Report on the ACUI Applying Core Competencies Task Force (ACCTF) March 14, 2007 Submitted by: Susan Payment, Co-chair Kristine Day, Co-chair Jeffrey Hoffman, ACUI Board of Trustees Liaison Introduction At the July Board meeting in 2006, the ACUI BOT leadership determined to move forward with furthering the work of the Task Force on the Development of Core Competencies in the College Union and Student Activities Profession. The work of this group concluded with a report identifying core competencies. This report was submitted in March of 2005. The Educational Councils have been using the 11 core competencies as a framework for developing programs and projects. Due to the work of the four Educational Councils as well as recent Conference Planning Teams and Regional Directors, the competencies have begun to be implemented in association-wide programs and projects. The March 2005 report included ideas generated by the task force and the membership at- large of skills that might be associated with each of the competencies. At their July meeting last summer, the Board of Trustees determined that a more formalized set of skills defined along with each competency would lend further legitimacy to our profession and provide even more clarity for the association’s application of these competencies. As the Educational Councils, the Central Office, and the other component leadership groups continue to operationalize the 11 core competencies, they will be aided by a more defined, research and experience-based set of skills to go along with the competencies. Charge To further this work, the Board of Trustees approved a charge in September 2006 which serves as the basis for the creation of the ACCTF. Purpose: This team is charged with identifying the necessary skill sets for each of the 11 core competencies for college unions and student activities staff to be considered proficient professionals. Process: In the Task Force on the Development of Core Competencies in the College Union and Student Activities Profession’s March 2005 report, potential skill sets were listed within each core competency (the full task force report is available at http://www.acui.org/ACUI/About/Reports/). The ACCTF team will be responsible for using that list as a starting point to accomplishing its charge by adding, refining, or changing the skill sets identified in 2005. The new recommended skill sets will be grounded in academic research, business theory and proven practice. The initial draft of the work team’s report will contain the list of skill sets identified for each of the 11 competencies and their descriptions along with information on how the group arrived at their conclusions. This will also include citations and references that draw upon academic and business literature. In Phase 1, only common skill sets will be developed that are relevant to any college union or student activities staff member regardless of job responsibility. Phase 2 of the project will analyze which skill sets are relevant to specific job responsibilities and assign them accordingly. This task force’s charge is distinctly focused on the profession. Concurrently, the ACUI Education Councils will focus the Association’s programs and services to be aligned with the core competencies. An example of this is using the 11 core competencies to label ACUI volunteer learning outcomes, educational sessions, online resources, and magazine articles. Once the task force determines the skill sets, the entire profession might use the core competencies for performance evaluations, graduate education curricula, and hiring processes. The hope is that by that time, at least ACUI members will be used to seeing the core competencies through the Association’s programs and services, and the profession at large will be more inclined to use the core competencies in study and practice. Timeline: The initial draft report for Phase 1 will be presented to the ACUI Board of Trustees by July 1, 2007. This draft will then be available for member feedback and refined by Sept. 30, 2007. The final step in the process will be for the Applying Core Competencies Task Force to determine which skill sets are needed to be proficient in specific job responsibilities (realizing that all the core competencies are necessary for each job). A timeline will be established for the completion of Phase 2 once Phase 1 is complete. Selection of the Task Force Members Following Board approval of the charge, the process for selecting members for the task force was as follows: General call for applications from ACUI members BOT members recommended individuals to serve These individuals were contacted A follow-up was sent to these individuals The ten applications were disseminated to the Strategic Direction Committee for review Feedback from the committee was submitted to Lincoln Johnson and Jeffrey Hoffman Lincoln and Jeff met to discuss the pool of candidates A slate of finalists was chosen Phone interviews were conducted by Lincoln and Jeff with the finalists Lincoln and Jeff met afterward to confirm choices and identify chairs Task force members were called and invited to accept the invitation to serve Committee Membership Susan Payment, Co-chair Director of Student Life, College of Charleston Kristine Day, Co-chair Director of Student Activities, University of Michigan – Dearborn David Grady Associate V.P and Director of University Life Centers, University of Iowa Karen Pitts Assistant Director for Programs and Outreach, University of Virginia Dirk Rodricks Assistant Director of Facilities and Operations, University of Vermont Carolyn Whittier Associate Director of Programs and Ed. Services, Virginia Commonwealth University Jeffrey Hoffman, Board of Trustees Liaison Director of Student Life, Art Center College of Design Zack Wahlquist, ACUI Central Office Liaison Educational Program Coordinator, ACUI Central Office Progress Report The ACCTF first met on a conference call on Friday, January 19, 2007. Prior to this meeting each of the task force members were provided with a complete copy of the March 2005 Identification of Core Competencies Report. The group discussed how they would carry out their work. It was noted that the task force should look at the big picture, looking at their work in the context of the profession and not just the work of the association. Members were encouraged to use ideas regarding skill sets within the March 2005 report to inform their work, but not restrict their thinking. Members were reminded to draw upon professional literature and experience to substantiate their recommendations. The group was encouraged to use the literature review in the report but to do further research since the body of literature has expanded and each of the task force members bring their own knowledge and areas of expertise. To begin accomplishing their work, the task force members were each assigned a minimum of two competencies for the purpose of developing general skill sets. Each of the work teams has completed a first draft of skill sets. At the last meeting on February 28, the task force reviewed first drafts. This process produced a clearer idea of how to structure the report and continue the work of developing skill sets. Task force members were reminded to ground their ideas in research. The task force has made substantial progress in the two short months since they first began meeting but understand that the work ahead of them will also be substantial. The next meeting will be on March 16, 2007. Issues/Challenges Assessment – As the skill sets are developed, it will be important for consideration to be given as to their measurability. How will we know if skills have been learned by union and activities staff? Applicability – In the first phase of the charge, skills are to be developed that are identified as those that any college union or activities staff member should have. How should that determination be made? Legitimacy – It is vital that the document report that is produced reflect bodies of literature from education and other relevant fields to ensure that the skills identified are valued and respected within the field of student affairs. Learning Outcomes – Following the movement within higher education toward outcomes-based learning, it will be important to express the knowledge to be gained by the acquisition of these skills in a format that emphasizes exactly what staff will learn. Next Steps and Timeline for Completion The group will continue their work to complete the report in time to meet the deadline expressed in the charge. A first final draft report will be submitted to the Board of Trustees by July 1, 2007. By continuing to meet monthly as a full task force and more frequently in smaller teams, additional draft documents for review will be developed, reviewed and refined. Members of the task force who will be attending Annual Conference will also meet face-to-face on Sunday, March 25.