Constance M. Brannon, M.Ed.
"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Spring 2010

Design and Delivery of Study Abroad: While Studying Abroad, HIED 66595—Dr. Kenneth Cushner

Rome and Florence, Italy

Catalog description: The course is designed to meet the needs of current and future faculty and administrators interested in learning how institutions extend, promote, and operate academic and student affairs beyond their national borders. The specific focus of this year’s course is on the development and delivery of study abroad programs, including third party providers, faculty-led programs and short-term programs. Participants will meet providers in Rome and Florence. The visit will coincide with the on-site orientation of students attending the Spring 2010 Kent State — Florence campus. Participants will also undertake a one-day independent travel experience as part of the course assignment in order to plan an educational travel program.

Course description: Italy, the second most popular destination for study abroad among American students, hosted more than 30,670 American students in 2007-08. More than 130 U.S. universities have study abroad programs in Italy. Kent State has been offering programs in Florence since 1970, now in its own 13th century Palazzo dei Cerchi, located in the heart of old Medieval Florence. Institutions and organizations expected to be visited during the course include: Kent State University’s historic 13th-century state-of-the-art Palazzo dei Cerchi in Florence; a third-party program provider in Florence and/or Rome; Association of American College and University Programs in Italy (AACUPI, in Rome); representatives of other USA-based program providers; sites for independent travel in a nearby destination as desired, and a wide range of historic and cultural sites in Rome and Florence.

Reflection: I was attracted to this opportunity because I did not study abroad at Baldwin-Wallace College and would not have otherwise gained background knowledge in Study Abroad initiatives. What a fun way to learn! We balanced work with play and had many good discussions about the value that study abroad experiences add to a student’s college experience. Though I do not anticipate working in the function of study abroad, I believe that the knowledge I gained will help me promote such programs to students in my roles as an admissions counselor or career counselor.

Career Development and Guidance, CHDS 68182— Dr. Mark Savickas

Catalog description: An analysis of the major approaches to career counseling, including use of diagnosis, test interpretation and occupational information.

Course description: An introductory course in the careers area for practitioners in education, helping services, human resources and personnel. Students will examine the meaning of work in contemporary society; how people select and adapt to work; and guidance techniques that help people make career choices which are suitable to the individual and viable in society. The first third of the course focuses on theoretical models of career choice, the middle third emphasizes guidance methods that counselors may use to facilitate client decision making, and the final third deals with guidance materials that counselors can use to foster client career development.

Reflection: As a career services candidate for my first HESA job search, I found this class especially helpful to supplement what I learned during my summer internship at the University of Florida. Dr. Savickas highlighted a useful method for understanding a client’s current mindset (through six diagnostic questions) when seeking career counseling, in hopes that we as counselor can help them facilitate their own self-discovery. Holland’s Code was the framework for our discussions. In the process, I felt that some of his lectures were actually therapeutic for me as well, giving me useful things to think about, and solidified my choice to pursue Student Affairs as a career (instead of a musical discipline).

Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, HIED 66749– Dr. Paul Gaston

Catalog description: This course is designed to provide an understanding of current assessment and evaluation methods in higher education settings. Topics will span from individual classroom assessment through institutional accreditations processes.

Course description: “This course is designed to provide an understanding of current assessment and evaluation methods in higher education settings. Topics will span from indi­vidual classroom assessment through institutional accreditation processes.” The catalogue description is accurate. However, despite the official label, this is not a “lecture” course. In a proper seminar, we are all teachers and learners.  Decisions as to what should be assessed, by what means, and for what reasons exert a profound impact on higher education in the United States and around the world. Some decisions express a clear educational rationale; others do not. In this seminar, we will undertake an active study of assessment and evaluation by considering selected issues in some depth, by tracking current issues, including international ones, and by considering likely directions for the future.

Reflection: This seminar stretched me a little more than others in our program, since I had little familiarity with assessment/evaluation/accreditation (the three primary topics covered in class). Data, in general, tends to make me nervous, and I felt intimidated by my lack of experience with assessment initiatives, but Dr. Gaston had a very practical approach to tackling current issues in the field, especially because assessment has become such a hot topic in the higher education world. The only thing I wish had been more present in the subject matter were “tips of the trade” for successfully evaluating and assessing programs that we will facilitate in our roles as entry-level professionals.

Case Studies in Higher Education Administration, HIED 66655– Dr. Susan Iverson

Catalog description: Study of management responsibilities and leadership issues of student affairs administrators.

Course description: This course integrates concepts and skills addressed throughout the M.Ed. program in Higher Education Administration and Student Personnel (HIED). It affords students the opportunity to develop and improve decision-making skills and to increase understanding of concepts and current practices in student affairs and higher education administration. The class is intended to assist in clarifying thinking and values about individual and collective actions in higher education and to polish the ability to communicate that analysis both orally and in writing. Students are expected to share responsibility for collaborative problem-solving involving complex issues in student development and higher educational leadership by involving others in discussing ideas, problems, strategies, and assisting them in clarifying their thinking and emotions. Through the use of case materials and participant-dominated discussion sessions, this course attempts to replicate the complex reality which an administrator faces, presents an opportunity to develop analytical skills, and provides an opportunity to critique and develop a personal administrative style. The course draws on a range of salient topics including leadership and governance, student development, diversity, law, business administration, and educational policy as they relate to participants in colleges and universities including higher education staff and administrators, faculty, and students.

Reflection: Our capstone class covered a lot of ground in a very short period of time; overwhelming, yet beneficial. A thorough review of all of our coursework, to support the decisions we made in weekly case study analyses, was very helpful as we prepared for job interviews; it also served as one indicator that for as much as we’ve learned, there is much that we have yet to learn. The e-portfolio assignment also helped in this way, and allowed me to reflect on the last two years, what I will take away from my experience at Kent State, and how I can develop professionally in the years to come.

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