Seeing the Connection 2014 ACPA KranzowJacobGentry

Seeing the Connection: Linking
Professional Competencies
Experience, and Classroom Learning
Jeannine Kranzow, Ph.D.
Azusa Pacific University
Stacy A. Jacob, Ph.D.
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
Debra S. Gentry, Ph.D.
University of Toledo
“The profession as a whole might look to the intersect of
curriculum and practice—the internships and assistantships
of preparation programs—as a place to focus particular
attention for the development of skills and knowledge
related to a wide range of competencies”
(Cuyjet, Longwell-Grice, and Molina, 2009, p. 114).
Reynolds (2011) investigated specifically “the helping”
competency. Three of the top seven professional
development opportunities aligned with linking
professional competencies with graduate assistantships
& internships.
• Opportunities for practice
• GAs, Internships, & Externships
• Graduate coursework
Who is in attendance?
The Issue
Students in professional preparation programs in Student Affairs
Higher Education often have disconnect between what they are
learning in class and how it applies to their professional work.
• Taught the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competency areas in
• Students "learned about the document", but did not
connect it to experiences to Graduate Assistantships,
Practicums, Internships.
• So there was no use of the document for professional
development (how to develop new skills and
Our response
• “It’s too late!” - Help students be proactive
• Build a rubric to help them consider their exposure to each
competency – a tool to help students link the competencies to their
own experiences both inside and outside of the classroom.
• Use the tool for a classroom activity to help students view their
experiences through a lens of exposure
• Reflect/journal as a classroom assignment/activity.
Activity: Try It!
• Faculty: Use the rubric with a job description to see how
a student might gain exposure to certain competencies
• Supervisors: Consider how you could use it with newer
• Grad Students and New Professionals: Reflect on how
you could use it for your professional development
• Find the Full Competency descriptions at:
First fill out the rubric.
Now spend some time writing on the following reflective questions.
• Discuss how the rubric was helpful/not helpful in your evaluation of
your graduate assistantship or other work experience (in terms of its
ability to provide you with the necessary exposure to various
• After considering your exposure to all the competencies for SA
practitioners, what professional development opportunities do you
think are important for your growth as a professional?
• Do you see ways to discuss this rubric with your current and/or
future supervisor so that you might gain more exposure to specific
• Did completing this rubric ultimately lead you to feel different about
your degree of preparation for the field of student affairs?
• Other thoughts/reflections?
• Overwhelmingly “Yes, it was Helpful” – 40 of 43 and 7 of 7
students Provides structure to evaluate GA;
• Useful vehicle for approaching supervisors & being intentional
about work responsibilities -- 39 of 43 and 0 of 0 N/A
• Provides awareness of what you are learning & how much
there is to learn -- 32 of 43 7 of 7 Became aware of
importance and deficits
• Ways to maximize use of the rubric.
#1 – Structure for Evaluating a GA position
“Thank you for this rubric; this has been the structure I
haven’t had in my graduate assistantship.”
“I think it is very helpful to evaluate my GA based on the
competencies because it helps me see what areas I may
need to be more intentional to cover. I think that my
professional growth depends on the opportunities I have to
see things more on the inside, such as planning, budgeting,
& making all the necessary steps to execute an event or
even a program vision.”
“Often I only knew what I was doing in my GA
because it related back to something that was
discussed in class. I think it would be important to
base trainings off of these competency areas.
Basing trainings and the GA off of these
competency areas would allow for a more
structured training with measurable outcomes.”
#2 – A Tool for Approaching Supervisors
“With this rubric, I feel that I can discuss with my
supervisor the exact areas that I need more
experience in, and she would help me create a
project to cover that area.”
“By addressing some of the rubric I think my
current & future supervisors would be open to
shifting some of my job responsibilities so that I
could find a way to develop in some aspects that I
may be lacking.”
“My supervisor doesn't have an education
background in Student Affairs so I don’t know if
he would even understand the competencies I
would need to hit.”
“I think this rubric should and could be discussed
with supervisors. If it were a program
requirements to have to score between a 2 to 3 in
each competency, I am sure my supervisors would
ensure these learning outcomes were met.”
#3 – Awareness of What You Are Learning
“The rubric was helpful because it gave me insight into
what I am and am not learning in my assistantship. I saw
the ways that the competencies are indeed being met, but I
also saw ways that I can personally try to attain
competencies. I think I realized that I sometimes need to be
assertive in my desire to seek these competencies out
through the role I have in my office. I also saw that some of
the competencies will not be met in my current
assistantship, which means I will have to seek some
“Completing the rubric helped demonstrate
how much knowledge & experience I am
lacking as I go into the field & helps me
realize there is always more learning to be
Complexity of Capstone students
This category of awareness made us realize
that from a capstone perspective, the
awareness is much deeper and more
Still thinking about it.
Other Interesting Comments
“This opened my eyes to looking elsewhere
for experience during the summer & for
next year. I have to create my own
networks to get where I would like to be.”
“My office suggested that I would gain
most, if not all, of my competencies though
my assistantship. Either I am not seeing
the connection yet to the competencies or
I should reexamine how my job relates
with my boss.”
“I love the fact that I chose Student Affairs
with College Counseling. Sometimes
people give advice from a friendly
standpoint, but I will be able to see both
*Note: Intentionally expose yourself!
How to Maximize Gains from the Rubric
Revisit it
Encourage students to dialog with others
Encourage discussion with supervisors.
Encourage students to claim their education.
Talk to them about carefully selecting sessions at national
• Speak to students about how this can help them evaluate
work offers.
Want More Information?
• Stacy A. Jacob
• Jeannine Kranzow
• Debra S. Gentry
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
American College Personnel Association & National
Association of Student Personnel Administrators.
(2010). ACPA/NASPA professional competency
areas for student affairs practitioners. Washington,
DC: Authors.
Cuyjet, M. J., Longwell-Grice, R., & Molina, E. (2009).
Perceptions of new student affairs professionals
and their supervisors regarding the application of
competencies learned in preparation programs.
Journal of College Student Development, 50(1),
Reynolds, A. (2011). Helping competencies of student affairs professionals: A
Delphi study. Journal of College Student Development, 52(3), 362369.
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