Nov. 8 marks the Student Leadership and Professional Competency (SLPC) Conference where students can hear from staff and local professionals about how certain skills translate to life past college.

Registration is free and includes lunch and refreshments and takes place on the third floor of the University Center from 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Senior coordinator for Community Engagement and Campus Partnerships Brian Deal is one of the staff members involved in orchestrating the conference.

“Last year we had 293 students,” Deal said. “We hope to have similar results, but anything over 300 students may be pushing it.”

The conference is a collaborative effort between the Office of Student Leadership and Involvement and Career Services.

The two groups have identified six competencies for students to learn: Teamwork and Collaboration, Learning and Reason, Professional and Strategic Planning, Communication and Digital Technology, Self-Awareness and Personal Behavior, and Leadership and Civic Responsibility.

Attendees will be able to choose different sessions where each one of these competencies will be discussed. 

“Each session will be 50 minutes and there will be multiple session of each competency throughout the duration of the conference,” Deal said. “Students can pick and choose each hour which competencies they would like to hear about.”

Topics such as building relationships, working with people of different backgrounds or ideas, and resolving conflict will be discussed in the Teamwork and Collaboration session.

Learning and Reason will include discussions of research and analysis, identifying problems and proposing solutions. and coming up with new ideas.

The session on Professional and Strategic Planning will discuss planning ways to overcome a problem, organization of information and materials, and communicating skills and experiences.

Skills such as active listening, facilitation of discussion, and using technology to achieve goals will be discussed in the session on Communication and Digital Technology.

The Self-Awareness and Personal Behavior session will emphasize the importance of knowing one’s beliefs, making decisions in the face of ambiguity, and taking responsibility for actions and learning from failures.

Lastly, the Leadership and Civic Responsibility session will cover topics including guiding and motivating others, understanding distribution of social power, and believing that serving is essential for social change in communities.

The Office of Student Leadership and Involvement cites two studies on college graduate proficiency, one study on the employer’s thoughts and the other on students’ thoughts. 

Proficiency was evaluated for eight topics: professionalism/work ethic, oral/written communication, critical thinking, collaboration, leadership, digital technology, career management, and intercultural fluency.

In every category but Digital Technology, students overestimate their proficiency compared to employers’ evaluation of competency, with some categories being more than double.

“It sounds interesting,” said Josh Flynt, business management student. “I have not heard of this thing before. I’m not sure what it would take for me to go.”

Sophmore fashion design student Jada Miller also had not heard of the event. 

“I would attend. I want to learn more about the program, given that I’ve never heard about it,” Miller said.

“Every student would benefit from this conference, no matter what degree or year,” Deal said. “These are competencies every student needs to develop as they are the very skills employers are looking for. These competencies span across all majors and jobs; I wouls encourage all students to attend.”

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