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Life/Career Decision Making: Using the Bumps Along the Way . Jane Emery, M.Ed., Director of Advising and Career Development/DUS Coordinator, Penn State York Andrew Caldwell, M.S., Career Counselor/DUS Adviser, Penn State York. DUS Fall 2012 Conference.

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life career decision making using the bumps along the way

Life/Career Decision Making:Using the Bumps Along the Way

Jane Emery, M.Ed., Director of Advising and Career Development/DUS Coordinator, Penn State York

Andrew Caldwell, M.S., Career Counselor/DUS Adviser, Penn State York

dus fall 2012 conference
DUS Fall 2012 Conference
  • Jane Emery, M.Ed., Director of Advising and Career Development/DUS Coordinator
  • Andrew Caldwell, M.S., Career Counselor/DUS Adviser

Penn State York

penn state york
Penn State York
  • About 1300 students
  • 90% commuters, 10% in off-campus housing
  • 8 baccalaureate degrees and 6 associate degrees
  • Access to more than 160 majors throughout Penn State
  • One third of new first year students are enrolled in DUS
integrating academic advising and career development
Integrating Academic Advising and Career Development
  • Virginia Gordon (2006) describes career advising as a process that “helps students understand how their personal interests, abilities, and values might predict success in the academic and career fields they are considering and how to form their academic and career goals accordingly” (p.12). 
  • “... Developmental counseling or advising is concerned not only with a specific personal or vocational decision but also with facilitating the student's rational processes, environmental and interpersonal interactions, behavior awareness, and problem-solving, decision-making, and evaluation skills” (Crookston, 1972/94, p. 5).
  • “The process of academic advising includes the following dimensions: (1) exploration of life goals, (2) exploration of vocational goals, (3) program choice, (4) course choice, and (5) scheduling courses” (O'Banion, 1972/94, p. 10).
advising and career development at penn state york
Advising and Career Development at Penn State York
  • Advising Roster 

-Significant number of first generation students

-Vast majority state career/vocational goals as primary reason for

attending college  

-Most students work part-time, many are non-traditional with family responsibilities

  • Career Services
    • -Traditional career services to all students and alumni
    • -Class presentations for faculty  
    • -Serve on board of the Central Pennsylvania Employment Consortium (CPEC)
    • -Teach CNED 100: Effective Career Decision Making
    • (3 Credits, Fall & Spring semesters)
our process for this presentation
Our Process for this Presentation
  • Brought together many resources and tools we use with students-Recommended Academic Plans, MyPlan, DUS Website, PSU Career Services print and web resources
  • Began with an established decision making model
  • Five Competencies for Making Life/Career Decisions
    • Self-Assessment
    • Identification of Options
    • Goal Selecting
    • Planning
    • Problem Solving
we hit a bump
We hit a Bump
  • When thinking about these tools and resources that we reply so heavily on, we realized that something was missing
  • Models and plans, while helpful, are too "tidy” for some situations
  • Some of our students' most memorable and influential moments happen when they hit a "bump"

Some definitions that made sense in our experience advising students:

  • “an impact; knock; jolt; collision”
  • “to travel or proceed in jerks and jolts”
  • “a dull thud or other noise from an impact or collision”
  • “the shock of a blow or collision”
  • “a lump on the body caused by a blow”
  • “a protuberance, as on a road surface”
  • “to knock out of place; dislodge”
  • “to displace (someone or something) from a previously allocated position the story was bumped from the front page”

Definitions retrieved from

out of book
Out of Book
  • In competitive Chess, matches open with predictable moves that have been documented in a database, “The Book”
  • "Out of Book" is a term used in Chess notes to indicate that the placement of the pieces on the board is unique (games inevitably reach this point)
  • Players are then are their own, creating a new pathway
out of book off the map
Out of Book/Off the Map

“You may think about things so much that you get into the state where you are eating the menu instead of the dinner, you are valuing the money more than the wealth, and you are confusing the map with the territory" (Watts, 1994, p.139)

out of book off the map1
Out of Book/Off the Map
  • With myriad individual factors in each student's situation, in advising sessions we find that we often find ourselves in an "Out of Book“ situation
  • It is sometimes necessary to (temporarily) put Recommended Academic Plans and career assessment results aside
    • this can be very difficult but necessary     
  • Some students are stuck on the "plan" and have a very literal view of the major/career relationship
student case studies two different views of bioengineering
Student Case Studies: Two Different Views of Bioengineering
  • Anticipating Potential "Bumps”
    • “Robert”   is interested in Bioengineering (BIO E)
      • Started in DUS with average to low average FTCAP scores/high school background, needed to catch up
      • Placed Math 22 – needed at least 3.3 GPA with all entry to major courses ETM & go to University Park after third semester .     
      • Wanted to earn M.D. and become cancer researcher due death of loved one
      • Goal of BIO E was academic interest and a deliberate career plan (not Premedecine) as he wanted to leave specific options open if he changed career goals   
      • Student got into BIO E by taking summer courses, some CHEM another campus while attending York
student case studies two different views of bioengineering1
Student Case Studies: Two Different Views of Bioengineering
  • This Road Ends - Create your own Detour
    • “Amanda” also wants BIO E
    • In Engineering pre-major, came into our office over summer (before 3rd semester)
    • Also wanted BIOE due to death of a loved one - career goal M.D./PhD to become researcher specializing in Cardiology
    • Was not possible to reach required GPA but student was insistent this was the only way to her career goal
      • her “overly” literal view of the major/career relationship was driving her decision-making
    • Unwilling to "look up from the map" to see the “territory”
what s in your luggage
What's in Your Luggage?
  • Advisers frequently try to meet students "where they are" but often forget what they bring to the meeting
  • Advising session is often a "collision" of different decision making models, values, expectations, worldviews, etc.
  • What do we as advisers bring to the interaction - as parents, friends, and former college students?
student case studies an adviser drawing from personal experience proceed but with caution
Student Case Studies An Adviser Drawing from Personal Experience: Proceed, but with Caution
  • “Doug”, DUS student - 0.0 first semester, at another campus; changed to York
  • Improved at York but still struggled
  • Met with student, parents, very tense and frustrated as he had been dropped for poor scholarship and lost financial aid. Was seriously considering leaving Penn State and college altogether.   
  • Based on some of the concerns raised regarding focus and attention asked if student had any previous concerns in K-12 with ADHD/LD 
  • Adviser shared personal experience with family members who were treated for ADHD.
  • Student consulted a doctor, was diagnosed/treated, and successfully petitioned for retroactive withdrawal from first semester     
  • Recently graduated with Associates Degree in Human Development and Family Studies.
mapping new territory
Mapping New Territory
  • Creating an academic pathway to a career that includes flexibility and “untidiness”
  • Adaptability, creativity, critical thinking, and communication skills are all built into the advising process
    • built into the general education curriculum
    • highly valued by employers
  • These same skills are necessary to navigate the path to their academic and career goals
student case studies
Student Case Studies
  • “Nina” – DUS all 4 semesters, started with science schedule, calculus, dropped chemistry
  • Took CNED 100, chose to major in Accounting
  • Works at Northrop Grumman - The Professional Development Program is open to recent college graduates focusing on engineering and manufacturing, business management, and supply chain management.
  • Rotating assignments offer the chance to explore a variety of fields.
  • She compares this program to her experience in DUS
student case studies1
Student Case Studies
  • “Harriet” – started nondegree, undecided.
    • Walt Disney college program one semester, decided on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management
  • “Tanya” – DUS, wanted was considering Premedicine and Science, now considering Biobehavioral Health
    • Was headed toward med school, now exploring health related fields
  • “Larry” – sophomore in DUS
    • interest in Criminal Justice, Business, Electrical Engineering Technology, Kinesiology, and Athletic Training
  • Borchard, D., Kelly, J., Weaver, N. (1995). Your Career: Choices and Changes. Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt.
  • Crookston, B. B. (1994). A developmental view of academic advising as teaching.
  • Gordon, V. N. (2006). Career advising: An academic advisor’s guide. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • NACADA Journal, 14(2), 5-9.O'Banion, T. (1994). An academic advising model.
  • Watts, A. (1994). Talking Zen. New York: Weatherhill