I’m Done!

So, I submitted my final two assignments for the Capstone course this afternoon. That’s all folks! I’m done!

Of course, I have to wait until all of my assignments are graded, but suffice it to say that I’m excited to be completing my degree.

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Elevator Pitch Presentation

One of the final projects for our Capstone course (HI ED 596) is an “elevator pitch” presentation. I am modeling “the Impresser” (the “run-in with the boss”) from chapter 10 of Great On The Job by Jodi Glickman. Here is my mock conversation with a high-level Penn State administrator about my current (and future!) position in the Undergraduate Admissions Office.

[apologies for the quality of my voice and personality – I’ve been hit with a cold!]

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Reflection: Peer Review Round #2

Now that we have completed the second round of peer review of our classmates’ papers, I am feeling much more confident in the process than I did at the outset of the class. As mentioned in my first reflection at the completion of the initial peer review, I was unsure of what I should expect from both giving and receiving peer feedback. Having now gone through the process twice, I definitely have a stronger sense of self-assurance about the constructive criticism that I have provided, and continue to value the feedback that I have received from my group-mates.

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Reflection: Program Learning Outcomes

Prompt: Now that you are completing the M.Ed. in Higher Education, please rate your level of competency with the ten program-level learning outcomes (See self-assessment sheet link below). You first completed this self-assessment in HI ED 490. While you may not have kept that version, we’d like you to think back when you first started the program and give yourself an honest appraisal of where you were with regard to the program learning outcomes when you began. Then give yourself a score for now in the “Nearing Completion” column, and finally what you would like to achieve in the future in the final column.

It is very interesting to look back through at my work in the M.Ed. in Higher Education, especially now that I am so close to the end of the program. I feel that I have made significant progress throughout the program in every area of the learning outcomes assessment. Deciding which artifacts to include in my portfolio has been a somewhat difficult task, as there are so many from which to choose. However, when considering each of the learning outcomes for the M.Ed. in Higher Education at Penn State individually, the task of choosing artifacts from my portfolio that show progress toward those outcomes gets a little easier.

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Reflection: Peer Review Round #1

Going into the peer review process, I was not sure what to expect. In my professional life I often utilize my colleagues to help me draft memos and communications, particularly if it is something that is being sent out to a large population of staff or students. I utilize the “group think” mentality: I like to have another set of eyes look at something that I write. But rarely, if ever, have I sought out feedback for a project as large as our final paper assignment. After completing the first round of peer review work for our course, I have very mixed feelings about the process.

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Reflection: Refining Moment

Prompt: Previously, in HI ED 490: Professional Seminar and Exploration of Careers in Higher Education, you wrote and reflected on a “defining moment” that led you to pursue the M.Ed. in Higher Education. Now think about all that you’ve done in classes as part of the M.Ed. as well as in your professional life during these past months and years, is there a new “defining moment”? Is there, perhaps, a “refining moment” that helped you to understand what you want to do with your M.Ed. in Higher Education? What made you stop and think?  How did you change or amend your position about a topic?

In the three years since I started taking classes in the M.Ed. program in higher education at Penn State, much has changed in my academic and professional life. I have had both a defining moment in my academic career, and a refining moment in my professional career.

Defining Moment

In the academic arena, my defining moment came after the completion of HI ED 545, “Foundations in Higher Education and Student Affairs”. When I entered the MHE program, it had been more than ten years since I had completed my baccalaureate degree – and I just barely graduated. I was not a strong undergraduate, and I am not proud of the student that I was at that time. Because of that college experience, and the mediocre performance that I displayed, I developed a weak self-confidence as far as academics were concerned. When I enrolled in the M.Ed. in Higher Education, I was unsure how I would perform as a graduate student.

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Final Paper Selection Rationale

I am choosing to re-visit a paper that I wrote in spring 2017 for HI ED 860: Conducting Enrollment Management Studies. The original work, “Considering Test-Optional Admissions Policies” is a 10-page paper that examines the history and present use of standardized tests – such as the SAT and ACT exams – in the evaluation of applications for admission to colleges and universities in the United States.

From a personal perspective, I have always been suspect of the use of standardized tests in the admissions process. Ever since my days as a high school student, I have felt that the test was skewed to benefit students who had the means and access to test preparation courses and resources. That said, when I first set out to research this subject I didn’t want my biases to be projected in my writing. My intent was to research the viability of using standardized test scores in the evaluation of a wide range of applicants.

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Previous Papers in the M.Ed. Program

In my time as a graduate student in the M.Ed. program in Higher Education at Penn State, I have completed nine courses and am currently enrolled in my final class. During my tenure at Penn State, I have written 70 papers, totaling 239 pages. This comes out to an average of 7.78 papers per class, though in one class I wrote 16 papers (HI ED 801) and in another I wrote only three (PSY 539). There is a tie for most-pages-written between HI ED 545 and HI ED 860 at 43 apiece. The average pages per paper comes to 26.56.

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And here we go again…

 

It won’t be long now…

 

I can’t believe that we’re at the start of another semester… and that I haven’t posted anything here since April. Yikes.

Speaking of yikes, this semester I am starting the program’s Capstone course (HI ED 596): the last class that I will take in the M.Ed. program. I am not sure exactly what the class will be, but if it is anything like the rest of the courses that I have completed in the last few years, I’m sure it will turn out fantastic.

I think that it will certainly be a great honor to receive my master’s degree in December – I know that I’m very much looking forward to walking across the stage in my cap and gown. However, I think that the bigger honor for me is not the culmination of hard work (lots of reading, research, and writing), but rather the sacrifices that both my family and I made to complete the degree. My wife and teenage kids have been immensely supportive, especially when I was stressing about submitting a final project or paper.

Above all else, time has really been the biggest sacrifice for me. For example, I think that I can probably count on two hands the number of times that I have been to church in the past three years (because I use the opportunity of a quiet Sunday morning to do classwork). It will certainly be nice to get some time back in my week that I can devote to other things.

Onward to the fall term!

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