Editor's Note: This is the second in a two-part series of articles by Pikowsky focusing on assessment in the registrar's office. The first article appeared in College and University Vol. 84, No. 2.
The Office of the Registrar at the Georgia Institute of Technology, in cooperation with the Office of Human Resources, has been engaged since February 2008 in a pilot project to model core competencies for the leadership team and the staff. It is the hope of the Office of Human Resources that this pilot will result in a model that can be used campus-wide to model core competencies in other areas. Ms. Marita Sullivan, in the Office of Human Resources, is our mentor and partner in this process. Her role in this venture has been tremendously important to us.
Although competency modeling can be defined in different ways, it is being described at Georgia Tech as follows:
Competency modeling is the output of researching and identifying the characteristics (or competencies) of workers that underlie successful performance. Identifying and differentiating competencies helps achieve "best" performance and allows for targeted development and training dollars. For this initiative, we are piloting the competency modeling process developed by David Dubois, Ph. D., and William Roth well, Ph. D., of Strategic Performance Improvement Associates.
The benefits of having competency models in place include providing information to staff and managers that is useful for career development; assisting employees in understanding the behaviors and skills needed to be successful in their current jobs; allowing the office to target training and development activities more precisely and to use scarce budget dollars more effectively; assisting in identifying good candidates for open positions; providing a useful tool for managers to improve staff performance; and facilitating succession planning.
The first step in modeling the competencies was a meeting held with the managers (assistant and associate registrars and the registrar), facilitated by a staff" member from the Office of Human Resources, to model the core competencies for the leadership team. Following a PowerPoint presentation to introduce the theory, the group brains tormed ideas, using sticky notes to track progress. The group then prioritized the suggested competency areas in order to reach agreement on which were the most critical.
The competencies shown in Table ? (left: column) were identified through the leadership team's brainstorming exercise (members worked individually to identify the areas and collectively to prioritize them).
Table 2, on page 65, defines those competencies the leadership team considered the most critical.
The process of identifying the competencies was completed for the staff". At the meeting with the staff, the registrar facilitated the discussion.
The competencies shown in Table 1 (right column) were identified at this meeting; from this group, the most important were selected for the staff".
Table 3 (on page 66) defines those competencies that staff considered the most critical.
Because staff" positions vary both in level and in focus, the registrar and associate registrar suggested the competencies shown in Table 4 (on page 67) be used as appropriate when developing the individual models.
The next step in the process was to develop an assessment tool to use to evaluate individuals against competencies selected as most applicable to their positions. Although the assessment tools vary slighdy (due to the fact that positions exist at different levels in the office), there are common threads: communication skills, for example, are important for all positions at all levels; building effective business partnerships is an important competency for all managers.
The assessment tool includes: an area that addresses career interests; six competencies (eight for managers) identified for evaluation; a section where the registrar and the employee rate the six (or eight) areas on a scale from 1 to 5 (5 being the highest) and finally agree on a mutual rating; a section where possible activities are identified; and a section where specific activities are listed to target the competency areas. …