Student Learning &  Development

Balancing Old and New Learning Methods


In some institutions, career development does not exist in a classroom setting beyond a 15-minute class presentation at the beginning of the semester, and only when specifically requested by a faculty member. Numerous sources support the need for it to be incorporated in a classroom setting and a many other institutions offer career development mentorship or advising programs. As we move towards shifting expectations in higher education as a whole, it only makes sense that career services would face the same. According to Cruzvergara, the expectations are shifting towards “customized career path[s] for each student, using technology to more closely match students with jobs and mentors that best fit their interests” (Cruzvergara in Young, 2016, pp. B4).


Campus leadership cannot be relied upon to prioritize career services, because they are not closely engaged enough to see the differences in the impacts we can make. The best way to gain their attention is to involve prospective students and their parents, who are equally as concerned about return on investment as institutions are. Then, professionals could find ways to incorporate career development from day one.  This is aligned with Selingo’s suggestions that “the ability to transfer knowledge between the classroom and the workplace and back again is what gets new college graduates hired” (Selingo, 2016, pp. B17). The advising syllabus I created illustrates the way that student affairs professionals can begin to incorporate career services into their other processes for a seamless integration that students can more easily digest.

Student learning and development are at the center of our work as student affairs professionals. Although it is arguably the most prominent of the competencies, its simplicity makes it the most challenging to implement well. Oftentimes, because student affairs professionals take this competency for granted, we can lose sight of the reason that we are in the field to begin with. As priorities shift politically and socially, an increased focus on assessment and budgets will undoubtedly result. Student affairs professionals will face tough choices about what changes to make in order to stay within their budget constraints while still providing exciting and engaging student learning and development opportunities. In order to prepare myself for this environment, I will describe my competence in the following outcomes: articulate one’s own developmental journey in relation to formal theories, construct effective programs, lesson plans, and syllabi, and construct learning outcomes for daily practice, teaching, and training activities (ACPA & NASPA, 2015, pp. 32).


My Journey & Theory

My college journey was what you might call atypical. I was in some challenging situations, and I didn't have as much stability as I would have liked. As a first generation student from a low-income family, I always knew things might get challenging. I just didn't know how challenging they could get. All in all, I was not helped by my inability to separate my perceptions of change from the change itself (Goodman et. al in Evans, Forney, Guido, Patton & Renn, 2010, pp.215) on a number of occasions. In addition, I also experience the impacts of Astin and Sanfords' theories. Surprisingly (or maybe not so much) these are the theories that have stuck with me the most. The more time that passes, the more I have noticed that the theories we use to inform our practice are oftentimes the same ones we see most often in meeting with students.


ACPA & NASPA. (2015). Professional competency areas for student affairs educators. Washington, D.C.: Authors.

Selingo, J.J. (2016, October). Colleges must reinvent career counseling. NEXT: The Innovation Issue - The New Marketplace for Career Services, section B. The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Young, J.R. (2016, October). Reinventing the career center: colleges – and companies – are trying to help students design their futures. NEXT: The Innovation Issue - The New Marketplace for Career Services, section B. The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Learning Outcomes for Peer  Career Fellows:

  1. Peer Career Fellows will review resumes and/or cover letters during walk-in hours to provide detailed feedback and/ or direct to resources as appropriate. 

  2. Peer Career Fellows will attend Career Development meetings weekly in order to participate in discussions/ professional development opportunities and check in with supervisor. 

  3. Peer Career Fellows will contribute to and present at least one professional development training and/ or project at meetings related to topics determined by semester by the team.

  4. Peer Career Fellows will develop/ utilize administrative skills to schedule appointments, conduct research, take notes, develop presentations, facilitate meetings, organize information, etc.

Last Updated: May 2018

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