This is truly an exciting time to work in international education. The ever-expanding scope and impact of the work of international educators is vital in today’s globally interconnected world. But as the field grows, matures, and professionalizes, it also creates a more competitive work environment.
Whether you are searching for your first job or are a seasoned professional, it is important to reflect on a couple of key questions when looking for work in international education:
- How do you gain the necessary skills to get the position you desire?
- How will you set yourself apart from the crowd?
NAFSA's International Education Professional Competencies identify the necessary set of knowledge and skills to work successfully in this field. The competencies assist professionals in understanding the building blocks for success. They are organized into four main professional practice areas: comprehensive internationalization; education abroad; international enrollment management; and international student and scholar services, and cover the three main professional levels: direct service, management, and strategy/policy.
Our newest tool, NAFSA’s Career Print, brings the competencies into a new, interactive platform. It’s an online assessment that allows individuals and teams to calibrate their skills and knowledge using the competencies. By completing the online assessment at careerprint.nafsa.org, users can identify areas for individual growth and are provided a list of appropriate professional development opportunities and resources.
There are a variety of ways that professionals can use Career Print to further their career. It can identify areas specific to you that need further skill development in your current job, or you can use Career Print to see what type of professional development opportunities are available to assist you to move from direct service to management or management to the strategy level.
The Career Print also allows team managers to use the tool with their staff to augment their institution’s standard performance evaluations with the specific domain area content. This helps to situate the performance evaluation within the international education context. The information from the Career Print survey reports could also be used to frame a conversation with your upper administration to advocate for specific professional development resources. Or the team reports could be used as the foundation for your next team retreat. There are many more possibilities, and we would love your feedback and ideas!
I invite you to join the user’s group for Career Print. In exchange for free use of the tool until December 31, 2017, we will ask for your feedback in the user’s group so that we can improve the product in future iterations. We are also excited to hear how you use the tool to enhance your own professional development as well as your staff’s.
You can learn more about the user’s group and the NAFSA International Education Professional Competencies at www.nafsa.org/competencies.
Sheila Schulte is deputy executive director of leadership and professional development services at NAFSA.