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Archive for the ‘Careers’ Category

By Ellen H. Badger and Shawna Szabo

Throughout your career, you will be faced with unavoidable realities that may disrupt your journey. Rather than having these realities affect you in a negative way, why not turn lemons into lemonade? Transforming a possibly negative situation into a positive one is not easy, but it is a skill that certainly can be learned.

During our Career Center Speaker Series presentation at NAFSA 2016 in Denver, we discussed a number of these “career realities” and offered different strategies for dealing with them. We’ve chosen to focus on two for this blog: the increased mobility of employees and the challenge of unfilled staff vacancies.  (more…)

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By Samantha Martin

Are you in conflict at your office? We’ve all been there.

Something got unexpectedly pushed onto our plate, something was said, someone clammed up, someone lashed out, something got dropped, someone was overlooked, something went unnoticed, etc. And, we take offense.

It’s not a mystery why conflict upsets us. No matter the title or years of experience, work is important to us. We invested a lot of time and money to be eligible for the position we are in. We made sacrifices along the way. We want to be seen and valued. We want to grow and know that our work matters.

How do we move beyond trouble at the office? The same way we train our students to move through conflict when they go abroad.

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By Sora H. Friedman

Earlier this year, I kicked off this two-part blog series examining how NAFSA’s International Education (IE) Professional Competencies can be used for team development and hiring with a post providing background about the competencies and asking IE supervisors and hiring managers to provide feedback (via online survey) on how they are using the competencies in their own work.

Additionally, during the NAFSA 2016 conference in Denver, I led a presentation in the NAFSA 2016 Career Center considering how the competencies can be used as a tool to assess team skills, strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in order to assist with the professional development of current staff and to plan for future hiring searches. My goal with each was to engage with as many people as possible about how they have used the tool within their own offices. Here’s what I learned.

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Edited by Ellen Badger

We’re kicking off the new academic year with this Advice From the Field column by Deborah L. Pierce, PhD, associate consultant at Ruffalo Noel Levitz, who offers helpful strategies for managing the potential downside of being an internal candidate.

Q. I was an internal candidate for a position in my current office that would have meant a promotion, but an external candidate got the job. I’m really disappointed. Are there options other than looking elsewhere? What’s the best way for me to manage this setback?

A. Deb Pierce

You are not alone; this has happened to me and will happen to most of us at some point in our careers. I understand why this feels like a setback: you committed to that search and didn’t succeed, which doesn’t feel very good. Here are some steps I took to deal with similar situations. (more…)

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By Brad Sekulich

A career in study abroad was not on my radar when I was an undergraduate student, or even for some time after that. The path that has brought me to the field of education abroad–my chosen field for almost 20 years now–has been very interesting and one I never would have anticipated.

The financial need for a job while working on a PhD led me to take my first job in international education at Texas Tech University. I was their first full-time study abroad advisor and left after a year to become the first full-time study abroad coordinator at University of Texas-Arlington. It’s important to note that I was the first full-timer at these institutions, serving in positions that are now very common. It says a lot about the field’s development in the past two decades. It really is impressive to see the growth of opportunities in education abroad, mostly because it means there is more need for our services. The American mindset is globalizing, albeit more slowly than for most of our liking.

As the field has evolved in the past two decades, so too have the ways we enter it, work in it, and promote it. Now many, if not most, folks working in or wanting to work in education abroad do so intentionally and with quite a bit of forethought.

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By Tiffany Harrison and Kayla Patterson

With the NAFSA annual conference just around the corner, we’d like to talk about the importance of getting social. More specifically, we’re referring to the use of social media to enhance your career and professional development. As we’ve stated previously, merging your offline and online networking together is integral to how you market yourself. To give you a better sense as to why your online profile has become increasingly valuable, we’re covering some of the key questions we’ve received as social media advocates, and discussing what it means for you as an international educator.

Why is social media so important for career development?

Social media is important for career development because it’s such a powerful form of networking. As is inherent in the term “social networks,” channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Instagram have become the places to build a network of friends, fans, followers, connections, or whatever else you’d like to call them! Networking is key to career and professional development. The connections you make on social media could help you get a new job, find a mentor, learn more about your industry, support a career change, and more.

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By Patricia Jones

When I got my first business card, I was so excited. Here at last was proof that I was a recognized professional in a position of authority in international education. I could exchange it with my peers, provide it to my students, and present it to individuals from around the world. This was validation of who I was.

For years, I carried it proudly in my card case. It was a part of my personal identification. But then came the day that it no longer defined me. I was retiring.

Many of us look forward to the day when we don’t have to get up early in the morning, dress for work, and do our jobs all day. However, as we close in on that rite of passage known as “retirement,” we often have concerns about how we will adjust. What will we do with our time? How will we replace the interactions with our colleagues? Will we still grow intellectually? Our lives are so filled with individuals we serve, people we nurture, and cross-cultural experiences we share that we are not sure about the whole process of moving into this new world of unknowns.

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By Katherine Punteney

The Forum on Education Abroad reports that 87 percent of its members hold a master’s degree or higher, and the Association for International Education Administrators found that 81 percent of senior international officers hold doctoral degrees. It seems like everyone you have met has told you that you need a graduate degree to move up in the field. So you decide to take the plunge and apply for a graduate degree program in international education. The dilemma now is choosing the right program. How can you tell what the program will be like and what it can offer you?

The first key decision to make is whether you want a more theoretical, research-based curriculum or a more applied curriculum. At the doctoral level, this is typified by the choice between the PhD and EdD. In the United States, the doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree typically takes six years to complete, and, as the name suggests, is often theoretical in focus. Following approximately two years of full-time course work, including courses on research methodology, the PhD student will embark on three to five years of research to carry out and complete a dissertation. The emphasis is on creating new understandings of phenomena in international education through research, with recommendations for practice.

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By Mandy Hansen

I asked my colleagues and session attendees the following question: “What is one challenge that you’ve had, as a woman, in navigating your professional life?”

A few of the replies include:

  • Confined to one role, locked in and not supported;
  • Balancing being assertive and being perceived as “bossy”;
  • Trouble being heard and taken seriously;
  • Being a woman of color and not having someone to look up to and be a mentor; and
  • Lack of understanding of the work done: it’s viewed as “fun” and anyone can do it.

Renditions of these replies are repeated even though the audience shifts from state to state. I’ve done three different sessions on the topic of women and leadership in three different states over the past eight months, and certain themes emerge that turn a solitary experience into one that is shared among others in the room. The goal of these sessions is to open up the dialogue and validate the experiences of women.

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By Samantha Martin

Is international education experiencing a creativity crisis?

My team and I have been on a “listening tour” of sorts with international educators and students for the past 2 years as we build new human-centered software for education abroad. In that time, I’ve been quite struck by the overwhelming sentiment from international educators at all levels that there’s very little room for creativity in higher education today.

This is a problem. We need our highly educated, well-traveled, multilingual international education workforce to unleash their creative minds on very real and complex problems.

Where are we missing the mark?

For starters, I think many of us imagine that creativity is a special experience reserved for artists and designers. We forget that creativity is solving problems in a new way within the confines of meaningful limitations. The more complex the problem or set of problems, the greater the need for creativity. Viewed this way, international education is a field that requires a lot of creativity to solve problems for stakeholders operating within different linguistic and cultural constructs across multiple timezones.

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