You are on page 1of 3

Instructions: Weekly Posting: Midterm Email Reflection (50 points) - You are to email through Folio an attached WORD document

of your reflection on or before March 6, 2013, reflecting on your experience thus far. All information contained within will not be disclosed by the instructor. Reflect upon the following — each bulleted item is worth a maximum of 10 pts:

Describe your practicum environment. Identify your mentor, other employees, clients served, and the organization itself. Identify some ways you initially tried to orient yourself to and gain acceptance within the organization. Rank your practicum experience thus far on a scale of 0-5 with 0= poor and 5= outstanding. Explain your response - two paragraph minimum.

This practicum happens to be housed in the RAC which is where my current Graduate Assistantship is also housed. Though it might have been beneficial to be housed in a different part on campus I have really learned a lot from a different lens about the operations of the RAC through my practicum. My mentor is the current Director of Group Exercise, Justine Coleman and she is dedicated and motivated to teach me all she can through this practicum. She has given me experience on the front lines, administrative roles, purchasing power (with approval of course), supervisory power, and experience interviewing new employees. There are 23 student employees within Group Fitness at the RAC and it has been a learning experience working with them instead of my Intramural employees. As for patrons served, I couldn’t necessarily tell you exactly how many Group Fitness alone serves, as many are repeat participations; however, I can tell you the impact it has on students is tremendously exciting. Many of the current employees had seen me around the RAC and participating in a few Group Fitness classes since I started here at Georgia Southern in Fall 2011. However, it has been an eye opening experience working with them instead of alongside them. The personalities themselves are completely different than those I have previously worked with in the Intramural department. Group Fitness Instructors tend to be very excitable, loud and rambunctious individuals; whereas Intramural Sports employees are much more serious, laid back and casual. By attending more of their classes, teaching my own classes, as well as assisting in running monthly employee meetings I have had more acceptance within the employee side of Group Fitness Outside of fitting in with the staff as a leader I have had to mold myself a bit to fit in with the participants. I am used to a predominately male organization, Intramural Sports (employees and participant wise); with Group Fitness I have done a complete 180 where most of the individuals involved are female. I have obtained a nationally recognized certification, which helps my acceptance in the program, and even obtained a certification in Personal Training which furthers my credibility in the eyes of employees and participants. When teaching Group Fitness my mode of motivation for participants has had to change from things I have used within Intramural Sports. I have learned the need and ability to adapt to the environment around you as well as recognize that environment and learning how to best impact it.

Discuss/reflect upon at least one of the components of your portfolio and its application to your practicum experience and/or a work experience —one paragraph each minimum.

Personally I am a huge proponent of on the job experience. I have taken 2 years’ worth of graduate classes in Higher Education and this is the most applicable “class” I have taken. I will make mention that without the background of these classes and knowledge of specific theories I probably wouldn’t get as much out of the practicum as I am; but even without the classes I still think this is the best “class” in terms of professional development as a higher education administrator. This practicum has forced me to compile some work that I have done throughout my Higher Education degree and it has really put things into perspective for me. I now have physical evidence of where I started and what knowledge I am now armed with. However, on the job experience in the Student Affairs position in Campus Recreation has brought all my hours of research and paper writing to life. I can witness the development of students, the need for learning outcomes, and the push for hard data to justify programs. I am just scratching the surface, but this practicum is really helping put into perspective what it means to be a Student Affairs professional.

What has been the biggest ‘eye-opener’ from your experience thus far? Explain your response — two paragraph minimum.

I kind of mentioned this in the first question, but I think the biggest ‘eye opener’ so far is the variation in participation demographics. I am used to a decent variety of participation, however, it is typically heavily male dominated as throughout my undergraduate and graduate years I have been predominated housed within Intramural Sports. Working with Group Fitness has provided me a world of different participants, as many of them do not participate in intramurals and are predominately female. I never really thought about how the services you offer can truly impact the participants you have. I have also been told about diversity and inclusion but never noticed the true separation there can be even within the same department of Campus Recreation. There is such a challenge on having programs and services that attract and serve each student as so many of them have specific interests that they tend to stick with. I have even been told by my mentor and many employees that it is so weird to have an "intramural person” come over to the “group fitness side” because it never really happens. People tend to stick with what they are comfortable with and I was in my own little bubble thinking that we served a good majority of the population. Noticing this huge difference in participant demographics brought me to thinking about marketing schemes as well as intentionality. It is vital that students get services that they paid for, some don’t even know about specific events or services that occur around campus or even elsewhere in the RAC. With intentional marketing as well as encouraging students to try something new, I think some students can obtain more experiences that can help them grow and develop.

How is your and your mentor’s administrative philosophy the same? How is it different? Explain your responses —one paragraph minimum for each part.

My mentor, Justine, is very focused on student development. Though we are both kind of control freaks we really believe in empowering students to boost their involvement and development. She even utilizes this philosophy while mentoring me. There have been a number of times when she has given me reign of specific items for my own production. For instance she gave me the responsibility of creating a risk management quiz for our monthly staff meeting, without a whole lot of direction and instruction. This gave me power and ownership of the item which in turn made me work harder on it than I would have with specific instructions. After I gave the quiz and reviewed it in the staff meeting she set up a meeting with me to discuss how I could improve it and what I did well on. I think most of our philosophies are the same, which is probably why we work so well together. However, Justine is much more of a perfectionist than I am. Despite the fact that she gives control and empowers students, she is very concerned with the quality of the product. I would rather provide more freedom for students, allowing them to fail at some things which could decrease the quality of the product. She requires that she see and preapprove certain items before they can be given out or performed. For instance for our Spring Break Boot Camp program, which I am the supervisor for, students are required to submit their workout program 1 week in advance of their next class (a requirement that Justine has forced upon me). I am them required to review the workouts and approve them for the upcoming class. Personally, I think the instructor should be given freedom of their class and we can review modifications and improvements after if necessary. Justine is very concerned of the quality of the class (as it is a special program within Group Fitness).

Identify areas in which you wish you had more content knowledge or skills to better perform within your practicum experience. Explain the areas and the reasons —one paragraph minimum

Group fitness is a very skill, talent, and knowledge based department. Despite being nationally certified, I do not have the same experience level as some of our current instructors, and experience can truly lend to an enhanced class. Outside of those specific skills I wish I understood the budget a little bit more to enhance my practicum experience. I have been given some authority to make purchases which has given me a new experience, however, I was told what to buy and had to have it approved by Justine prior to purchase. I would like to be able to see the annual budget and understand how to create that budget and manage it. I think this is the biggest area of expertise that I lack in my quest to become a Student Affairs professional within Campus Recreation. I need to understand how to create and manage a budget in order to succeed as a professional in this field. We all know that budget cuts have already happened are imminent in the future so this skill is truly essential for my future career goals.