For insight on how rec professionals can keep up with their continuing education practices, Campus Rec spoke with two directors about the advice they have for continuing education in their position.
Kosti Efstathiou, the director of campus recreation at Willamette University: I use a variety of resources for continuing education. I think it is very important to get as many perspectives and information sources. My consistent continuing education comes from journals around collegiate recreation, higher education, diversity and inclusion, holistic wellness, psychology and sociology.
Additionally, I try to attend various types of conferences outside of NIRSA ones, including NCORE, diversity focused, NASPA, WILCOA and other organizations. Conferences can be somewhat hard for me to attend and I do crave the desire to be with others learning and being able to discuss what I learn and the implications. Therefore, I also try to attend webinars from various organizations. One such webinar was focused on StrengthsFinder and equity, diversity and inclusion.
Gene Sherry, the executive director of campus recreation at Georgia Southern University: I regularly attend the state, regional and annual NIRSA conferences, and because of my responsibilities, I also attend the PGA Show and various shooting sports summits and conferences. I read the daily NIRSA Connect email to keep my thumb on the pulse, as well as the NIRSA Know and Campus Rec Magazine.
In the past, I attended many sports officials camps that indirectly served me well in the area of leadership development. Two books recently read were, “Find Your Yellow Tux: How to be Successful By Standing Out,” by Jesse Cole and “The Power of Habit,” by Charles Duhigg. I stay fairly in touch with social media and find several interesting articles posted, especially on LinkedIn. In the past few years, I have attended ‘director only’ type summits sponsored by various organizations — each I have found rewarding in different ways.
KE: Openness to perspectives and change. Higher education is going through a lot of changes, and with these changes, it is important to realize the way campus recreation departments function and grow, will change and has to change. It has helped me realize change is coming, and I have tried to stay ahead of it by understanding what is causing or influencing the changes.
GS: A lot of reflection, investing in professional relationships at all levels of the university, conversations with colleagues both internal to our university and external, and accepting new challenges or initiatives.
KE: I think the biggest piece of advice I would have is for someone to diversify their experiences, not just their work experiences though. Diversify what areas they connect with on their campus and communities to see how they function or deal with changes, as well as looking into diverse information or paradigms of knowledge about subjects.
GS: Be the best you can possibly be at the position you are currently in. Seek opportunities that will enhance your self-awareness and those individuals in your life who will be completely honest with you.