A New Tool for Stakeholder Engagement

presenters at the Graduate Career Consortium

CA Stayart, A Bolgioni, D Ramadoss, J Alder, RL Layton and S Varvayanis (not pictured, J Yellin)

At the recent Graduate Career Consortium annual conference held online and hosted by the University of Toronto, practitioners within higher education gathered to share the research, practice, and theory that shape our work, with a special emphasis on innovation.

A seven institution partnership shared their preliminary findings in an interactive breakout session on “Engaging Stakeholders to Advance Career and Professional Development”. Presenters included Janet Alder, Rutgers University, Amanda Bolgioni-Smith, Boston University; Rebekah L. Layton, UNC Chapel Hill; Deepti Ramadoss, University of Pittsburgh; Abby Stayart, University of Chicago; Susi Varvayanis, Cornell University; and Jodi B. Yellin, American Association of Medical Colleges.

The audience actively participated in the pilot release of a new tool to quickly assess stakeholder engagement. This ten-minute tool can help university graduate school administrators self-assess and visualize strengths/opportunities with stakeholders for the purposes of career and professional development programming at your institution. The session received vigorous interest, as the tool is currently free to download for anyone to use as a quick assessment and visualization. Please send an email to gradcareers@cornell.edu to receive a copy of the tool, a template, and the interpretation key. Many of the participants left with plans to implement the tool at their home institutions as a quick team exercise to assess their level of stakeholder engagement and create plans with their partners to advance career and professional programming for their graduate students and postdocs.

In addition to the tool, the presenters shared with participants written templates for reaching out to potential partners.  The team also shared early ‘wins’ that unexpectedly demonstrated the value of interacting with nay-sayers that informed future tailored professional development programming, and the inadvertent program advertising that resulted from broadening our networks within our home institutions.

institutions of graduate career consortium conference session attendees

The audience at this Graduate Career Consortium conference breakout session emanated from a multitude of U.S. and Canadian institutions, and included professors, deans, university administrators as well as career coaches and instructors from a broad variety of functions as visualized in the word clouds.