• How to Use NACE’s Professional Competencies for College and University Career Services Practitioners

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
    July 24, 2013

    NACE’s recently released “Professional Competencies for College and University Career Services Practitioners” provides a comprehensive list of what practitioners should be able to know and do at progressive functional proficiency levels, says Sam Ratcliffe, director, career services, at Virginia Military Institute.

    “This allows for an overarching, continuous-improvement approach to professional skills and knowledge growth,” Ratcliffe explains. “This is a very significant resource for defining career services as a profession, promoting intentional and richly meaningful professional development planning activities, and ensuring that our work has an ongoing continuous-improvement focus.”

    He notes that the competencies can be used to:

    • Inform individual practitioners of ongoing growth in professional skills and knowledge and future work that can be expected.
    • Provide a framework for mentoring or coaching relationships.
    • Aid in the creation of professional development plans for individual practitioners.
    • Serve as an aid in the analysis of job performance.
    • Develop position descriptions.
    • Offer an analysis of resources required for staff development.
    • Provide a framework for staff professional development activities.
    • Inform key stakeholders about the work that is being done in career services.
    • Define for multiple audiences what constitutes excellence in career services practice.

    Competencies users should expect a transparent and universally accepted delineation of skills and knowledge reflective of excellence in professional practice, and ongoing professional growth and development opportunities.

    “The evaluation process is most effective when practitioners demonstrate candor in self-assessment activities, which in turn, provides greater clarity for professional development needs and growth opportunities,” Ratcliffe says.

    Preparation, he points out, is simple, requiring only an open mind for self-assessment and analysis of professional skill and knowledge needs and opportunities.

    “And with the competencies scheduled for review and revision every three years—similar to the college and employer professional standards—the relevancy is ensured as the higher education landscape evolves,” he adds.

    Ratcliffe will present “Learning Outcomes Assessment Strategies: A Professional Competencies Webinar” on July 24.