Spotlight for Career Services ProfessionalsJanuary 8, 2014
Given the growing institutional and
governmental demands for greater accountability and more effective
outcomes assessments, NACE members have been asking the association
to provide greater leadership and guidance establishing and
promulgating standards and guidelines to assist career services
organizations in undertaking and advancing their work in this
"A key concern was to provide
greater consistency in data collection and analysis and to provide
some nationwide data that NACE could use to surface broad trends
and issues, and help influence the public policy discussions around
this topic," says Manny Contomanolis, chair of NACE's First
Destination Surveys Team and associate vice president and director
of the office of co-op and career services at Rochester Institute
"Through the auspices of the NACE
Advocacy Committee and under the leadership of NACE Past President
Andy Ceperly and current President Dan Black, the First Destination
Surveys Team was charged with developing these standards."
Contomanolis says the initial
standards-which will be introduced during NACE's Advocacy Mashup
for Career Services on January 31 in Washington, D.C.-are intended
to focus on minimal levels of performance with the goal of
continuing to expand and advance those standards as the higher
education community implements and becomes more familiar with them.
"The standards propose a common set
of definitions and descriptions of the information that should be
collected, and how to organize and analyze the data for any basic
effort," he explains. "The standards do not prescribe a specific
survey instrument or survey response rate."
Instead, he says, the First
Destination Surveys Team is introducing the concept of a "knowledge
"Put simply, this is the percentage
of graduates for whom you have information concerning their
post-graduation activities," Contomanolis notes. "Another concept
we are introducing is that of an 'outcomes rate.' This is the
percentage of graduates who are actually engaged in the career
activities identified in the standards."
He adds that the document also
identifies areas of supplemental analysis that are not specifically
included in this first phase of the standards, but are likely to be
included in the future as the initial standards become more broadly
At introduction, Contomanolis says
the standards first and foremost establish a common baseline
assessment effort with consistent definitions and protocols.
"While the standards and protocols will continue to develop over
time, this initial effort was essential in taking that first step
toward a national position regarding the critical question of
first-destination career outcomes," he points out. "Clearly, as the
standards become more uniformly adopted, the opportunity for best
practice sharing and national trend analysis will become
Contomanolis says NACE's Advocacy Mashup for Career Services
provides an excellent opportunity to formally introduce the
guidelines and create a dialogue about them and the
first-destination survey initiative.
"[This event] will give another opportunity for members to
discuss in more detail various aspects of the standards," he says.
"While the First Destination Surveys Team comprised a diverse and
highly talented group of members, the process benefited greatly
from the contributions of more than 100 members through the formal
public comment process, as well as the many additional members who
shared their insights and suggestions more informally with the task
force members over the past 18 months."
He points out that not only will the Mashup offer a fantastic
opportunity to learn more about the work of the advocacy committee,
and the variety of important developments and trends in the areas
of the first-destination career outcome assessments, but also the
state of internships and the implications of immigration
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