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Re-Inventing Supervision: Bridging the Divide Between New Professionals and Supervisors Roger “Mitch” Nasser Jr. McKendree University Daniel W. Calhoun,

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Presentation on theme: "Re-Inventing Supervision: Bridging the Divide Between New Professionals and Supervisors Roger “Mitch” Nasser Jr. McKendree University Daniel W. Calhoun,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Re-Inventing Supervision: Bridging the Divide Between New Professionals and Supervisors Roger “Mitch” Nasser Jr. McKendree University Daniel W. Calhoun, Ph.D. Georgia Southern University Brandin Howard Penn State University ACPA National Convention 2014

2 Outline Why Should we Discuss Supervision? The Disconnect Between Supervision/New Professional The 2012 Project in Review Design of 2014 Project Comparison of 2012 and 2014 data Additional points from recent study Implications, Conclusions and Possible Next Steps Questions

3 Why Discuss Supervision? Reflecting on our own experiences Recruiting new professionals Have we lost our view of core responsibilities What we’ve seen/heard from colleagues in the profession Are we ready? Are you ready? Results of previous studies (2010; 2012)

4 The Disconnect The interview process What makes a good candidate? How prepared are entry-level staff for jobs? What is the value of Academics? Personal and professional life conflicts Differing expectations regarding professional development By new professionals By supervisors/seasoned professions

5 Developing Our Study (impact of 2012) What are new supervisees and supervisors of entry-level professionals thoughts and experiences regarding the topic of supervision? What causes shock for professionals in their first positions? How do they resolve it? What are the biggest supervisory challenges? How are supervisors being prepared? What is the impact of advanced degrees?

6 Research Process Developed a short survey via SurveyMonkey Utilized snowball sampling – sent out survey to list-servs and colleagues in hopes they would participate and pass along to others Allowed three-week turnaround (late February-early March) Each data set reviewed by multiple researchers

7 Snapshot of Demographics 365 Total Participants 60.1% Female 59.5% Public 4-year 29.9% 1-3 years post Master’s 39.6% ACPA only 33% Residence Life (largest functional area represented) 32.8% Supervise Student Staff Members

8 The Data - Initial Thoughts How we sorted and broke down experience and supervision 71.5% indicated training not supplied by the institution. A breakdown of other responses places this number slightly higher 41.6% felt shock in transitioning to their first position Is there a difference in what makes a good supervisor? How we prepare ourselves. Do we limit those we supervise by what we provide/don’t provide? How are professionals impacted by Graduate experiences?

9 Themes After our initial analysis, themes emerged in 6 major areas: Readiness for Supervisory Role (Repeated) Challenges related to Supervision (Repeated) What Makes a Good Supervisor (Repeated) Working Through Transitional Shock (Repeated) What Causes Shock Value of Graduate Education

10 How did you know you were ready to supervise new professionals? Self Aware: Prepared through reflection on experience, felt time had come, realized need for new challenge. External: Convinced by colleagues and other external forces Leap of Faith: Not sure if ready, but give it a go. Take the chance. Position Dictated: A component of current or new position. No choice but to be ready. Emerging Themes: Readiness for Supervisory Role

11 Self-Aware Quotes “I had been sought out by other colleagues for advice and mentoring for several years prior to officially taking on supervisory responsibility.” (2012) “I felt confident in my job and felt that I not only could learn from this experience, but that I could help continue to develop the graduates through their transition from student to staff” (2014) “I am a proven leader” (2014)

12 External Quotes “Having the support and encouragement from my supervisor to take on new professionals was how I knew I was ready.” (2012) “I no longer saw new professionals as personal peers, but as professional colleagues. My mentors and supervisors helped me understand I was prepared to supervise” (2014)

13 Leap of Faith Quotes “Also, I don’t know if you really know that you’re ready to supervise. I think it is something that you find out while doing it. Naturally we all have skills or strengths that might make us a better supervisor than one of our colleagues, but with time everyone fine tunes their tools.” (2012) “I didn't. I took the chance and help from a great supervisor, made the leap.” (2014)

14 Position Dictated Quotes “I didn’t necessarily [know I was ready]. It came with the job – as I was promoted I gained supervision duties. I didn’t necessary learn the theory and research until my Ph.D. training…” (2012) “Not sure I knew I was ready, but the responsibility was added to my position through a promotion” (2014)

15 2012 Readiness for Supervisory Role Breakdown

16 2014 Readiness for Supervisory Role Breakdown

17 What that means – confidence and preparation 58% felt they were ready for the next step and actively pursued it (felt confident and prepared) 7% only became supervisors because it was a function of their job –most indicated they were not ready (felt not confident and unprepared) 21% were not entirely sure they were ready, but felt it was worth the risk to do it (felt unprepared and confident) 14% did not feel ready but pursued a position on the advice of trusted colleagues and mentors (felt prepared and not confident) 79% internally ready/21% externally ready

18 Emerging Themes: Biggest Challenges in Supervision What is the biggest challenge in supervising new professionals? Politics and Ethics: Understanding the impact of decision making, realizing place in an organization, putting in “time”. Professional Development: Employees not ready or prepared for the next professional position. Skill Based: New professionals need specific training to build skill sets. Supervisor Development: I need to improve as a supervisor, provide more time, and learn about needs.

19 Politics and Ethics Quotes “I think that those I've supervised have started off with a very black/white mindset, and struggle to look at the different issues/factors at play. Relatedly, their sense of ownership and comfortableness with making decisions is challenging. For example, I've observed that it is easier for them to say "the department says this is the policy" rather than that as the supervisor, this is their decision” (2012) “Getting them to prioritize work plus helping them understand campus politics. Their biggest challenge is time management and taking direction” (2014)

20 Professional Development Quotes Helping new professionals to develop their professional identity as well as manage their expectations of self and others. New professionals often come into the position feeling that they have to prove themselves, which causes them to question their competence. Helping new professionals balance this with the work they do can be challenging. (2012) Adjusting to a mindset of being a worker rather than a student. I've found that those who struggle most have trouble shifting from being the helped to the helper. They sometimes advocate for student benefits for themselves, continue in the mindset of a student rather than a full-time employee, or are jealous of the attention and focus on students rather than on them. I think this is true of most new graduates, but is especially prevalent or likely with live-in professionals, who have all kinds of triggers around them that lead them to identifying more with students than with live-out colleagues. (2014)

21 Skill Based Quotes “It is hit or miss if they know how to take initiative” (2012) “Teaching them to prioritize projects.” (2012) “Their biggest challenge is learning how to appropriately respond to those rare, but highly critical cases.” (2014) “Their biggest challenge is performance related - being overwhelmed with a new job and/or knowing when to "fake" it or when to ask questions.” (2014)

22 Supervisor Development Quotes “Adjusting supervision styles to each person. Supervision is not taught, I had to get books on supervising new professionals to ensure I was educated for this role. This is something I think grad. programs need to educate on. “(2012) “My biggest challenge is that my professionals are new professionals - they are mostly recent college grads so this is their first job. I have to spend time teaching them to be professionals, and teach them how to do their jobs. I think they would say that I don't have enough time to develop them in the way that I want to.” (2014)

23 2012 Biggest Challenges Breakdown

24 2014 Biggest Challenges Breakdown

25 What does this mean? 35% viewed understanding and navigating politics and ethics as the biggest challenge for new professionals 35% believed Professional Development was the biggest issue 13% felt skill based issues were most challenging 17% stated that supervisor development was the biggest issue Why the increase in supervisor responsibility? Professional Development & Ethics/Politics combined? Connection to preparation programs/”sheltering”?

26 Emerging Theme: Supervision Skills What Makes A Good Supervisor? Relational: Connection to supervisee, dedication to employees, concern for the individual Skill Based: Learned or natural abilities, not specific to individual; hard skills (nuts and bolts of position). Theoretical: Centralized in a belief system, may be loosely connected to previous subsets.

27 Relational Skills Quotes Defines expectations that are attainable by the staff, set in conjunction with the staff to allow ownership of the collective staff. Flexibility and the understanding that accommodations must be made at times and are acceptable within reason. A personal relationship (not romantic) that allows the staff to understand each other, their experiences, and develop an understanding and appreciation for the holistic person. Impeccable organization and communication skills. An ownership of the staff and community that communicates that the supervisor is part of the staff and invested in the success of the community. Supervisors should help the staff complete the stated goals with the staff rather than dictating the goals to the staff to complete independently. (2012) "Supervisors need to understand the goals of the area they manage. They need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their staff members. They also need to allow staff members the opportunity to grow in ways they desire. It doesn't always have to be for the organization itself. A good supervisor is able to give feedback to employees and discuss behaviors when giving constructive feedback, not attack someone personally. A good supervisor listens and works with staff as a team, not as a "director". The supervisor also provides training, either him or herself or through appropriate vehicles.“ (2014)

28 Skill Based Quotes “Emotional stability, work/life balance, technical expertise and general competence” (2012) “Organization, good communication skills, humor, concise in giving out information, detail oriented, good writing skills, someone who self-reflect, someone who sets deadlines” (2012) “Effective time management, organization, communication (verbal and non-verbal), authenticity, proper human resource management” (2014)

29 Theoretical Quotes “The primary ones to me are: balance of challenge and support, critical thinking, authentic leadership, ability to embrace change, and effective understanding of how to translate developmental theory to practice.” (2012) “Flexibility, engaged in learning themselves, balance challenge & support, understands complexity in issues, works to learn about my role” (2014)

30 2012 Supervision Skills Breakdown

31 2014 Supervision Skills Breakdown

32 What it Means 79% felt that relationships were key to good supervision 14% stated hard skills and detailed knowledge were the most important supervisory skill 7% stated that a broader theoretical approach was the best way to supervise What is the impact of relational supervision? Do supervisors have the time?

33 What Makes a Good Supervisor? To do it [supervision] properly and adequately requires broad knowledge of the activities that are part of the functional area or areas for which one has responsibility, a detailed knowledge of the institution and both its formal and informal operational processes, a caring attitude, and well developed interpersonal relationship skills. (Winston & Creamer, 1997, p. 186)

34 Emerging Theme: Working Through Transitional Shock If you experienced shock, how did you work through the shock? Friends/Colleagues: main support from external sources not including supervisor. The support structure may be at current institution or outside. Self: trusted own abilities to stay the course, switched positions, or used spirituality and reasoning. Supervisor: Utilized supervisor in any way through difficult times Other (2014): Used other method-often therapy or resignation Did Not (2014): Has not attempted or worked through shock

35 Utilizing Friends/Colleagues Quotes I had this feeling like I was way in over my head because I entered a role that was not very clearly defined, with a supervisor that was not around often. I was running this scholarship/retention program all by myself. I dealt with it by calling up my friends/colleagues from graduate school and working through tough situations with them. I just had to remain confident that I knew what I was doing, and when I didn't know what I was doing, I had to remind myself that I was just going off of all the information/experience I had at that point, and things can be done differently next time if need-be. It was a really stressful time. Then, about 8 months after I began in this position, I met someone with 20 years of Student Affairs experience who turned out to be a great mentor for me. Now, I am able to bounce ideas off of her, ask for her advice, and learn from her experience. (2012) “Talked about it with colleagues/friends from my graduate program. I made some great connections there, and I often bounce things off my circle of friends in the field. It's invaluable to have this support network - and my graduate program worked really hard to cultivate a culture so that these systems would thrive.” (2014)

36 Reliance on Self Quotes “I knew the office I was entering was managed in a very hierarchical manner, but it wasn't until I was in the office full-time that I knew just how much so. I've never been in a Student Affairs office that conducted in such a top-down approach. It can be disappointing at times, but I'm learning to work through it. I never thought my first job would be my dream job, and I'm ok with that.” (2012) “Adjusted to the lower expectations of the full time position; I felt shock because I was given more support and people provided more experiences for me as a grad than as a full time professional” (2012) “Yes. Really I've just gotten to understand my role better and that is really the only way to get through it. There are a lot of opportunities to mess up and understanding that as long as the job gets done without major issues, I can overcome the little things.” (2014) “I took deep breaths, I asked lots of questions, and I kept reminding myself that this is what I worked so hard over the last two years for; "I can do this".” (2014)

37 Supervisor Support Quotes “I talked a lot of my feelings, processes, and ideas out with my supervisor, who was a great reflective listener. The listening really helped me to process my own thoughts and come up with my own solutions probably eight or nine times out of every ten issues I had.” (2012) ““I fortunately had a supervisor at the time who understood me and gave me room for error. She definitely held me accountable as needed (thus the shock at times), but she gave me the opportunity to learn from my mistakes.” (2014)

38 Other Support Quotes “Intense training on research skills. It was exhausting and very difficult emotionally to have such a steep learning curve.” (2014) “With a lot of difficulty and therapy, and very little support from my supervisor” (2014)

39 Did Not Work Through Quotes “I guess I didn't - in the end I washed out of that profession…” (2014) “Left the job after one year” (2014) “I internalized a lot. However, I talked with many of my colleagues, friends and family to work through the discomfort. Although, that didn't really help. I eventually quit that position.” (2014)

40 2012 Working Through Transitional Shock Breakdown

41 2014 Working Through Transitional Shock Breakdown

42 What it Means 34% involved friends or colleagues 28% relied on self 14% utilized supervisor 8% still in shock 7% other means More reliance on others than self Still little use of supervisor

43 Emerging Theme: What Caused Shock If you experienced shock, what do you feel caused the shock? Environment/Expectations: Campus culture, politics, expectations of others. Not Prepared: Psychologically or specific skills. Leadership Void: Lack of vision, structure, organization Nature of Position: Student affairs positions can be unpredictable and difficult to process.

44 Environment/Expectations Quotes “Being in a much larger professional office that doesn't explicitly use student success or development theories as guiding principals” (2014) “…I felt isolated from others in the field. I came to a smaller town with a small staff (our office having 6 people in it and being the entirety of Student Life) and it was hard to make friends or to find a life outside of work.” (2014)

45 Not Prepared Quotes “Everything I learned in my MA program didn't help me in everyday professional life” (2014) “Lack of understanding about the field. Yes, I had experience as a graduate student. Yes, I had taken coursework to prepare me. But, I still hadn’t lived in as a full-time professional. I probably had unrealistic expectations about what to expect.” (2014) “I was very unsure of myself and my capabilities and whether I really belonged in the job that I had.” (2014)

46 Leadership Void Quotes “Poor organizational culture at my former employer, poor training program, unclear expectations, but above all a major difference in an unstructured GA position and a highly structured professional position.” (2014) “There were several factors that caused that shock. First, poor training and support. Second, improper hiring practices. And last, a lack of clear vision, purpose and a plan for the department. If the department had these written out and understood then they would be able to hire people who are a true fit for the institution. I was not the right fit for that school and vice versa.” (2014)

47 Nature of Position Quotes “We can't always know what is going to happen. We can only purposefully prepare ourselves and hope we thought of most everything.” (2014) “Everything was new and there was MUCH to learn with a need to learn it quickly...I had 250 residents about to arrive 2 weeks after I began the job.” (2014)

48 2014 What Caused Shock

49 What it Means 36% shocked by environment/expectations 27% felt unprepared for position 15% suggested leadership contributed to shock 11% shocked by the nature of position How is this connected to supervisor challenges? Can a new professional truly be prepared?

50 Emerging Theme: Value of Graduate Education Do you have a graduate degree? Did it prepare you? Helpful: Overall comments suggested entirety of degree benefited participant in first position. Unhelpful: Comments suggested the degree was not helpful or only partially helpful. Assistantship: Comments suggested academic content was unhelpful but assistantship/practicum/internship experience was helpful No Degree: Participant either did not have an advanced degree, was in process, or began first position prior to attaining degree.

51 Helpful Quotes “Yes, I do. I think the degree helped prepare me. I approached the job differently than my colleague who didn't have it. I think it helped me” (2014) “Yes and YES. The Student Development in Higher Education Counseling degree from X University is comprehensive--preparing professionals for EVERY aspect of being a new student affairs professional. I am proud to come from such a reputable, strong, and connected program as X University.” (2014) “Yes, extremely! My masters degree taught me why. I already knew the how, I just didn't understand the why. It also gave me a new lens to view things with.” (2014)

52 Unhelpful Quotes “Yes. No, my program was taught by faculty who were never Student Affairs practitioners so they did little in the way of professional development. My internship and assistantship supervisors were hit or miss. I did have one great supervisor who is still a mentor and now that I think about it, has gotten me through not only that first position (at an institution on a different coast) but has been a sounding board all along” (2014) “Yes I have a graduate degree. I thought I was prepared for the job. My supervisor thought I was prepared for the job. Turns out we were both wrong. I managed to get the training I needed and keep my job, although it was touch and go for awhile.” (2014)

53 Assistantship Quotes “I believe my degree did prepare me for my job but my assistantships and internships were my best tools for success. I am rarely asked to use theory, do research for papers, or do group presentations. Everyday I am using my precious hands-on experience from my assistantships and internships to improve the programs we have here.” (2014) “Yes - I think my GA helped prepare me but the grad program did not help.” (2014) “However, I was less prepared by the academic work I completed for my degree and more prepared by the graduate assistantship where I worked 20 hours per week.” (2014)

54 No Degree Quotes “No graduate degree yet. However, what I have completed (1yr) has already started to assist me in many ways especially in confidence that what and how I operate is based on theories I never knew existed!” (2014) “I worked my first professional position in student affairs previous to receiving my graduate degree. I would say my three years of work experience (as an RD) prepared me for grad school.” (2014)

55 2014 Value of Graduate Education

56 What it Means 55% degree is helpful 19% degree unhelpful 11% Assistantship/Internship more helpful 15% no degree at start of career Is the percentage of helpful acceptable? The impact of those without advanced degrees? Unhelpful? What is the role of academics?

57 Summary of Major Findings Roughly 79% of supervisors felt they were prepared for and had the confidence to actively pursue a supervisory without evidence to support the decision! Navigating political/ethical and professional development issues remain the biggest challenges for supervisors/supervisees. Additional review suggests new professionals and supervisors are in agreement based on causes of shock. Relational, administrative, and theoretical skills remain the most important attributes for strong supervision (same as described by Calhoun & Nasser 2013, Winston & Creamer 1997). 79% feel like relationships are most important aspect of supervision, yet only 14% use their supervisors to work through transitions!

58 Thoughts for You… Who do you think should be responsible for assisting with the development and preparation of future supervisors of entry-level professionals? How do we overcome the disconnect between supervisee and supervisor in expectations, communication, etc.? What processes have you seen or do you suggest?

59 Implications For graduate preparation programs For supervisees (new professionals) For supervisors (seasoned professionals) For employers (institutions who hire new professionals)

60 Questions/Recommendations/Next Steps Additional data breakdown and review Secondary survey methods Future discussions and review

61 Selected References Amey, M. J., & Reesor, L. M. (2002). Beginning your journey: A guide for new professionals in student affairs. Washington, DC: National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. Herdlein, R. J. (2004). Survey of chief student affairs officers regarding relevance of graduate preparation of new professionals. NASPA Journal, 42(1), 51–71. Janosik, S. M., Creamer, D. G., Hirt, J. B., Winston, R. B., Jr., Saunders, S. A., & Cooper, D. L. (2003). Supervising new professionals in student affairs: A guide for practitioners. New York: Brunner Routledge. Kretovics, M. (2002). Entry level competencies: What student affairs administrators consider when screening candidates. Journal of College Student Development, 43, 912– 920. Kretovics, M. (2011). Business practices in higher education: A guide for today’s administrators. New York: Routledge. Magolda, P. M., & Carnaghi, J. E. (Eds.). (2004). Job one: Experiences of new professionals in student affairs. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

62 Selected References Renn, K. A., & Jessup-Anger, E. R. (2008). Preparing new professionals: Lessons for graduate preparation programs from the National Study of New Professionals in Student Affairs. Journal of College Student Development, 49 (4), Renn, K. A., Jessup-Anger, E. R., & Doyle, S. J. (2008, Fall). Top ten tips for new professionals from the National Study of New Professionals in Student Affairs. The Eighth Vector, newsletter of the ACPA Standing Committee for Graduate Students and New Professionals. Renn, K. A., & Hodges, J. P. (2007). The first year on the job: Experiences of new professionals in student affairs. NASPA Journal, 42 (2), Reybold, L.E., Halx, M.D., & Jimenez, A.L. (2008). Professional integrity in higher education: A study of administrative staff ethics in student affairs. Journal of College Student Development, 49, Winston, R. B., Jr., & Creamer, D. G. (1997). Improving staffing practices in student affairs. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Tull, A. (2006). Synergistic supervision, job satisfaction, and intention to turnover of new professionals in student affairs. Journal of College Student Development, 47, 465–477.


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