What to expect this year

Featured sessions will share a framework of foundational strategies that are core to a successful competency initiative.

Awareness and Learning: Learn from subject matter experts about how to establish a culture of awareness and learning among students, campus collaborators, and partners and the importance and impact competencies have on student success, institutional effectiveness, and graduate outcomes.

Assessing Competency Proficiency: Hear from expert colleagues about assessing competency proficiency among students, approaches to sharing assessment results with students to enhance proficiency development over time, and ways to measure the overall proficiency of student cohorts.

Articulation: Employers now prioritize competency proficiency as more important than GPA, and in some cases, major when engaging candidates. Students’ ability to articulate and contextualize their competency proficiency to employers is a key to a successful transition to the world of work.

Event Sessions

Competency development is essential for students as they prepare for a successfully transition from college to career. The extent to which students hone competencies has real-life implications on equitable outcomes. Recent NACE data point to employers hiring decisions emphasizing competency proficiency, more so than GPA when considering who to hire. Now, more than ever before, colleges and universities are integrating competencies into the fabric of their student experiences by infusing intentional competency-based student learning into the curriculum and co-curriculum—all with the goal of fostering student success and career readiness.

Join us as association leaders discuss the impact competency implementation has on institutional effectiveness and student preparedness, the importance of competency implementation across the higher education community, opportunities for collaboration between academic and student affairs, and strategies and leading practices with institutions to establish new and enhance existing competency initiatives.


  • Ashley Finley, Vice President for Research, American Association of Colleges and Universities
  • National Association of Student Personnel Administrators
  • Matthew Brink, Assistant Executive Director, National Association of Colleges and Employers


  • Shawn Vanderziel, Executive Director, National Association of Colleges and Employers

Research has shown that transparent teaching methods help students learn and perform better, while having a broader impact on students' success. These strategies also increase students' confidence in academics and skills valued by employers (Winkelmes et. al., 2016). Students taught using transparent teaching methods are more likely to stay in college (retention), reduce achievement gaps (first-gen), increase student belonging (Inclusion) and increase the success of not just underserved college students, but all students. Using these methods to teach, measure, and articulate the NACE competencies inside and outside the academic classroom, career center, coaching and counseling appointments, helps students learn, apply, and communicate these important skills, makes the experiences more equitable, and helps all students to succeed. The methods will be explained, demonstrated, utilized with the NACE competencies, and examples/suggestions given for application with events, workshops, training, assignments, coaching appointments, and collaboration with faculty and campus partners.


  • Liesl Reiners, Assistant Director, Education and Data, Auburn University, Harbert College of Business, Office of Professional and Career Development

This presentation will explore The Career Academy, an innovative initiative developed by Career Exploration and Development which integrates bi-weekly professional development modules into the student employment. The Career Academy has a strong focus on career readiness competencies and making meaning of the employment experience. The ability to articulate and talk about these competencies is a skill we know positively positions our students as strong candidates for employment and graduate school.


  • Keith Smith, Associate Director, Kent State University (Kent Campus)

Grounded in research and focused on scalable solutions, the Wake Forest University School of Business created two new programs to enhance communication, self-efficacy, and acculturation among our diverse student body. Utilizing Social Learning theory, we expanded the scope of what typically defines career development work by creating a semester-long series, "Speech Masters," focused on developing verbal and non-verbal communication skills. A peer program was developed alongside Speech Masters to provide students space with low-risk spaces for practice and peer support.


  • Araceli 'Sally' Perez Ramos, Associate Director, Market Readiness & Employment, Wake Forest University
  • Cheryl Rotyliano, Associate Director, Market Readiness and Employment, Master of Science in Management, Wake Forest University School of Business

NACE has developed a Competency Curriculum and supporting Assessment Rubric, designed to support institutions initiatives focused on supporting and enhancing students' awareness and learning about the NACE competencies. This curriculum can be customized to in a variety of ways including, by academic disciplines, types of schools, and groups of students. This session will provide an overview of both and the opportunity for attendees to participate and contribute to the field testing of the curriculum and rubric.


  • Mary Gatta, Director of Research and Public Policy, National Association of Colleges and Employers
  • Matthew Brink, Assistant Executive Director, National Association of Colleges and Employers
  • Miami Dade Community College
  • Dominican University

Purdue University Global is taking action to address the ongoing skills gap discussion between employers and universities and prepare students and graduates with the skills needed to excel in their careers. Through data collection and analysis, interdepartmental collaboration, and employer engagement, we have developed a strategic initiative to prepare Purdue Global’s students – 58% of whom are adult learners over the age of 30 – to graduate from their academic programs with both the professional and hard skills that employers seek.

This session will highlight strategies to identify specific skill requirements of the labor market for each program of study and approaches to ensure curricular and co-curricular alignment, including using the NACE Career Readiness competencies as a benchmark for assessing professional skills. We will offer best practices for collaboration with academics, faculty, and curriculum partners to create assignments and academic experiences that support, reinforce, and evaluate students’ skill development.


  • Adam Bufka, Director, Center for Career Advancement, Purdue University Global
  • Jennifer Katz, Director, Center for Career Advancement, School of Business and Information Technology, Purdue University Global

This panel discussion will share new initiatives from the University at Buffalo Career Design Center’s efforts to help students become more aware of and learn to better articulate their career readiness competencies. Career Design Consultant Wayne Porterfield will moderate the panel and give an overview of the UB Career Design Center’s Faculty Champion Initiative, which includes a series of faculty learning modules.

Dr. Jessica Kruger, Public Health professor at the University at Buffalo will discuss how she embedded the NACE competences into her department’s coursework and content discussed in class. She will also discuss the results of a study that assessed student’s confidence in using competencies skills and their satisfaction related to adding these competencies into courses.

Edward Brodka, UB Career Design Consultant, will share a simple activity that conference participants can use to help students articulate their competencies in interviews, in their online profiles, cover letters and more. Participants will also get a live virtual tour showing how the UB Career Design Center has incorporated the competencies in one of their new physical office installation displays related to helping students prepare for interviews.


  • Panel Moderator: Wayne Porterfield, Career Design Consultant, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
  • Panelist: Jessica S. Kruger, Director, Teaching Innovation and Excellence and Clinical Assistant Professor, University at Buffalo, School of Public Health and Health Professions
  • Panelist: Edward Brodka, UB Career Design Consultant, University at Buffalo

Rice University Center for Career Development has been expanding its use of the Skill Survey Career Readiness platform through tailored partnerships with multiple campus departments from University Recreation to on-campus research institutes. Through these relationships, 300+ students have received career readiness feedback aligned with the NACE Competencies. Gaining buy-in from campus partners and providing students with clear resources for identifying career gaps can be challenging. During this session, Dr. Raylea Rideau will explain strategies for strong departmental partnerships and share tools that you can take back to your campus to help students reflect on their competency proficiency.


  • Raylea Rideau, Associate Director, Career Development, Rice University

In 2020, Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) Office of Strategy and Program Innovation worked with industry partners and representatives across the university to create a white paper recommending the implementation of an institution-wide Micro-Credentialing and Digital Badging Program to address the “Skills Gap” or mismatch between the skills employers need and the skills workers currently have. FGCU’s Transferable Skills Digital Badging Program, introduced at the NACE 2022 Conference and now fully developed, addresses this need.

This new presentation will give a ‘behind the scenes’ look at how FGCU created a strong career-readiness culture by designing a university-wide, systematic process for Transferable Skills Digital Badging, including “on-ramps,” to help students recognize, develop, practice, demonstrate, articulate, and showcase career-readiness competencies. Students can earn up to 10 Transferable Skills Badges focused on NACE’s Career-Readiness Competencies.

By providing these opportunities for students to develop and articulate transferable skills throughout their educational experiences, a strong career-readiness culture is created. Through coursework and co/extra-curricular experiences, students master important skills desired by employers “AND” stand out amongst their peers “AND” share what they have learned “AND” display their competitive advantage “AND” secure the interview “AND” begin their meaningful careers. At FGCU, we call this “The power of AND.”


  • Panel Moderator: Dr. Aysegul Timur, Vice President & Vice Provost for Strategy & Program Innovation, Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Panelist: Dr. Glenn Whitehouse, Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Panelist: Jessica J. Rhea, Sr. Director of Experiential Learning & Career Development, Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Panelist: Ashleigh Droz, Director of Internships & Cooperative Programs, Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Panelist: Dr. Andrea Fortin, Assistant Professor, Integrated Studies, Florida Gulf Coast University

Dominican's Career Development Program (DCDP) comprises four required career development courses, a required internship, built-in mentorship with Executives in Residence, and engagement with employers. It is currently embedded into the curriculum for all undergraduate business students and includes NACE Career Competencies. Since the program's launch in the Fall of 2017, graduate outcomes have increased exponentially, with 77% of 2021 business undergraduates employed or attending graduate programs within three months after graduation.

Due to the success of the program, Dominican University is working to expand career development across the university through a Higher Learning Commission (HLC) quality initiative and a Title V grant focused on expanding and transforming career development services, aligning curriculum with employer needs, and improving the financial literacy for our students. In this presentation, we will share how we have successfully integrated NACE Career Competencies within Dominican's curriculum.


  • Elizabeth Soto, Title V A2, Activity Director, Dominican University

The Colorado School of Mines has invested in the professional development of its students to prepare them to be career-ready. The Mines@150 strategic goals to achieve by the 150th anniversary of the founding of the university includes a focus on signature student experiences that drive professional career preparedness. They knew that while Mines students were technically competent upon entry to the workforce, there was more work to be done to distinguish our graduates in communication, leadership, and business acumen. Through the vehicle of a generous donation by Mines alumni, a program was established to infuse professional development throughout a Mines education. Once avenue is “Intern Launch” using NACE Career Competencies to prepare students with accepted internships to be successful and gain the most benefit from their internship experience. Learn about the process to develop a platform for career competencies and the specific application in an internship preparation program.


  • Wendy Winter-Searcy, Director, Career Center, Colorado School of Mines
  • Luis Sandoval, Director, PASAL Center, Colorado School of Mines

Competencies in student employment become more and more applicable as an increasing number of students have no work history when they arrive at college. Student employment can set the tone for students' workplace emotional intelligence, like self-regulation, motivation, and social skills, as well as a first glimpse into creating a resume and experiencing a formal work evaluation.

Integrating NACE competencies in the student evaluation process increases the awareness for supervisors and students to the competencies' importance. While the traditional thought may be to have the supervisors evaluate the students, Wabash College saw a significant increase, 204% to be exact, in evaluation participation by changing to a student-driven self-evaluation process. By empowering a generation of student employees, who thrive on feedback, to start the process, we re-engaged supervisors who felt pressed for time or had lost sight of the importance of the evaluation process. This session will explore our self-evaluation model.


  • Emily Hall, Associate Director of Professional Development & Student Employment, Wabash College
  • Cassie Hagan, Director of Professional Development and the Center for Innovation, Business, and Entrepreneurship, Wabash College

Staff and faculty from VCU Career Services, VCU Relevant, Experiential and Applied Learning (REAL), and the Department of Psychology within the College of Humanities and Sciences collaborated to actively address career-readiness gaps and find ways to intentionally infuse career exploration, skill building, and experiential learning into curriculum. Efforts resulted in an interactive College-to-Career (C2C) Blueprint, focused on eight key steps for academic departments, starting with assessment and assembling an action team, moving to thoughtful evaluation of current curriculum and employer/industry connections, coming up with new ways to add or boost career content within course syllabi, and finally sharing success stories and data with current and prospective students, family, and campus community members.

This session will share the C2C Blueprint with participants so they can both understand its principles and consider where and how they could use a similar resource at their institution to increase career readiness engagement by academic departments in support of students.


  • Samara Reynolds, Director of VCU Career Services, Virginia Commonwealth University

*Schedule subject to change

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