Volume 82 | Issue 5
October 2014

Education Council Announces New Plan

The International Education Council is charged with ensuring that ACUI provides a balanced approach to the delivery of education to the membership. In addition to providing guidance to other volunteers and the Central Office staff, this also includes developing resources, delivering content, and evaluating the work being done. One of the ways the Education Council is doing this is through the creation and implementation of an Education Plan, setting the content priorities for the Association. Following a micro-assessment in August, the Education Council is ready to launch the 2014–15 ACUI Education Plan.

Survey Demographics

Of the 667 overall survey responses,
660 completed the demographic section.
The results are as follows:

Women: 53.5% (353)
Men: 45.3% (299)
Transgender: 0.5% (3)
Other: 0.8% (5)


White: 78.5% (518)
Black/African American: 8.9% (59)
Hispanic/Latino/Mexican/Chicano: 5.8% (38)
Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.7% (18)
Multi-Ethnic: 2.1% (14)
Other: 1.5% (10)
Native American/American Indian: 0.5% (3)

Education Attained:

Master’s Degree: 70.1% (458)
Bachelor’s Degree: 21.0% (137)
Doctoral Degree: 6.1% (40)
Associate’s Degree: 1.7% (11)
Professional Degree: 1.1% (7)

Professional Level:

Mid-Level Managers, 59.9% (395)
Senior-Level Managers: 26.1% (172)
New Professionals: 12.6% (83)
Other (e.g., Faculty): 1.1% (7)
Graduate Students: 0.5% (3)*
*Note that graduate students were
not intentionally included in the
survey population

Institutional Profile:

International: 2.0% (13)
   (e.g., Qatar, Canada, Ireland, Australia):
Public: 82% (541)
Private: 18.5% (122)

Initiated in 2013, the Education Plan is a relatively new tool that the Education Council developed to provide a focus on specific skill sets within the ACUI core competencies. While ideally the Association provides broad educational content in all of the core competencies, specific skill sets are selected for deeper emphasis. Such skill sets were chosen because they are areas in which members have lower proficiency and higher desire for resources according to the 2012 College Union and Student Activities Professional Assessment, needs assessments, and program evaluations.

The 2013 Education Plan featured the skill sets of Global Knowledge (Core Competency: Intercultural Proficiency), Strategic Planning (Core Competency: Planning), Technology Application and Administration (Core Competency: Technology), and Assessment (Core Competencies: Planning, Management, and Student Learning).

Initial investigation has led to revising the plan for 2014 to focus on Global Knowledge, Hiring and Promotion (Core Competency: Human Resource Management), and Budget Development and Management (Core Competency: Fiscal Management).

Survey Results

The August survey, by design, was brief compared to most surveys administered by the Association. It sought only to take a snapshot of select skill sets and rather than a comprehensive examination of all core competencies as had been done in 2012. In doing so, there was an above average number of responses (697). Of these 697 respondents, 660 completed the final section, demographics, which allowed generalization of the data. The breakdown is fairly consistent with the data from the 2012 professional assessment, though the regional structure has changed in the interim.

In addition to the four skill sets from the 2013 Education Plan, this survey looked at two potential skill sets for the 2014–15 Education Plan: Budget Development and Management, and Hiring and Promotion. Through review of program evaluations and conference evaluations from the past year, including regional conferences, these skill sets arose as topics of increased need.

A surprising finding from this survey was that the members indicated higher levels of competency with the two additional skill sets: Hiring and Promotion (40% competent; 53.4% very or extremely competent), and Budget Development and Management (39.6% competent; 45.6% very or extremely competent). This is compared to the previously selected skill sets of Strategic Planning (49.7% competent; 29.3% very or extremely competent), Global Knowledge (47.3% competent; 32.0% very or extremely competent), Assessment (51.8% competent; 23.3% very or extremely competent), and Technology Application and Administration (45.8% competent; 32.8% very or extremely competent).

Like many data sets, at first glance this survey data plus the recommendations from program evaluations may seem puzzling. However when taken in context, it begins to make some sense. Looking at the data by professional level (senior manager, middle managers, and new professionals), provides useful information. Given that as experience increases so too does competence, some skill sets vary by professional level. For instance, skills such as Budget Development have a higher need for education at lower levels of experience. As experience increases, so too does the frequency the skill is used, with 53% of senior managers indicating daily use of this skill, compared to 35% for mid-level managers and 23% for new professionals. In the case of Hiring and Promotion, experience and need for education are inversely related, with 80% of new professionals indicating they definitely need or somewhat need ACUI to provide education in this skill, compared to 61% of mid-level professionals and 49% of senior-level professionals.

Also of interest, some skill sets, such as Strategic Planning, have a low frequency of use but high need for education. Finally, it is intriguing that in some cases, such as in the skill set of Global Knowledge, the need for ACUI to provide education related to skill sets does not vary and is almost equal across the professional levels; 75–79% of each professional level indicated they somewhat or definitely need education in this skill.

Next Steps

Overall, the data provide extremely useful information for those volunteers and staff tasked with developing and delivering education to members. Based on these data, the 2014–15 Education Plan will focus on developing members’ knowledge in:

  • Budget Development and Management
  • Global Knowledge
  • Hiring and Promotion

The Education Plan can be used in a number of ways to tailor the design of content to meet a specific experience level or other demographic. The International Education Council will continue to examine the data for opportunities to enhance education at many levels.

As with the high participation in this survey, you can help with these efforts. First, contribute your high-quality presentations, sample documents, training videos, or other materials to The Exchange (www.acui.org/exchange), which allows members to enhance their competence, as well as connect with a peer who has more experience in a specific skill set. Second, continue to submit your education ideas and content to your region through workshops, online learning programs, or newsletter articles; write a Bulletin article; contribute a Commons post; or submit an educational proposal for an upcoming seminar. In jurying sessions for the 2015 annual conference, the Education Council saw a large number of quality Assessment proposals targeting various experience levels, which speaks to the high need and high frequency of use of this skill. For ways to contribute your expertise in a skill set or competency, connect with your regional education coordinator or volunteer coordinator. Finally, continue to complete surveys and educational evaluations, as the feedback and data are used to shape future educational offerings.

To learn more about the ACUI core competencies or the International Education Council, visit www.acui.org.