Bridges has its very own sponsor! I recently had the opportunity to talk with John Fracchia, Associate Director of Career Services for Ithaca College and current President Elect for EACE, about Ithaca’s latest sponsor involvement with EACE. The EACE board (of which John is also a member) has been evaluating sponsorship opportunities for some time. Having been an EACE sponsor previously, when asked about sponsoring Bridges specifically, Ithaca’s response was, “Why wouldn’t we want to be associated with Bridges?” In John’s mind, this was a great way to continue showing support for EACE in a meaningful way. “EACE honors people in our profession and Bridges offers good articles about trends in our profession. This was a no brainer.” As an institution, Ithaca believes in the value of being active and making positive contributions as evidenced by their career service team’s long standing relationship with EACE.
Originally opened as a music conservatory in 1892, Ithaca College has made a home for itself in the diverse city of Ithaca, nestled in the Fingerlakes region of New York State. The college currently serves more than 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students in five distinct schools, plus their Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies. Ithaca offers centralized career services to all students and alumni under the philosophical orientation of teaching job skills for a lifetime. When asked to speak to this Bridges edition’s theme of diversity, it becomes clear that it has deep roots in the history of both Ithaca College and John Fracchia. John has two siblings who are adopted and of a different race, so his experience with diversity started early. He has gone on to be a diversity trainer and even drafted the diversity statement currently used by EACE. The statement is intentionally broad to encompass the large number of ways, both visible and invisible, that diversity is represented. At one time, John helped bring a chapter of the National Coalition Building Institute to Ithaca College, a campus that recognizes and honors the diversity of its student body. With a focus on commonalities and shared stories rather than differences, Ithaca College has incorporated a diversity program into the leadership development component of their Student Engagement Office and has received a gold level rating in the OUT for Work certification program supporting LBGT students. As we launch a new year of Bridges acknowledging the wide variety of constituents served by EACE members, please join us in welcoming Ithaca College as our sponsor.
One of the wonderful things about working in higher education generally, and career services specifically, is the willingness of colleagues at different institutions to share ideas, information and their best practices. In what other industry do competitors so willingly share their “trade secrets?” And of course, much of this cross-pollination of ideas amongst colleagues occurs through conferences and other events organized by professional associations like EACE.
As someone relatively new to the profession, I have tried to take advantage of as many professional development opportunities as possible over the past three years. From my prior experience attending conferences and seminars, I always came away inspired with fresh ideas and also appreciated the chance to network and meet new colleagues. However, due to budget cuts last year, my attendance at conferences was constrained. That is when I stumbled upon information about the EACE Diversity Advancement Scholarship on the EACE website. I had never heard of the scholarship before, but as I read through, I was excited to apply because not only would it provide an opportunity to attend the EACE conference, it would also allow me to get involved in the organization in a meaningful way through serving on the Diversity Advancement Committee.
Issues related to diversity have always been close to my heart and are in fact one of the reasons I entered the higher education profession. As career services professionals, we know all too well that the classroom is only one of many places our students learn. The diversity of a campus community lends a critical element to the overall student experience. Living, socializing and interacting with students as well as staff and faculty from diverse backgrounds is a learning experience in and of itself. As the demographics of our students continue to change, it becomes even more important that the demographics of the staff and faculty who serve these students also shift accordingly. The fact that EACE offers the Diversity Scholarship stands as a testament to the Association’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.
One of the most interesting books I read last year was The Medici Effect by Frans Johansson. (Johansson was a keynote speaker at the 2009 NACE conference.) The book examines the nature of creativity and sheds valuable insight into ways to foster innovation. Johansson cites diversity as one of the main drivers of innovation. His basic premise is that innovative and groundbreaking ideas are created when people borrow concepts from one field (or context) and apply them in another. In other words, by stepping out of traditional boundaries and consciously making connections between different disciplines, industries, cultures, etc., you step into what he calls “the intersection;” and it is in the intersection where truly innovative ideas are born.
This book really resonated with me. Having moved between different cultures and sub-cultures my entire life, I have always enjoyed making connections between disparate and seemingly unrelated concepts. Moreover, given that my career prior to working in career services was so varied, I can clearly see how skills I acquired or things I learned in one context helped me in another. From humanitarian aid to documenting oral histories of those affected by 9/11 to college admissions and volunteer recruitment for the Peace Corps, my career has been quite a journey. I feel I have finally found my niche working in career services, and of course, this is in no small part because my own career path has been such a circuitous one.
This year, one of the goals of the Diversity Advancement Committee is to increase our pool of scholarship applicants. One scholarship is awarded to an individual currently working in career services and/or HR recruiting, and one scholarship is awarded to a college senior or graduate student pursuing employment in career services and/or HR. Candidates should be first-time EACE conference attendees and must be from groups underrepresented in EACE. Individuals from the following groups are strongly encouraged to apply: African-American, Latino/a, Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian, Physically Challenged, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgendered. Others who feel they may be underrepresented in the profession may apply with explanation.
I hope that each member of EACE will help us by thinking of colleagues and/or students who might be good scholarship candidates and encouraging them to apply. The most powerful and effective form of marketing is often word of mouth, or in this digital age, word of social media. If you are involved in other professional groups, alumni networks or associations, whether in person or online, please help spread the word by posting, tweeting or plain old-fashioned talking. Thanks in advance for your help!
Julie Neill is an Associate Director for Corporate Relations in the Kogod Center for Career Development at the American University Kogod School of Business.
It's not easy to begin a new life and a new job in a foreign country. There are unforeseen challenges in the way of lifestyle, standards of living, and office protocol to name a few. The thought of the differences you might face halfway around the world may either invigorate or frighten you. By personally reflecting on a handful of questions, you are likely to find out whether you have the potential to be a successful expatriate.
Question #1: Are you adventurous and outgoing with high self-esteem?
If the answer is yes, odds are you have what it takes to pursue a global job opportunity. The ability to embrace unknown situations works to your advantage. Flexibility and adaptability make the transition from home to your new host country a smoother one. Most happy expats possess these traits.
Question #2: Will this move enhance my career?
Knowing the answer to this question may make some of the challenges of your big move worth it. If a job opportunity is in your field and involves taking on more responsibility than you would be given in your home country, the long term 'where' of it tends to matter less. International experience can provide advantages in an increasingly global world. This truth can help you overlook or better deal with a possible incompatible culture- at least for a while.
Question #3: Will this move benefit me financially?
Our global economy has suffered over the year, but that doesn't mean there is a lack of opportunities. If you fill a niche a local cannot, you can make it easier for a prospective employer to hire you in the new location. Make sure to find out whether you will be paid in the local currency or in dollars. Either can be fine, but if you agree to be paid in the local currency, know the risks. If that currency becomes devalued, you may suffer financially.
Question #4: Have you had any first-hand experience in the country where you are job seeking?
A glossy brochure or a colorful website cannot compete with experiencing the country for yourself. When seriously considering a move to any country, it is worthwhile to plan a trip there before accepting a job offer. Find out if you are comfortable with the local standard of living, the culture, the terrain and the weather. Living long term in another culture can be rough no matter the benefits, so remember you know who you are better than any recruiter. Experience life there as a tourist, volunteer or study abroad student first, and you will be better prepared to make the big leap.
Working abroad is not for everyone, but answering these few questions might tell you if it's for you.
Mary Anne Thompson is the President and Founder of Going Global. For more information visit www.goinglobal.com