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Career workshop helps higher education professionals design career pathways

  • Designing Your Career:
    Designing Your Career:  Students, faculty and staff gathered for a higher education career workshop focused on design thinking.  
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A workshop entitled "Designing Your Career" was successfully held on November, 3, 2017 for professionals in higher education at the Jim and Bobbie Ukrop Innovation Design Studio located at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business.

The workshop attracted more than 20 W&M higher education professionals (faculty, administrators, and graduate students students) who have a variety of career aspirations and at different career stages. Three facilitators, Gene Roche, executive professor of educational technology; Dawn Edmiston, clinical associate professor of marketing; and Johann Ducharme, a first-year Ph.D. student in the Higher Education Program, presented ideas based on design thinking (empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test) and planned a series of activities for participants to self-reflect, think-pair-share, and commit to a deeper understanding of themselves and how they can think about their careers differently.

Roche has more than 30 years of experience working with students, faculty, and administrators at different higher education institutions. He shared his own beginnings in the field, including how he was first exposed to the idea of design thinking, and helped participants become more tuned to their own voices through interviewing and a relevant case study.

Ducharme shared his own career planning prior to starting his Ph.D. journey, then walked the participants through the steps of ideating possible career pathways to find one’s true passion.

Finally, Edmiston discussed her own story of finding her dream job at William & Mary through LinkedIn. She encouraged participants to rethink networking — including how to leverage social media to make connections and increase visibility. 

By the end of the workshop, each participant had spent 30 minutes on their own reflections and 60 minutes sharing. Beyond deep learning and creating a community of practice, each participant also laid out three alternative career plans for the next five years with new insights and practical tools that can readily apply to their professional life.

The ongoing meaningful conversations and invaluable feedback connected participants with each other on a much deeper level. Participants, regardless of career stage and campus affiliation, spent considerable time working together and learning about how to take control of their own careers.

At the end of the workshop, the facilitators invited participants to fill out an end-of-workshop survey and write down their goals for the next 30 days in an envelope. After 30 days, these envelopes will be sent to each participant to remind them what they'd learned and rekindle their commitment to utilizing design thinking. One question from the survey asked the participants to use one word to describe the workshop. Among the answers submitted by participants were "inspiring, mindset-changing, freeing, rejuvenating and transformative.”

Every attendee walked away from the workshop not only feeling more revitalized and empowered, but also with the book, Design Your Life, for them to further their understanding and knowledge on design thinking. The event was made possible thanks to the support of Pamela Eddy, professor and chair of the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership Department at the School of Education, as well as the Higher Education Student Association (HESA), who helped plan and promote the event.

Given the workshop’s success and participants’ positive feedback, the facilitators are planning a second session in the spring on Friday, February 23, 2018 (9 am to noon) at the Design Studio. Space is limited! If you are interested, please RSVP via email to Dawn Edmiston at [[m|Dawn.Edmiston]].