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PRACTICUM IN STUDENT AFFAIRS (EDU 985A/B)

STUDENT SELF-EVALUATION

1. What three key things have you learned at your practicum site? Provide an explanation of each item.

I learned firsthand how a community college functions. My only experience in the past has been with
four-year public institutions, having the opportunity to see the different processes and structure on the
community college level was very insightful. For example, at the community college level resources are
scarce, communication is limited, and there is quick turnover of positions. These factors make it
extremely difficult to implement a program that has stability to last throughout multiple years.
Additionally, throughout the process I got the chance to truly understand the different resources that
are available and are not present at the institution. For example, NSCC has a large TRiO program with
several councilors on the two campuses, however they do not have a multicultural center.

Secondly, I also learned how to deal with ethical dilemmas. Through my experience I was tested with a
few incidents where a student worker would make targeting and micro-aggressive comments towards
other students. Through communicating with my professor, talking my supervisor, and engaging with
the student I definitely began to learn how I should intervene when ethical situations such as the one I
witness occurs. Although, I wish I was more responsive during the time of the situation having the time
to reflect and analyze, I think has prepared me to effectively intervene in situations. Therefore, helping
the situation to deescalate and an opportunity to engage with the student(s) in a meaningful
conversation centered around their actions.

Thirdly, the impoartance that research and assessment plays into designing a program that is effective.
Through this experience I have witnessed how significant it is to have research to back up any initiatives
you are trying to establish. Without the best practices, statistics, and an understanding of what learning
outcomes are associated with the initiative, you cannot effectively justify the need for a program. With
this I have also learned that it is imperative that when looking at the research it is necessary to consider
the counter points of the research. For example, how orientation programs may not benefit the student
experience and why?

2. What three key things have you learned from the practicums seminar? Provide an explanation of each
item.

The first definitely is self -advocacy. Reading the articles associated with self-advocacy and then having
the opportunity to reflect upon it in my journal entry really provided perspective on how I could develop
my own advocacy in a professional manner. I think at times I can become timid and believe I am asking
for too much when I think of approaching my supervisor(s) with my concerns. However, I have learned
that if my work, experience, and professional goals are at stake I have a responsibility to support myself.

Additionally, I also learned how to work with different supervisory styles. By engaging with the class in a
discussion about our own supervisory styles and what we seek in our supervisors really put into
perspective for me that we all have different approaches. This topic was then directly associated with
the frustrations I was having with my supervisor’s style. After reading the discussions and resources
attached to that week, I realized that I am constantly going to be working with different supervisory
styles. I can either be frustrated that they do not align with my own or adapt them to fit my professional
needs. Embracing and combining the differences to form a unified front together that supervises
students in positive and consistent style.

Lastly, I really enjoyed learning and discussing the legal and ethical issues of week 6. I think that
sometimes we are not as enthusiastic talking about the legal issues that are associated with student
affairs. However, I believe it is extremely critical that we engage in these conversations to prevent any
legal actions happening against us for simple mistakes. I specifically think that confidentiality and FERPA
laws, which was discussed in one of the articles, is something that we are going to encounter daily. I
experience everyday working in my assistantship, however not everyone gets to have the same
experiences. The intentionality to keep information confidential may not be as present, therefore it is
imperative that I assist in ensuring the office that I work for is a confidential working environment.

3. What did you learn about yourself from this experience?

That I need to be more assertive in self advocating. I waited too long to approach my supervisor about
my concerns. Due to my delay, the issues and concerns that I had could have been resolved earlier. This
is also associated with my responsibilities in the office. If I was not so afraid to ask for supervisory role
over the student staff, I would have potentially gained some supervisory experience while working at a
community college. As I got comfortable and was supported by my professor I began to do more self-
advocacy to ensure I was getting the best possible experience.

4. To what extent did you fulfill your practicum contract? Please explain how you met the goals and
include what grade you feel you should receive for your work at the site.

I was able to present at multiple new student orientation programs. Being actively engaged in the
presentation allowed me to better understand the daily business students have and will do throughout
their academic journey at NSCC. As well as the resources, available for students at NSCC. During the
presentation, my supervisor would watch how I presented and my interactions with students and
guests. I also assisted in redeveloping their presentation which helped facilitate engaging conversations
revolving around students’ academic and social experiences they will encounter through their time at
NSCC. More specifically, I created a poll me everywhere which incorporated students using their phones
to answer why they are going to college. After they participated we had a conversation surrounding how
NSCC is here to help the student achieve their dreams and lead them to success.

The major project that I accomplished was conducting informational interviews, researching statewide
community colleges, and collecting research to support the redesigning of the NSCC orientation
program. Through my research and observations of the program I presented the information, including
my observations, critiques, theories, best practices, and the direction NSCC should take to the dean of
students, the supervisors, and another staff member. After this I attended a meeting with the Vice
President of student affairs where I presented the information as well as the direction of the orientation
program. I then created two formal documents. The first included my research. More specifically,
providing information on three topics: The structures of orientations, orientation leaders, and the
engagement level of orientations. Within each area I provided an explanation, the common practices,
examples, my observations, the benefits, and considerations moving forward. This document with
everything included equaled to 38 pages. Additionally, I wrote a report about assessment. Similar to the
other report I provided the impoartance, common practices, and my suggestions of implementing an
assessment. Although, I did not formalize a formal tool, due to waiting from approval from the
administration, I still had the opportunity to articulate the significance and what type of tool NSCC
should use in order to evaluate and improve the orientation program. My research assisted in the
structuring and redevelopment of the orientation program for the Summer of 2018.

Lastly, I did touch briefly on the leadership series. I collected research of the different programs that are
being implemented at institutions throughout the state as well as the best practices that were affiliated
with them. Additionally, I talked extensively with my supervisor about the direction and structure of the
leadership series. I began to formulize a schedule and approach just before I was told that the office had
to halt on continuing with the process. I did actively seek ways that I could assist in this outcome, but
beyond the research nothing else was asked of me to complete.

An A. I went above and beyond in this position. I did a lot of task that were not assigned to me on my
learning contract. For example, constructing and emailing students reminding them about orientation
sessions, filling up balloons, calling students to register for orientation, helping the student staff with
projects, and providing feedback on other projects not affiliated with the orientation program.
Although, I acknowledge that I did not meet every aspect of the learning contract I do not believe it was
on me. The administrators and my supervisor did not want to move the leadership program forward and
therefore, I was unable to achieve the outcomes to my personal satisfaction. Additionally, when sitting
down with my supervisor, looking over my contract, I asked that I have a role in the registration process.
My supervisor agreed and said he would get me in next week and I could write down my observations
and suggestions. However, he did not follow through. The reasons I did not achieve areas of my contract
were outside of my control and therefore I do not believe I should be penalized for that. I was always on
time to my site, I worked with my own supplies, I was not given access to information or resources
beyond the orientation email, and without being paid I exceeded the hours required for the practicum
to ensure all the work I could do for NSCC was done before I left.

5. Evaluate your engagement and participation in class.

Besides the last journal reflection, I was timely and consistent with handing in my assignments on time.
When we had to do online discussions, I would always read my peers responses to the discussion at
hand. Specifically, during the ethical issue voice thread presentation I tried to engage with my peers who
responded to my voice thread. Additionally, I tried to keep open communication with the professor. I
always made sure I signed up for my 15-minute one-on-ones phone conversations with the professor
and checked in on any questions or concerns I had with assignments.

6. Please add any other information you would like the instructor to know about your participation and
learning at the practicum site or in class.
I would like you to know that although, my experience at NSCC at times was trying I really made the best
out of the situation. I would also like to thank you for a wonderful semester. Thank you for being so
supportive and understanding to me throughout this process.