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Core Competencies Self-Assessment Reflection

Stephanie Swigart

Wright State University


To be a lifelong learner is one of my greatest ambitions. In order to achieve this, one

must understand the importance of education, be open to new ideas, and recognize that there is

always room to grow. As a Student Affairs professional, it is important that we act as models for

those students that we serve and be constantly willing and able to adapt to the various changes

and unique situations that we may encounter.

In taking the SAHE Basic Competencies Student Self- Assessment, it quickly became

apparent the breadth of knowledge that is necessary to be considered competent in the field.

Being that I have limited experience in higher education, I have not had the opportunity to

address the majority of the competencies. However, there are a few that I have been able to work

on in my personal life as well as in school and in my undergrad. Having this self-assessment is a

wonderful tool that will enable me to be aware of where Ive been, where I am, and where I hope

to be as I progress in my chosen career. Of the ten different competency areas, I felt the most

confident in the Personal Foundations area and the least confident in the Assessment, Evaluation,

and Research area, as well as the Law, Policy, and Governance area. The other areas contained a

mixture of responses depending upon the specificity of the competencies and whether I felt I had

the basic skills and abilities necessary at the moment to mark that I am somewhat competent.

Looking at the assessment overall, it is obvious that I have a lot to improve upon.

As mentioned previously, there were two particular areas that I felt the least equipped to

deal with successfully. The first is the Assessment, Evaluation, and Research portion. I marked

not competent in every single category in that section. While I have learned about quantitative

and qualitative research in previous classes, I do not have much experience in it. I can tell that

our Research Methods class will be very helpful in teaching me the basics of research and how

important it is in relation to Student Affairs. However, just from the couple of assignments that

weve completed so far, it is very clear to me how complex the process is and how much careful

planning it requires. It is going to take a lot of experience in actually implementing these

programs and evaluating them in order for me to make headway in these competencies. With the

heavy focus of transparency in student affairs, it is necessary that I be able to not only create

programs but to be able to assess their effectiveness as well. Research is what we use to

determine the best method to conduct our programs because it is way too costly to do so

otherwise. We must have a solid knowledge base in research in order to justify our choices and

make informed decisions.

The second competency area that I need the most improvement in is the Law, Policy, and

Governance section. If Im being honest, this is probably the area that would be the most

challenging for me just because I have always found the subject of law to be very tedious.

However, I recognize that it is beyond important and that to be knowledgeable in the legal

implications of higher education is non-negotiable. How policies are developed, who develops

them, and how they interact at all different levels, whether that be as small as departmental or as

large as federal, is a competency that will require a good bit of time and effort. It is also of

utmost importance to stay abreast with the latest changes that are made to the laws and policies

so that you can ensure that you are following all regulations accordingly.

The Personal foundations competency area is the only section that I feel pretty confident

in my abilities. Being that I have a preference for introversion, self-reflection is something that is

second nature to me. However, I recognize that we are constantly changing so the need for self-

reflection will never be complete. Circumstances will change, beliefs will be challenged, and

there will always be room for improvement. Being aware of your strengths and weaknesses both

professionally and personally is an asset to growth. Without reflection, the likelihood of


becoming stagnant is all-too real. The component of wellness in this competency area is

something about which I feel very strongly. Living a balanced life that takes into account all

aspects of wellness is an incredibly important, but sometimes difficult task to accomplish.

Usually, when you fail to nourish one aspect of your life, the other aspects may suffer as well.

This ties in very closely with our role of taking a holistic approach when working with the

student population.

Through my graduate study, I plan to gain the foundational competencies needed to begin

in an entry-level position. I know that my Career Development Advising/Assessment class will

be a great way to work on the Advising and Helping Competency area. We have already touched

on the SOLER communication techniques for active listening and will be able to apply it while

completing our Career Interview and Assessment with an actual client. My graduate

assistantship, shadowing experiences, and internship opportunities are an excellent venue for

applying what I learn in class to real-world situations as well. Another great way to work on

improving my competencies would be to join both NASPA and ACPA. Attending the conferences

and reviewing the literature that they publish ensures that you are up to date with what is

happening in the field.

As I venture into a career in Student Affairs, I hope that I can serve as a role model for

the students with whom I come into contact. Leading by example and embodying the core values

and attitudes necessary for continual learning and growth is what I strive to achieve. The SAHE

Basic Competencies Student Self-Assessment is a great tool that I can and will use in order to

guide my objectives professionally as well as personally in some aspects. As I gain experience

and work through the graduate program, I look forward to seeing the progress made in each of

the competency areas. However, as an individual committed to lifelong learning, I know that the

progress will never be finished and I am perfectly fine with that.