The Developing Professional

I. Questions I Was Looking to Answer

a.) What are my standards of ethics within the field of student affairs and how will I apply them?

b.) What is my leadership style? What values do I bring to a leadership position?

c.) What are my opinions concerning community involvement/partnerships outside of the university?

d.) How will I engage in thoughtful career decision making?

e.) How do I “fit” within the student affairs profession? What are the strengths I contribute to the field?

II. Introduction

I came to graduate school with absolutely no clue about the standards of ethics within the field of higher education. That being said, I had always prided myself on providing accurate information to students and families I served as an admissions tour guide and orientation leader. I had always shown other people respect and maintained a high level of professionalism in everything I did. I strove to be a great team player and to have the strong work ethic in everything I did. My leadership style started out in a “lead by example” manner and I think this concept still rings true in a number of situations. I hold collective responsibility and community building as two of my more deeply held values and therefore think that outside partnerships in any endeavor are key. I have not engaged in anything that can be considered thoughtful career decision making and am quite nervous about trying this task on for the first time.  I believe that all the values and traits already listed make me a good “fit” within the profession.

III. Hypothesis

a.) I’m certain that there are certain concepts and buzzwords surrounding the ethics of student affairs. I have confidence that my own standards of ethics will resonate well with the ones I learn about during my time as a graduate student.

b.) I am fairly sure that to be a successful student affairs professional I will need to gain more leadership skills and do more than “lead by example”. I know this will be a challenge for me because I am not at all confident in my leadership skills to date, but I hope that having more experiences will slowly develop my confidence in this area.

c.) I hope to be involved in communities apart from those at OSU. However given the limited free time I will have I see this more through the lens of communities of friends and social networks that I build up. I recognize the value of collaboration and being involved in civic projects, but don’t think I will be able to do much of that until I have graduated.

d.) I expect that this will be a long, emotional, stressful process

e.) I expect to find that I “fit” in some ways and don’t in others. I must recognize the strengths I bring, but also the challenges I face. I must admit the challenges outright, work to minimize them or at least their negative impact on my work.

IV. Methods and Materials

CAS Professional Standards for Higher Education

Conduct Assistantship

UESP Internship

NODA Internship

AHE 557: Professional Development

V. Data and Analysis

a.) Clarified Values • Collective Responsiblity  Resources on Ethical Decision Making

b.) Values and Strengths of a Leader  Revised Leadership Style

c.) Community Involvement

d.) Career Planning

e.) My “Fit”

VI. Conclusion

My standards of ethics and leadership skills will always be based in the values of hard work, integrity, social responsibility, service and teamwork that I have learned throughout my life. I will continue to be shaped by the experiences I have and the resources (CAS standards, professional development, leadership workshops, etc.) that I take advantage of during my career. I recognize that I must accept my own strengths as a leader and also recognize and reward the strengths that others bring to the table. Whether I am partnering with another person in my office, another department on campus, or a community agencies I must keep in mind the value of other peoples contributions to the greater whole. No one can do it alone.

I must remain diligent in my search for career advancement and new opportunities that will make me a more well-rounded and marketable professional. This means asking about professional development opportunities during interviews, making time for conferences and workshops, and not thinking that because I’ve graduated I can stop reading and thinking about student affairs outside of the office. I know that I can be a successful student affairs professional and I am equally as confident that the skills I have gathered will benefit me in other career fields I may seek out in the future.

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2 Responses to “The Developing Professional”

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Portfolio Evaluation Comments: I have been most impressed with how holistically and strategically you have approached your professional development. You have challenged yourself in meaningful ways and cultivated many skills in your two years here, and you have been thoughtful in your examination of the impact of your involvement and choices.

I have an idea for you, perhaps something to do post-defense if you are game. Given that your professional energy is taking you towards advising/conduct type positions, I would suggest drafting (or updating if you have one) a professional philosophy statement. .A 1-2 page consolidated statement might be a really helpful for you as you prepare to embark on your professional career. It would also give a prospective employer a feel for your convictions, ethics, and professional beliefs. It could be a place where you intentionally align yourself with CAS standards or other core values as defined by professional organizations like NACADA.

Regarding Eric’s question about how I will resolve the potential conundrum between my analytical style and the need to move forward on issues and programs:

I fully acknowledge that I prefer and am better at the nuts and bolts of an operation. I find it challenging to see the big picture sometimes or make over arching decisions about things. What I have noticed within student affairs is that most decisions, programs and actions are not made alone. Usually there are multiple people involved and each brings their area of specialization to the table. While a vice provost or dean of students must have a basic understanding of the broad issues affecting all of their departments and higher education in general, directors and other administrators are often called upon to provide the nuts and bolts of their department. In this respect, I believe that my analytical style will thrive.

The challenge will come if I do choose to take on a larger leadership role. I am fairly certain that the longer I work in student affairs, the more experiences and responsibilities I will have under my belt. I will get to see countless tough decisions be analyzed and made, and get to see the pros and cons of those decisions. These experiences will make me the better able to make tough decisions on my own and act on them without letting my analytical side slow me down.


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