EDGE program prepares for second year

[Image retrieved from sbu.edu]

By Kelly Haberstroh

As the EDGE prepares to start up for its second year, the Career and Professional Readiness Center (CPRC) decided to make some changes to the program. In comparison to last year, they plan to have more interactive and hands-on seminars with more opportunities to practice the skills they’re learning how to improve.

The EDGE is an opportunity for sophomores, juniors and seniors to have an advantage when applying to internships, graduate school and the workplace. The CPRC started the program last year after students who went into internships and jobs found that, while they had a great foundation, they were lacking some professional skills.

Continue reading “EDGE program prepares for second year”

Professor presents talk on effective communication

By Jason Klaiber

[Image retrieved from sbu.edu]

In coordination with The Competitive Edge Certificate (The EDGE), management professor John B. Stevens presented a talk titled “Understanding and Being Understood: Communicating in the 21st Century” at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Walsh Auditorium.

The EDGE, a program offered by the Career and Professional Readiness Center, instructs participating sophomores, juniors and seniors about the professional skills most desired by employers and graduate schools.

Stevens, the owner and operator of JB Stevens Organizational Solutions, outlined the presentation with a series of principles, starting off with the idea that words alone don’t convey the entirety of a person’s message. He revealed that 7 percent of what we interpret in a message relies on words, while tone of voice makes up 38 percent and non-verbal action accounts for the remainder.

“You can only really tell tone of voice and non-verbal in person,” said Stevens. “[That’s why] text messaging and emails are such delicate and difficult ways to communicate—because we can’t see a big part of talking and communicating.”

Stevens instructed the audience to split up in groups of two and three to discuss when it’s necessary to listen and what makes listening difficult. After reclaiming the room, Stevens asked everyone to recall in thought what the person to their right said during the short discussion, which he said wouldn’t be an easy task for everyone.

Stevens said that getting distracted by one’s surroundings and especially thinking about one’s own end of the conversation can disrupt listening.

“When you’re thinking about what you’re going to say next, you can’t be concentrating on what someone else is saying to you at the same time,” said Stevens. “It’s difficult for the brain to do two things at the same time. You have to make a conscious decision to decide to listen to someone else.”

Stevens added that there’s a distinct contrast between listening and hearing.

“As I’m talking, my vocal cords are creating sound waves that are being emitted,” said Stevens. “Your eardrums are hearing those sound waves. The brain says, ‘There’s a sound out there, and it sounds like words.’ That’s called hearing. Listening is taking the words when they come into the brain and saying, ‘I’m going to do something with that—I’m going to try to interpret it, I’m going to try to understand it, and I’m going to try to do something with it.’”

Stevens’ second principle details that effective listening can provide one with valuable information and a level of involvement with others.

“If you listen to somebody, and you really pay attention to them, it can provide a level of involvement that can help you with your relationships at work or at home or with friends or with anyone,” said Stevens.

Stevens acknowledged the usefulness of listening in the business world, such as in negotiations with customers about products they order.

Stevens said that demonstrating interest with eye contact and a nod, asking questions and repeating back what you heard are ways to improve listening skills.

“You need to engage other people and really pay attention to what it is they’re saying,” said Stevens. “This will help you to reduce ineffectiveness in listening.”

Stevens ended his talk by zeroing in on email etiquette and showing examples of poorly written emails.

“In the working world, you have to think about how you’re addressing people,” said Stevens.

Stevens said that proofreading for spelling and grammar, filling in the subject line and including a signature at the end of the email are characteristics of proper email etiquette.

Stevens also stressed the importance of correctly using the “to” and “Cc” features.

“We need to be careful when we send an email,” said Stevens. “You need to think about who’s going to read this, but more importantly, who will read this.”

Stevens said that opening the email with a greeting, stating your purpose, relaying the facts, incorporating a recommendation—such as “have a nice day”—and including a conclusion are the five steps to crafting the proper email.

Junior sociology major Courtney Brinsky viewed the talk as informative.

“It’s useful for when we’re in the business setting,” said Brinsky. “Sending emails is how a lot of businesses communicate.”

Junior English major Luis Rodriguez believed the talk was helpful.

“It was interesting to learn about how much we actually focus on non-verbal communication,” said Rodriguez. “You think about it, but you also don’t think about it at the same time.”

SBU discusses plans for university improvement

By Maggie Kiernan, Staff Writer, @maggzkay

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. (Nov. 19)- Each and every day, students “become extraordinary” at St. Bonaventure University. As 2012 comes to a close, St. Bonaventure’s first ever five-year plan is in full effect and will continue to move forward making necessary changes to stay “extraordinary.”

“Becoming Extraordinary 2015 is the university’s first ever five-year financial forecast and strategic plan,” said Emily Sinsabaugh, vice president for university relations.

Sinsabaugh said for five years, money is linked to the improvement of four strategies. These four strategies include, 1) making changes to academic and student life in numerous areas, specifically giving the students what they want, 2) increasing enrollment through marketing, 3) fundraising and 4) continuous evaluation and improvement of the compensation of faculty and staff.

Emily Sinsabaugh said, these goals ultimately aim at the continuous evaluation and improvement in a university that is going to keep St. Bonaventure competitive “in an increasingly challenging landscape.”

These specific strategies are based on data, experience and research. With that said, “when you don’t meet a goal in one area, you have to go back and shift things in order to make that goal,” said Sinsabaugh.

The idea for this strategic plan was first introduced five years ago. “In 2007, at the opening convocation, the idea of this plan was shared with the entire campus community,” said Sinsabaugh.

She added that input was welcomed and received by faculty and staff as well as students. Through open forums the senior management council, deans and academic departments shared ideas and thoughts. The senate presented it to the board of trustees committee in the 2010-2011 academic year and they accepted it.

In the 2010-2011 academic year, the finishing touches were made and the fundraising aspect of this plan was pulled together in order to begin. Currently in the second year of the plan, students will experience no more than 3% tuition increase annually.

Due to shifting demographics, the economy and online education, higher education forecasts in ten years some colleges and universities my no longer be here, said Sinsabaugh.

Sinsabaugh said Becoming Extraordinary 2015 anticipates challenges as well as being prepared to deal with those challenges. One of the limitations of this five-year plan is accepting that things are going to happen in which the university has no way of predicting and no control over.

 Sinsabaugh partly blames the economy as well as the university’s lack of online academic programs for the low enrollment in the graduate level of St. Bonaventure University.

However, new online academic programs (geared towards graduate students) are projected to be available as early as next fall.

The five-year plan also gives the university the chance to enhance athletic and academic programs, said Sinsabaugh.

In the plan’s first year, fundraising and enrollment goals relative to academic program development were not met. Discount rate goals, student quality goals and net tuition revenue generated through administration of the school’s scholarship program were also not met. However, the university’s retention goal was met.

“If we made any errors in our first year, they were errors of ambition,” Sinsabaugh said.

In this “technology intensive business” costs in tuition are going to increase, said Sinsabaugh.

“When you [students] see an increase in your tuition, know that we also are increasing giving from alumni to support your experience at St. Bonaventure and we are increasing efficiencies ensuring that we’re using our dollars as wisely as we can and dedicated to the things that we know make the most difference for you,” said Sinsabaugh.

The Career and Professional Readiness Center, considered a major priority at this institution, is an example of an investment that this plan helps.

“With more resources invested in CPRC students are given the opportunity to have the best services from the time you arrive here as a freshman until the time you leave,” Sinsabaugh said.

Becoming Extraordinary 2015 will also focus on reshaping academic programs in order to give both current and prospective students the opportunity to do what they want.

“Sinsabaugh said it is an especially important part of the plan to meet the median of peer institutions of the salaries of the faculty. It is important to keep our current faculty here as well as attract new faculty.”

Sinsabaugh said the university hopes to accomplish major priorities outlined in this plan by 2015.

“You can’t exist in this world, in the kind of organization that we are, without a roadmap and that’s what this provides for us. And as with any good map, it’s updated as conditions change,” Sinsabaugh said.

Detailed components of “Becoming Extraordinary 2015” can be found online at sbu.edu/be2015.