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Brittanie Blunt 4/15/2013 EDLD 7430

Career Trajectory Introduction Regarding a career trajectory within higher education administration, one must consider the nature of student affairs and the notion that theres an ever present expectation to advance within, as well as outside, of the first university you work for. While some student affairs practitioners may reside within one area of student affairs their entire career, it is more common that a practitioner will move horizontally, as well as vertically, along a career trajectory. Before considering the entire trajectory of your career, it is vital to consider what the end point of your career will be. Next, it is important to consider the necessary actions taken to reach that end point. The aforementioned necessary steps could include additional education needed, certification to acquire, experience to gain, as well as specific positions to secure in order to insure a smooth transition towards where you need to be. When considering my own career trajectory, I chose to decide what my ideal end point would be. Higher Education Career Aspirations My higher education career aspirations include end points that branch into two different areas of higher education, administration and faculty. Administratively, Id ultimately like to acquire a position as the director of an office on a college campus, or as the director of a degree

program on campus. For example, Id either wish to hold a position similar to the Director of Housing, or similar to the position of the Director of the Bachelor of Arts in English program. Administratively, this is the highest plateau on my career trajectory because of my own personal desire to stay as connected as possible to students during my career in higher education administration. The other branch at the top of my career trajectory is my desire to teach English courses at the higher education level in conjunction with my administrative position as director. My undergraduate major was English and continues to be a passion of mine even though my career path changed from a desire to teach English at the Secondary level to my current career path to fuse my higher education administrative goals with my goals to teach English. Critical Points/Incidents That Influenced My Decision The critical points/incidents that have influenced my decision to embark on the career trajectory that I have drafted arent extensive, however I have a few life events that have encouraged my decision. Initially, during my undergraduate academic career, my aspirations were simply to teach English in a Secondary school setting. I hadnt considered higher education administration as a career that was available to me, mostly because I didnt know much about the path one must be on in order to pursue such a career. As I began to do things like student teach and work/volunteer with non-profit organizations that gave me ample opportunities to teach English-based material, as well as Creative Writing, to middle school and high school-aged students, I began to reconsider my career path. Although the material was still immensely interesting to me, I considered the ages that I was teaching and came to a point that forced me to reevaluate my career choices. This was the first integral part of changing my thought process from teaching Secondary English, to making a move towards a career working at an institution of higher education. The second critical point that eventually influenced my decision was the

incorporation of friends into my life that worked for the university that I attended. As I began to build relationships with numerous people who worked for Georgia Southern University, I not only began to learn the dynamics of higher education administration, but I learned that a career in it was attainable for me. For some reason, as I mentioned earlier, I had not considered the idea that it was an attainable career choice for me due to ignorance about the career. The final thing that has recently heavily influenced my career path and trajectory is the experience I have acquired during my graduate assistantship in the Office of Student Conduct that I acquired in December. Administratively, my graduate assistantship has helped me to realize that Id like to be in positions that keep me close to interactions with students. Ideally, the bulk of my career would keep me in a position that would allow me access to the thoughts and needs of students as I understand that a large part of a practitioners purpose is to pay attention to the academic, as well as personal, triumphs and difficulties of a student. One of my duties as a Graduate Assistant in Student Conduct is to hear certain conduct cases and this aspect of my assistantship has also reaffirmed my initial thoughts that Id like to be in a position where I am connected to students. Although I realize that a position as the director of a program may not initially sound like Id like to still be connected to students towards the end of my career, the position that Id ultimately like to acquire would be one where my position as director would still allow me access to the thoughts of students, while giving me the ultimate power to make changes accordingly. Short and Long-Term Goals At this juncture, my short-term goals are obviously to move past my current position as a graduate assistant and into a full-time position. For example, as a graduate assistant in the Office of Student Conduct, a next step could be to move into a position as a full-time Conduct Officer, or to move to another office on campus, choosing to gain experience in another area. During my

last semester of classes for my M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration I am to complete a practicum class that requires a one hundred-hour internship within an office on campus. Consequently, I am taking my time deciding which office I will intern with as it may be an opportunity that will lead me to an interest in another area of higher education administration that I hadnt considered. Moving past my short-term goal to find my first full-time position within higher education, my long-term goal would be to only stay within my first position as long as needed to gain enough experience to move towards my next position. One of my goals is to avoid getting stuck in a position longer than needed unless I see my ultimate position on that particular path. I do not wish to stay within a position due to complacency or due to fear of change. Required and Preferred Job Qualifications for Future Job According to higheredjobs.com, in order to reach my first short-term goal, I will need to first complete my M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration. Along with my Masters degree, most positions require at least a year of experience for entry-level positions. Regardless of whether the experience is acquired via a graduate assistantship or via an entry-level position, I did not see any job postings that did not have an experience requirement of at least a year. Regarding the adjunct faculty/faculty positions I viewed, the requirements usually included the stipulation that the candidate must have at least a required Masters of Arts in English, while some preferred a Ph.D. in English in order to be considered. Regarding the adjunct faculty/faculty positions, there was a requirement of previous teaching experience for almost every posting. For positions that were at the plateau of my career trajectory, there was invariably a requirement of an Ed.D. or Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Administration, or Counseling alongside a requirement of several years of experience in the area related to the job title.

What I Need To Do To Realize My Goals Besides the obvious acquiring of my M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration, as well as acquiring as much as experience in a position on a college campus, it is also vital that I seek as many opportunities for professional development as I can. In the four months that I have been employed as a graduate assistant, I have taken every opportunity for professional development that has been presented to me. I have volunteered for every Open House at Georgia Southern and have had different roles at all three. At the first one, I volunteered to help Admissions with the checking in of students, while the other two included duties related to informing students of things that the Office of Student Conduct, as well as the Dean of Students office, is offering to incoming students. I have also attended numerous training classes, webinars and seminars and each one has taught me the importance of professional development in student affairs. One of the most memorable things a professor taught me was the idea that professional development is not simply going to conferences. I have learned that attending a webinar on Building Confidence in the Workplace or a workshop on sexual assault on college campuses are just as vital as the information I learn in my classes and through my graduate assistantship. Not only am I learning things that will help me during my career in higher education administration, but I have learned that professional development is often a catalyst for personal development which in turn cyclically helps your career yet again. Skills/Knowledge/Competencies Needed The skills/knowledge/competencies that I will need include the aforementioned knowledge from my classes, my graduate assistantship and professional development opportunities, but it includes much more. I realize that along with these things, I must seek out

organizations specifically geared towards higher education, use their resources and build relationships with the people within these organizations. I also realize the importance of having a mentor that I have close contact with, can learn from and with whom I can confide in. I have found a mentor while working as a graduate assistant and it has been one of the most rewarding and informative experiences as of yet. I can only see an immense amount of career growth and personal growth as a result of this mentorship. I realize that making a point to venture outside of the Office of Student Conduct to volunteer/work with other offices in their quest to complete their own particular mission is also important to my career trajectory. My goal, after all, is to be a part of the overall success of an institution of higher education with my major goal being the academic and personal success of its students.