment will pay off in greater lifetime earnings. Second, businesses increasingly work with colleges and universities to provide much-needed input on the real-world skills graduates need to demonstrate, while also providing subtle (or not-so-subtle) pressure on institutions to train graduates to be ready to work from day one. Finally, governmental oversight and regulations such as the “gainful employment” rules have turned the spotlight on how effectively institutions are preparing their graduates to find jobs.

OTHER RECENT ARTICLES

Thoughtful Staff Management in Five Steps February 19

Thoughtful Staff Management in Five Steps

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Formal reports and general discussions within the academy about department or school productivity focus almost exclusively on the work of the faculty. This accounts for the attention now being paid to the chairs’ evaluations of faculty that target strategies designed to maintain high performance and, in some cases, to drive improvement. While it is difficult to argue that this approach is inappropriate, ask almost any chair how their department would fare without the support provided by their staff, and they will admit that virtually every aspect of the operation would be negatively impacted if they had less talented and motivated staff. Yet, in many departments, staff are not regularly evaluated at a depth comparable to faculty, if at all, and are rarely the recipients of opportunities to enhance and expand their skills.


leading change February 14

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

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An amazing metamorphosis sometimes affects academic leaders between the time they interview for the job and the time they begin their position. As candidates for the position, prospective administrators are usually overwhelmed by the quality of the students and faculty. They’re impressed by the curriculum and mission of the institution, college, or department they may soon lead. They’d be honored to join such an elite group of talented individuals. But then, by some mysterious transformation that begins the day they sign the contract, they arrive on the job with all kinds of ideas about how to rescue this now not-quite-so-impressive unit.


deans interpersonal skills February 12

Deans’ Interpersonal/Negotiating Skills

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The ever-present “revolving door” syndrome, where education deans leave their posts within four to five years, served as the impetus for our research. We wanted to understand what we were doing as veteran deans that enabled us to exhibit a certain degree of resiliency with our job responsibilities. We adapted Eisner’s connoisseurship model (1991, 1998) and served as both a connoisseur and critic of our patterns of behavior over a six-year period. Eisner’s model explains that a connoisseur is able to identify the different dimensions of situations and experiences as well as their relationships. A connoisseur not only appreciates a situation but also critiques the same situation to help others see its subtle and not-so-subtle aspects.


univerisity organizational cultures February 9

The Two (Organizational) Cultures of the University

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In a now legendary lecture at Cambridge’s Senate House in 1959, C.P. Snow coined the expression “the two cultures” as a way of characterizing what he saw as an increasing rift between science and the humanities in modern academic life. Since Snow’s time, we’ve seen even greater isolation of many disciples that has created the “silo effect” we so often lament as academic leaders. But in addition to this division on the academic side, we also should realize that the complexity of colleges and universities means they sometimes split into two other cultures as well.


College Admissions Experience February 5

Tailoring the Admissions Experience

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I remember that when I started my first job as an admissions counselor, one of the interview questions was, “Do you see the role of admissions counselors more as counseling or as sales?” I had no experience, so I really didn’t know the right answer. Since the word “counselor” was in the title of the position, I imagine I said something about counseling students.


Locating the Academic Leadership Land Mines February 2

Locating the (Leadership) Land Mines

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Beginning a position as an academic leader can be challenging under any circumstances. But those challenges increase exponentially when you’re hired into an institution from the outside. You enter a world where nearly everyone knows more about most local issues than you do. Alliances have already been formed. Coalitions that stand in opposition to those alliances have emerged. People have strong opinions about what should and shouldn’t be done, and they all have plenty of evidence to support their views. How do you know whom to believe and whom to regard with a bit of skepticism? If you make the wrong choice on an important enough issue, it can make it much harder to accomplish the goals you’ve set for yourself. You can find that people mistakenly believe you’re aligned with this or that faction, causing them to interpret everything you say with a certain degree of distrust. Even in the best of circumstances, being in academic leadership can sometimes feel as though you’re constantly trying to negotiate your way through a minefield. But how do you locate the land mines in new and unfamiliar terrain?


Capacity-building through International Programs January 31

Capacity-building through International Programs

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How do universities continue to build their capacity during a time period of decreasing enrollments and demographic change? As enrollment managers struggle to maintain strong student volume and achieve degree attainment goals, it is critical to build broader and deeper channels for both attracting students and aligning new enrollment with institutional capacity.

Historically, as enrollment professionals, we have primarily thought of international partnerships as a method of attracting additional degree-seeking students from abroad, particularly from a small group of sending countries. International program development can also help us manage our domestic student population, however, by offering additional tools to attract new students, differentiating our programs, and outsourcing our overcapacity in ways that benefit both students and international partner institutions.


Addressing student protests January 29

Spotlight on Campus Speech: Five Things to Consider When Addressing Student Protests

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In our Q&A series Spotlight on Campus Speech, Academic Leader Today brings campus administrators expert perspectives to help understand the current challenges of campus speech issues. In this installment, education attorney Demetrius Peterson offers five considerations for addressing student protests.