Case Study OCPA Final Presentation

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Effective Training and Orientation
Program(s) for Graduate Assistants
in Professional Higher Education and
Student Affairs Units
OASPA/OCPA Annual Conference
January 30-31, Worthington, Ohio
Presented by:
Elecia Harvey
Arielle Weaver
Snejana Slantcheva-Durst
Drawing on a project conducted by:
Dayna Boes
Adam Bohland
Erin Harper
Elecia Harvey
Ahmed Hassan
Emily Hickey
Krystal Iwuagwu
Brittanie Kuhr
Tera McDonald
Jose Olivarez
Quintin Veasley
Arielle Weaver
Alexandra White
Overview
Effective Training and Orientation Program(s) for
Graduate Assistants in Professional Higher
Education and Student Affairs Units
I.
II.
III.
IV.
Main insights from literature review
Benchmarking findings
Programmatic combinations
Brainstorming application
I. Main Insights from
Literature Review
• Graduate Assistants as a significant sub-group of the
university labor force in the United States
(Bousquet, 2008)
• According to NCES (2009), in 2007, 328,979
graduate students, close t0 10% of all employees,
were employed in assistantship positions as:
1. Teaching Assistants (TAs)
2. Research Assistants (RAs)
3. Administrative, or Extension, or Service
Assistants (GAs, GSAs)
I. Main Insights from
Literature Review
The Student Affairs Graduate Assistant can come from
any college and program; most common programs are
usually professional preparation programs:
-higher education administration/CSP
-counseling
-educational psychology
-educational leadership
-policy studies
-adult education
-(public) health
I. Main Insights from
Literature Review
Graduate Assistantships:
• Considered temporary professional positions; paraprofessionals
• Mostly utilized in:
• Residence Life
• Orientation
• Student Activities
• Counseling
• Advising
• Career Services
• Financial Aid
• International Student Programs
• Student Experience
I. Main Insights from
Literature Review
Benefits of Graduate Assistantships:
• Recognized and often required component of
student affairs preparation programs (CAS requires
300 hrs of supervised practice)
• Graduate Assistantships provide “an opportunity for
socialization into the academic profession”
(Ethington & Pisani, 1993)
• Training laboratory for higher education graduate
students - assist graduate students with professional
identity (Lovitts & Nelson, 2000).
• Benefits: experiential, financial, sometimes housing
and health benefits
I. Main Insights from
Literature Review
Challenges of Graduate Assistantships related to:
• The unique role of student, employee, and paraprofessional
• The challenges of job responsibilities and the often
inadequate amount of preparation or training
• Availability of institutional support
• Rare academic recognition for their work
• Efforts to balance work, study, and life demands
How do you deal with these challenges on
your campus?
I. Main Insights from
Literature Review
At least two important ways to address such
challenges:
1. Combine, and properly sequence, appropriate
training elements such as:
a. Manuals
b. Orientation
c. Training
d. Professional Development
e. Mentoring
f. Evaluation
2. Centralize the responsibility over the alignment of
these elements
II. Benchmarking
Findings
-
Studied 57 colleges and universities, public and
private, small and large, throughout the country
ASHE Program Database
Central web-site
Orientation +
General Training
- Manual
- Orientation
Rights and
responsibilities of GAs
Dress Code
Jobs descriptions
Position expectations
Evaluations
Supervisor’s roles
Resources, etc.
- GA Fair
information
- Available
positions
- Information on
professional
development
workshops or
conferences
Introduction to the institution
Overview of available
resources
Get to know unit leaders
Socials with other
professionals
- Peer mentors
- Specialized unit
training
- Sessions on topics
related to the HED
profession:
diversity, ethical
conduct, student
advising, etc.
Professional
Development
- Workshops
organized
throughout the
semester on general
topics
Working with students
Crisis management
Legal framework
Career growth
Leadership
- Semester
workshops on unitspecific topics
- Mentoring
(different from
supervisor)
programs
- Shadowing
Websites Linkages & Features
• Linked to Student Affairs homepage (University of
San Diego, University of South Carolina)
• Job descriptions & placement information
• GA contact information
• Orientation session information
• Linked to Student Affairs homepage (Ohio State
University)
• Graduate Assistant resources
• Professional development
opportunities
Website Linkages & Features
• Linked to Higher Education homepage (University
of St Thomas, University of Tennessee)
• Job descriptions
• Linked to Human Resources homepage (James
Madison University)
• Job descriptions
• Pay information
• Training resources
• FAQs
Websites with Online Manuals
• Graduate School Manuals/Handbooks (University of
Arizona, Louisiana State University, University of Rhode
Island)
• Job descriptions
• Conditions of position
• Payroll information
• Graduate Assistantship Manuals/Handbooks (Illinois
State University, Penn State)
• What is a Graduate Assistantship
• Responsibilities & Expectations
• Professional development
• Employment information
• Payroll information
Orientation- General Practices
Orientation typically includes
• Welcome session and introduction to administrators
• Information on Campus resources
• Distribution of campus resource guide
• Social
Orientation for Student Affairs
Graduate Assistants
An orientation program has been created
specifically for student affairs GAs (University of
South Carolina, Indiana University Bloomington,
University of Southern Mississippi, University of
Vermont, University of Northern Iowa, Penn State
University, Texas State University San Marcos)
• Discussion of campus resources (University of
Southern Mississippi, Indiana University
Bloomington, University of South Carolina)
• Distribution of an updated campus resource
guide
• Graduate Assistant Manual
Emerging Trend
Including GA Supervisor Training/ Orientation
• Student Affairs GAs and New Staff attend
orientation together (Texas State University)
• “ABC Guide” for Supervising (Indiana University
Bloomington)
• Provides GA supervisors with best practices and
tips for being an effective
supervisor to GAs
Training Graduate Assistants
Forms of Training:
• Lectures
• Face to face workshops
• Training programs prior to the start of the semester
• Training programs throughout the first semester
• Online modules
Do you train your graduate assistants?
Training Continued
• Multiple day training prior to semester start
• 2 day training (University of Southern
California, University of Oklahoma, Western
Michigan University)
• Specific sessions for specific groups of GAs (Western
Michigan University)
• Teaching, research, and service
• GAs must attend professional development workshops
throughout the semester as a part of training (Oregon
State University, University of Toledo, University of
Oklahoma, University of Northern Iowa)
• Online modules (University of Texas)
Training Continued
• “Student Affairs GA Development Series” (University
of Oklahoma)
• Six, one hour presentations and discussion sessions,
every other week
• Based on NASPA/ACPA Core Competency Areas for
Student Affairs Professionals
• Ensures Student Affairs GAs are leaving with
specified knowledge
Common Topics Covered During
Training Discussion Sessions
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Professional Ethics
Safety/ Crisis
Best Practices
FERPA and legal issues
Advising/ mentoring
Institutional policy and procedure
Student Insurance
Software
Professional Development for
Graduate Assistants
Additional and continuous career preparation for
graduates that is organized by the institution:
• Required
• Optional
• Other opportunities
Types of Professional
Development
• Required seminars (University of Southern
California)
• Prior to the academic year
• Basic information regarding position
• University policies, communication, challenges
students are facing
• Required sessions (Indiana University)
• Throughout the year
• Wide range of topics
• Team building, supervision, diversity, social
justice, exploring beliefs, working
with undergraduate students
Types of Professional
Development
• Required and optional workshops throughout the
Year (Western Michigan, University of Nevada-Las
Vegas)
• Various workshops throughout the year
• Some are required (FERPA), others optional
• Optional Certificate (University of Utah)
• Student Affairs Diversity Council offers a “Creating
an Inclusive Campus” Certificate of Training
Professional Development
cont.
• Shadowing and seminars (Virginia Tech)
• Opportunities to shadow professionals
• Career Services assigns GAs to professionals
• Optional seminars throughout year
• Personal and professional development
• Time management, professional ethics,
discussion with labor market leaders
What opportunities
are there at your
institution?
III. Effective Combinations
Websites are ubiquitous:
- Vary in information they offer
- Very in detail of the offered information
Orientation + Training a common
feature:
- Orientation and workshops that
follow directly or are dispersed
throughout the semester
- Orientation and on-line modules
- Pre-training orientation sessions
+ (on-line) workshops
- Completion checks/assessment
sometimes involved
III. Prevalent Approaches
Orientation and Mentoring:
- Often organized at Orientation
- Peer or supervisor mentoring
- In some institutions, the graduate
assistant shadows the supervisor/mentor
through daily activities
Professional Development
through both Workshops and
Leadership Initiatives:
- Professional development
organized for graduate assistants
sometimes required
- Rare requirements for leadership
initiative involvement
III. Prevalent Approaches
Centralized organization determines the
programmatic approach:
• HR supervision centers on informing students
• Student affairs supervision centers on informing and
familiarizing students with documents central to
student affairs everyday operations (FERPA, crisis
management, programming)
• Higher education/CSP supervision centers on informing
students and often following CAS standards for
professional work
• Collaborative supervision brings a combination of
programming approaches
IV How Would you Apply this
Information?
You are the new VP of Student Affairs at a large, regional
research institution in Northwest Ohio. You have just
approved the hire of 35 Graduate Assistants to work in
the Division of Student Affairs, in a variety of offices.
• How would you prepare them for their jobs?
Central web-site
Orientation +
General Training
- Manual
- Orientation
Rights and
responsibilities of GAs
Dress Code
Jobs descriptions
Position expectations
Evaluations
Supervisor’s roles
Resources, etc.
- GA Fair
information
- Available
positions
- Information on
professional
development
workshops or
conferences
Introduction to the institution
Overview of available
resources
Get to know unit leaders
Socials with other
professionals
- Peer mentors
- Specialized unit
training
- Sessions on topics
related to the HED
profession:
diversity, ethical
conduct, student
advising, etc.
Professional
Development
- Workshops
organized
throughout the
semester on general
topics
Working with students
Crisis management
Legal framework
Career growth
Leadership
- Semester
workshops on unitspecific topics
- Mentoring
(different from
supervisor)
programs
- Shadowing
The Team’s
Proposal
Collaboration
1. Division of Student Affairs
Professional Learning
Committee (PLC)
2. Website
3. Graduate Assistant
Recruitment
4. Graduate Assistant
Orientation Day
6. Professional Development
Professional
5. Graduate Assistant
Training – 3 days
Thank you!
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