Why do you think the IFI experience is important for newer professionals?
I think it exposes them to like-minded individuals who also value professional development beyond an annual conference. I also think it lets them wrestle with big ideas in a smaller space, and affords them the time to critically evaluate and reflect on their learning.
If you attended as a newer professional, has anything stuck with you from your experience? Do you still maintain any of the relationships you made from IFI? How have those relationships impacted your professional career?
I met people who became some of my best friends today. We all "came in together" around the same time in the field, which was good for developing key relationships. I've provided references for these people, crashed in hotel rooms at conferences with these people, and still keep in touch via Facebook and email with these people.
We thank you for giving your time to the institute. Why are you interested in serving FEA and IFI in this capacity?
People who sign up for IFI are investing in themselves as professionals, so they can re-invest their growth to better their organization and students. I want to be in spaces where folk get that.
If you could describe your first few years in the field with one word, what would it be and why?
Ignorance. I think I had no clue what I didn't know - let alone what I needed to begin learning. This field is more complex than most new professionals even realize.
What books, articles, etc. do you recommend?
Hard for me to say. If I'm being honest, I've read a lot of things over the years -- and it's hard for me to prioritize what folks should read as "preliminary" -- namely because we all start off at different places and have different interests, skills, strengths, weaknesses, etc. My best advice is to begin reading in areas you have (1) high interest and (2) low knowledge or experience in.
In the past, Josh has suggested the following reading material: Oracle, the Journal of Higher Education, the Journal of College Student Development, and the Journal of Applied Psychology. Several books that have guided his thinking include Motivating the Middle, Bound by a Mighty Vow, the History of the White College Fraternity, and Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me).
Josh Schutts is a 2006 graduate of IFI and will be returning to the IFI faculty this year. His program, "Engaging with Students", will provide participants with an evidence-based framework and set of principles for working with fraternity men and sorority women.
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