Student Affairs continues to hold an annual Day of Development to offer a variety of professional development opportunities to staff and managers in the division. The 2017 conference theme was We are Diversity: Doing Our Own Work First and the keynote speaker, and 16 breakout sessions offered throughout the day, focused on issues of diversity and inclusivity. Several sessions focused specifically on understanding and providing appropriate support for students from often marginalized populations.
In addition, this year saw the launch of the Student Affairs professional competencies development program. Staff and managers are given tools to assess their competencies across a range or areas identified by NASPA and ACPA (the two national organizations for Student Affairs practitioners) as being important for all Student Affairs professionals to have proficiency in. Using these tools staff and managers can identify areas of need for additional development, and the results of aggregated assessments aids the Division in identifying and developing training opportunities.
To coordinate the Division’s professional development efforts, the Office of Planning, Assessment, and Professional Development for Student Affairs was created and a Director was appointed. Future plans include the addition of an Assessment Coordinator to increase capacity for professional development programming.
The CougarBucks program was suspended after two years due to lagging enthusiasm for the initiative. The Division continues to award an annual Divisional Employee of the Year award (Sandra Kuckler Award) and a Divisional Team of the Year Award (STARS Award). Additional opportunities for peer to peer employee recognition are being considered for the future.
As a first step in the implementation of a professional development plan, Student
Affairs held its first annual Professional Development Day on January 12, 2015. This
was a full day conference for CSUSM’s Student Affairs professional staff held on campus.
The conference in this first year focused on presenting student development theories
to all attendees to establish a solid foundational understanding of student developmental
stages across the division. In addition, 12 breakout sessions during the day provided
employees developmental options addressing onboarding for new employees, leadership
skills development, enhancing current skills, and work-life balance.
The Cougar Bucks peer recognition program has been implemented with great success in 2014-15. Participation levels have been high, and employee feedback has been very positive. The program will continue in 2015-16, with the frequency of occurrence being evaluated in an ongoing fashion to maximize employee satisfaction with the initiative.