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Running head: CAREER TRAJECTORY PAPER 1 Career Trajectory Paper Marie Jarra Georgia Southern University EDLD 7430: American Higher Education December 5th, 2016 CAREER TRAJECTORY PAPER 2 Career Trajectory Paper My career aspirations in higher education began after I graduated with a BA in communications from Georgia State University. I quickly found out that it was difficult to find a job in my area of study. To be able to pay bills I took a temp job as a specialist in the registrar’s office at Georgia State University dealing with financial aid, admissions, and student accounts. After this position ended I took another temp position as a research assistance in the College of Arts & Science assisting Grants and Contracts Officers and the Associate Dean of Research. After a year as the research assistance I moved up to Grants & Contracts Officer I. I quickly moved to Grants & Contracts Officer II within a year. Obtaining a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration will help me achieve a future position in a foreign country as a Director of Research Administration. Influences My experience as a research assistance in the College of Arts of Sciences at Georgia State University was the primary influence for my choice of a career in higher education. Before this position I had not considered a career in higher education. My supervisor at the time frequently advised me in research administration and opened my eyes to the different aspects of higher education. She frequently gave me articles relating to higher education career to read and then we would discuss them so she could better understand my interest. From my interactions with her I developed a greater appreciation for higher education administration. I debated whether receiving a Masters in Higher Education Administration would be beneficial for a career as a Director of Research. I questioned if it was worth me CAREER TRAJECTORY PAPER 3 getting a graduated degree because I was noticing that many of the higher up administrators in my department only had an undergraduate degree. In my current department when it was time to hire a new CFO (Chief Financial Officer) in research the candidate that received the position only had an undergraduate degree and it was in fine arts. This observation led me to believe that with a little bit of experience and knowing the right person I could achieve a position that I want without getting the degree. After thinking on it for a while and assessing my finances, I decided to pursue my graduate degree in higher education. Being a young African American woman, obtaining this degree is mostly likely to get me a well-paid job than an undergraduate degree (New, 2015). Goals Short-Term Goals I typically don’t make short-term goals, but I’m finding out that it’s helpful to establish them as stepping-stones to my long-term goals. By the end of 2017 I plan to graduate with a Masters in Higher Education Administration. I would like to continue working at Georgia State University and continue learning as much as I can from the current director of research in our department. For professional development I want to continue attending regional and national conferences in research administration and higher education administration. Attending conferences will allow me to become part of a network of sharing of knowledge and experiences, as well as develop professionally (NCURA, 2016). CAREER TRAJECTORY PAPER 4 Long-Term Goals About a year after graduation I will be applying to director positions in research at an international research university. For the past two years, I’ve been doing a lot more international travel and I would like to work in another country and experience the culture as much as I can. To become a director, I will search for jobs on Higher Ed Jobs by filtering the location sections and narrowing it down to three cities, Melbourne, Australia, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Perth, Australia. Through attending international conferences and personal traveling I have had the opportunity to meet people in the same field of work and manage to keep in touch with them. My dream would be to move and settle into one of these countries that I’ve had the opportunity of visiting and living there for at least five to six years. Job Qualifications for Future Career The director of research in a university setting is responsible for the management of a group of research administrators and finance administrators for one college within a university or the main university research office. This position requires a bachelor’s degree and at least five years’ experience. Some institutions will take experience and certification as a Certified Research Administrator (RACC, 2016) if a person does not hold a bachelor’s degree. Most companies will seek a candidate with excellent written and oral communication skills, ability to work with diverse types of people and having the ability to multitask. From most of my research and job searches for international jobs in this position most are seeking a preferred qualification of a Master’s degree (HigherEdJobs.com, 2016). CAREER TRAJECTORY PAPER 5 A Director of research will be responsible for managing a staff of research and finance administrators. The director will mentor and train team members in all aspects of the proposal and award review process, including: understanding the principles and policies which underlie award terms, promoting positive negotiating processes, and developing effective use of work management tools. At an international university, a director of research will also be responsible for international negotiations on grant contracts and they must have the knowledge to train staff on international rules and regulations. Strengths and Areas Needing Improvement Since I’ve been in my current position as a grants and contracts officer at Georgia State University, I’ve taken many training course to learn and improve my skills in my field. My strengths are as identified: the ability to produce reports in a timely manner, manage a portfolio from different funding agencies with over three million in combined budget. Some other strengths include the ability to work with a diverse group of research professors, and having excellent verbal communication skills. Through training offered by Georgia State University, the Society of Research Administrators, and the National Council of University Research Administrators I was able to gain the skills and knowledge to be able to apply uniform guidance rules, a set of cost principles, and audit requirements for federal awards, to all awards under my management (Grants.gov, 2016). When I take a position internationally, areas that I will need improvement will include learning the language of a different county, understanding the culture and different operational practices of that University. To improve on my weak areas, I plan on taking CAREER TRAJECTORY PAPER 6 training classes whiles I’m overseas, these classes will include: language classes, cultural classes, and the universities best practices courses. Professional Development &Organizations Since I’m already part of the National Council of University Research and the Society of Research Administrators I want to continue being a member of both research organizations. SRA has an international chapter that has been beneficial in my professional development and has provided comprehensive information about research management from over 40 countries (SRA.org, 2016). NCURA has been beneficial to me by providing me with on-demand resources that have featured new and up to date use of technology in research administration in my university (NCURA.org, 2016). An organization that I am not a member of but plan to join is the American Academics and Higher Education. AAHE is an organization different from the current two that I’m a member of because AAHE has a focus on higher education academics (AAHE, 2016). This organization will benefit me in being a well-rounded administrator by implementing skills in higher education to keep me competitive and successful in the workplace. Mentoring At my current institution, Georgia State University, I have a mentor Dr. Johnathan Gayles who is currently holding the position of Associate Provost of Institutional Effectiveness. I have worked with Dr. Gayles for the past four years and have been a witness to his growth at Georgia State University. It’s important to have mentor or role model that is in a position that you seek to be in or similar. In the four years that I have been at Georgia State University Dr. Gayles has went from Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies in the College of Arts and Science to his current position. The CAREER TRAJECTORY PAPER 7 knowledge and advice that he has bestowed upon me are some that will help me in establishing the foundations for my future goals. Dr. Gayles has also introduced me to many professionals within research and higher education administrators that have proven to be great networking aids for my current profession and future professions. I hope that one day I’m able to become a mentor to a young professional that needs aid and advice on their career track just as Dr. Gayles has been to me. Paying it forward is a goal that I must also reach once I’m in the position that I want to be in. Collaboration Opportunities Collaborations are an important part of professional growth in higher education because they allow professionals to work with different departments in aiding the university in accomplishing its missions and goals. In my career, I would like to collaborate with faculty and graduate student organizations to create systems within institutions that aid in grant education and management. I find that this is something that we lack in some institutions and its apparent with first year researchers who have a difficult time understanding how their grants work. Outside of my profession, I currently collaborate with AGERA (Atlanta Gambians Emergency Relief Association). This organization is important to me because as a Gambian I always want to aid my services to my community and help grow the organization. In AGERA I am a member of the education committee, and collaborate with other members in different professions to keep the Gambian youths up to date on education changes and policies. We work with current college students, perspective college students and grades 10th -12th to aid them with all aspects of higher education from admission applications, to internships and scholarships. Because most Gambian CAREER TRAJECTORY PAPER 8 parents in the U.S. are not in tune with the current education trends, and policies this is a way for me as an administrator to give back to my community. As an African we have a firm belief that “it takes a village to raise a child.” My overall goal in life is to contribute as much as I can to the growth of society and the development and evolutions of mankind in any way I can. CAREER TRAJECTORY PAPER 9 References AAHE. (2016). About AAHE Retrieved from: http://www.aahe.org/ Grants.gov (2016). Uniform administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit requirements for federal awards. Grants.gov Retrieved from http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/learn-grants/grant-policies/omb-uniform- guidance-2014.html HigherEdJobs. (2016). Job search advice. Retrieved from https://www.higheredjobs.com/career/resumes.cfm HigherEdJobs. (2016). International positions. Retrieved from https://www.higheredjobs.com/international/ NCURA. (2016). Core purpose and mission. National Council of University Research Administrators Retrieved from: http://www.ncura.edu/AboutUs.aspx New, Jake. (2015, March 6). Still at a disadvantage. Inside higher education: Retrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/03/06/elite-college-degrees- give-black-graduates-little-advantage-job-market Research Administrators Certification Council (2016). Why hire a certificant. Retrieved from https: http://www.cra-cert.org/whyhireaCRA.html SRA. (2016). About sra international. Society of Research Administrators International Retrieved from: http://srainternational.org/about-sra-international