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Best Practices for WIL Professionals. Scott Weighart Career Development and Communications Consultant November 16, 2010. Outline. Program Management Pre-orientation Phase Activity Phase Reflection Phase Building Relationships with Employers. Program Management. Question everything:

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best practices for wil professionals

Best Practices for WIL Professionals

Scott Weighart

Career Development and Communications Consultant

November 16, 2010

  • Program Management
  • Pre-orientation Phase
  • Activity Phase
  • Reflection Phase
  • Building Relationships with Employers
program management
Program Management
  • Question everything:
    • What do we do? Why do we do it? What are our goals?
    • Whose needs are we fulfilling?
    • Are students and employers on board with processes?
    • Do we have metrics to justify our requirements?
revamping pre orientation
Revamping pre-orientation
  • Bottoming out in Spring 2004
    • Sense that class wasn’t working
    • Misinterpreting the problem
    • Wrestling with “millennial students”
defining the millennial generation
Defining the Millennial Generation
  • Age group: 9-27 -- Successor to Generation X
  • Characteristics
    • High expectations (“pressured,” “achieving”)
    • Likes structure (“sheltered,” “conventional”)
    • Technologically strong
    • Highly attached to parents (“special,” “sheltered”)
    • Team-oriented
program management philosophy
Program Management Philosophy

Push high expectations button.

Students do need “reality therapy.”

Give students a high degree of structure at first, but then wean them off of that need.

Make pre-orientation activities interactive and visceral.

Get thorough feedback and act on it.

transitioning from student to employee
Transitioning from Student to Employee
  • Debate: “A student with great grades is much more likely to perform well at work than a student with poor grades.”
professional behavior in the workplace
Professional Behavior in the Workplace
  • Students overestimate ability to make adjustment to professional environments
  • Need to engage students with interactive teaching methods
the chauffeur exercise
The Chauffeur Exercise
  • Imagine this situation really happening to you: You live in Boston. have no car and no money to buy one. However, you get offered a great job that is located 45 minutes away. It’s all highway driving and intense during rush hour.


the chauffeur exercise1
The Chauffeur Exercise

However, I have some great news: The employer has agreed to provide you with a chauffeur! He is 17, just got his license, has never driven on the highway, but is enthusiastic, confident, and eager to learn.

the chauffeur exercise2
The Chauffeur Exercise
  • Take a few minutes to jot down a few thoughts on these two questions:
    • 1. What is your emotional reaction to the thought of having this chauffeur drive you to and from your new job every day?
    • 2. Regardless of your reaction, how would you approach dealing with the chauffeur if you had no choice but to make the situation work?
the chauffeur exercise reflections
The Chauffeur Exercise: Reflections

Have you ever had a situation in your career in which you have been “the chauffeur”?

If you encountered skepticism or negativity when joining a new community of practice, how did you overcome that?

role play day
Role Play Day
  • Great way to enliven and engage class
  • Give plenty of time for participants to study roles and get in character
  • Two favorite role plays:
    • “The First Meeting”
    • “The Twin Terrors”
activity phases
Activity Phases






We identify themes and coping skills for each phase

activity phase educator options
Activity Phase: Educator Options

Frequency of contact?

Timely e-mail blasts

Firm visits

Real-time reflection

Journaling requirement

Evening meetings


reflection best practices
Reflection: Best Practices

Reflection: An area that frustrates most educators

Dilemma: Labor intensiveness of doing it right

Capstone versus holistic approach

reflection best practices1
Reflection: Best Practices
  • Metacognition and knowledge transfer
    • Focus on learning: technical skills, non-technical skills, and self-awareness
    • Review top accomplishments and developmental needs
    • Use BBI approach to come full circle
using behavioral based stories in the reflection process
Using Behavioral-Based Stories In The Reflection Process
  • Way to facilitate metacognition while building interviewing skills for future job searches
  • Ask candidates to focus on specific “top accomplishment” during practice-oriented experience
  • Be ready to probe repeatedly to get vivid story
bbi tips
BBI Tips
  • Think STORY, not EXAMPLE… not STAR.
  • Whether in a movie or book, a good story usually begins with a CONFLICT, PROBLEM, or CHALLENGE.
  • A story starts at a specific moment in time.
  • Stories should include ABC details (affective, behavioral, and cognitive)
  • Story’s conflict needs to reach resolution.
  • Choice of story reveals as much as the story itself
a quote from jerome bruner
A quote from Jerome Bruner

“It has been the convention of most schools to treat the arts of narrative—song, drama, fiction, theater, whatever—as more ‘decoration’ than necessity, something with which to grace leisure… Despite that, we frame the accounts of our cultural origins and our most cherished beliefs in story form, and it is not just the ‘content’ of these stories that grip us, but their narrative artifice.

a quote from jerome bruner1
A Quote From Jerome Bruner

“Our immediate experience, what happened yesterday or the day before, is framed in the same storied way. Even more striking, we represent our lives (to ourselves as well as to others) in the form of narrative. It is not surprising that psychoanalysts now recognize that personhood implies narrative, “neurosis” being a reflection of either an insufficient, incomplete, or inappropriate story about oneself.

a quote from jerome bruner2
A Quote From Jerome Bruner

“Recall that when Peter Pan asks Wendy to return to Never Never Land with him, he gives as his reason that she could teach the Lost Boys there how to tell stories. If they knew how to tell them, the Lost Boys might be able to grow up.”

--Jerome Bruner, The Culture of Education (1996)

great reflection questions
Great Reflection Questions
  • Can be used in group discussions, one-on-one meetings and as paper topics:
    • How are you are a different person and professional because you engaged in experiential learning as opposed to if you hadn’t?
    • Did your experience change your notion of what your academic and/or career trajectory is? Why or why not?
    • What did you learn from your experience that has nothing to do with your major or concentration?
more reflection best practices
More Reflection Best Practices

Roundtable discussions with students, faculty, and employers

Surveys and 360-degree feedback

Reflection Fairs

Student Panels

building employer relationships best practices
Building employer relationships:Best practices

Manage a “mutual fund”

Be the “unpaid consultant”

Build rapport

Develop learning partnerships with employers’

Think long term

questioning everything again
Questioning everything… again
  • Now that we’ve covered some new ground, let’s look in the rearview mirror and consider:
    • What do we do? Why do we do it? Based on what you learned today, what might you attempt to do differently?