Friday, May 30, 2014

InsideHigherEd: Finding a Job in Student Affairs

Sonja Ardoin wrote an excellent article about how recent graduates and career changers can find a job in higher education and student affairs. Since student affairs does not follow a standard procedure such as law or teaching, the job searching process can be ambiguous and frustrating. She also wrote an article about the interview process in student affairs. Follow these tips, and your chances of landing that dream job will increase!

Although the process of lifelong learning is vital, if you are anything like me, you know there is also practical value in being able to put that learning into practice to assist others in their growth and development (and pay back your student loans and afford to support yourself). The job search process in student affairs can be a time-consuming endeavor full of self-assessment, anxiety, excitement, and a host of other emotional and logistical complexities. It is also a numbers game. For example, in my last job search after my Ph.D. program, I applied for 46 jobs, participated in 12 phone interviews, visited 5 campuses for in-person interviews, and received 3 job offers. I like to think I am a solid candidate; the numbers also show you that I did not receive interviews with half of the places to which I applied. In fact, if you do the math, I was asked to interview with only 23 percent of the institutions to which I applied.
Here are two related articles about finding a job in admissions: Hiring in Admissions (August 7, 2009) - InsideHigherEd AND Getting Into the Admission Office (April 8, 2013) -InsideHigherEd.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

More Career Advice for New Graduates by Alison Green

Congratulations on earning your degree! I know you worked hard for this milestone. Now you need a job! Don't have one yet? One of my favorite authors for career advice is Alison Green, founder of the popular Ask a Manager blog. She contributed two articles on U.S. News and World Report that I highly recommend every new graduate should read to prepare for the current job market. Also check out her AOL Jobs article on resume writing tips for new graduates.

10 Key Job Search Tips for New Graduates

  1. Don't wait to start job searching.
  2. Include ll of your work experience on your resume.
  3. Don't listen to every piece of job-search advice you hear.
  4. Don't apply for everything you see.
  5. Broaden your horizons.
  6. Don't think you can't intern just because you're no longer a student.
  7. Use your network.
  8. Practice interviewing.
  9. Make sure that your email address, outgoing voice mail message and online presence all portray you as a professional, mature adult, not a partying college student.
  10. Don't panic.

How To Get a Job When You Don't Have Much Experience

  1. Figure out why you'd be great at the job.
  2. Don't worry about being a perfect match.
  3. Write an outstanding cover letter.
  4. Pay a ton of attention to soft skills.
  5. Think about what non-obvious experience you can highlight.
  6. In your interview, strike the right balance between confidence and humility.
  7. Look for ways to get the experience you lack.
  8. Be realistic.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

NYTimes: "Class, Cost, and College" and "Who Gets to College?"

Columnists at The New York Times published two well-regarded articles on social class and postsecondary transitions. Both articles examine the barriers to degree completion for low-income students and students of color. Here is the trailer for the documentary, Ivory Tower.

From "Class, Cost, and College" (May 17, 2014):
THE word “crisis” pops up frequently in “Ivory Tower,” a compelling new documentary about the state of higher education in America.

It pops up in regard to the mountains of student debt. It pops up in regard to the steep drop in government funding for public universities, which have been forced to charge higher and higher tuition in response. That price increase is also a “crisis” in the estimation of one of many alarmed educators and experts on camera.

And “crisis” isn’t even their direst appellation. Andrew Delbanco, a Columbia University professor of American studies who functions as the movie’s conscience, notes an “apocalyptic dimension” to today’s discussion of college’s failings. The movie is set on verdant campuses. It’s rife with lecterns, books and graduation gowns. And yet it’s a kind of horror story.

Scheduled for theatrical release next month, “Ivory Tower” does an astonishingly thorough tour of the university landscape in a brisk 90 minutes, touching on the major changes and challenges, each of which could sustain its own documentary.

From "Who Gets to College?" (May 15, 2014):
There are thousands of students like Vanessa at the University of Texas, and millions like her throughout the country — high-achieving students from low-income families who want desperately to earn a four-year degree but who run into trouble along the way. Many are derailed before they ever set foot on a campus, tripped up by complicated financial-aid forms or held back by the powerful tug of family obligations. Some don’t know how to choose the right college, so they drift into a mediocre school that produces more dropouts than graduates. Many are overwhelmed by expenses or take on too many loans. And some do what Vanessa was on the verge of doing: They get to a good college and encounter what should be a minor obstacle, and they freak out. They don’t want to ask for help, or they don’t know how. Things spiral, and before they know it, they’re back at home, resentful, demoralized and in debt.

When you look at the national statistics on college graduation rates, there are two big trends that stand out right away. The first is that there are a whole lot of students who make it to college — who show up on campus and enroll in classes — but never get their degrees. More than 40 percent of American students who start at four-year colleges haven’t earned a degree after six years. If you include community-college students in the tabulation, the dropout rate is more than half, worse than any other country except Hungary.

Monday, May 19, 2014

USA Today: Segregation still widespread in U.S. schools, report says

According to USA Today, American public schools are re-segregating. Furthermore, it is no longer only a black-and-white issue.

Black and Latino students are more likely to attend schools with mostly poor students, while white and Asian students are more likely to attend middle-class schools, according to a report released Thursday by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA.

In New York, California and Texas, more than half of Latino students are enrolled in schools that are 90% minority or more. In New York, Illinois, Maryland and Michigan, more than half of black students attend schools where 90% or more are minority, the report shows. Latinos are now the largest minority in public schools.

Black student attendance at majority-white schools steadily increased since the civil rights era but has been on the decline since the early 1990s. In 2011, only 23% of black students attended a majority white school -- the same percentage as in 1968, according to the report.

For more information, check out these articles:

Friday, May 16, 2014

PiktoChart: A Spotlight on the MSW Leader

Jessenia Reyes and other graduate students at the University of Southern California created a wonderful infographic on the flexibility of the MSW degree in macro practice. It focuses on transferable skills, common job positions, leadership roles, and general takeaways. Macro social workers can be found in education, nonprofit, and government sectors. Check it out here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

SJS: The Next Step to Reinvest in Social Work

This is a very well-written piece from Social Justice Solutions. I agree that the social work profession needs a serious reinvestment (and revamping) to better serve the needs of graduates who endure low pay and high student loan debt. Furthermore, the profession needs to better serve the needs of the disadvantaged both at the local and policy level.

The trouble is that it’s difficult to be a social worker. On the job we face high volume case loads, long hours, and crisis after crisis that leaves providers emotionally and physically exhausted. Unfortunately, these aren’t the only obstacles we face. Social workers are mental health practioners who are required to have a Masters level education and usually obtain licensure in their respective states. They work towards continuing education hours and often attend conferences and trainings for specializations. Despite this specialized skillset, social workers continue to make the list of the lowest paid professionals whether it is on Forbes, career-advice, or the Bureau of labor statistics. In addition, social workers graduate with an average of over $35,000 in student loan debt. The combination of low pay and high loan amount means that social workers are having trouble keeping their heads above water. While a few loan forgiveness programs exist, few offer real availability for jobs without relocating, or have starting salaries well below the average. Some areas are also excluded from any forgiveness or reimbursement programs that are available, despite high needs, or at risk populations.
Support the Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act by contacting your legislators today!

Friday, May 2, 2014

CRISP: Getting Social Workers Out of the Closet (Highly Recommended for Macro Folks!)

Charles E. Lewis, Jr. released an editorial on why social workers need to look beyond licensure and title issues and embrace all aspects (micro, mezzo, and macro) of social work in the public domain. We need to reach out to professionals with social work degrees but never refer to themselves as social workers because their positions/fields are not clinical. A person with an accredited social work degree (B.S.W., M.S.W., or Ph.D. in Social Work) should be able to call themselves a social worker.

There has been much talk recently about who can legitimately call themselves social workers. What training is required? Which licenses are needed? And, there have been many discussions about the variations of social work licenses that exist in different states. License or no license, we know that many social workers are “hiding” in non-clinical environments and in places where it doesn’t seem much social work is happening. Places like Congress, the World Bank and federal agencies such as the departments of Labor, Housing, Education and Health and Human Services (HHS). In many of these settings, social workers operate under cover. They often do not identify themselves as social workers and they have little or no connection to professional social work organizations. Yet they are trained social workers with a B.S.W, a M.S.W., or a Ph.D. from an accredited social work school, but you would never know.