Campus

AUP’s Global Professional Skills (GPS) Program

Officially Launches Spring 2019

The AUP Student Development and AUP Academic Affairs teams have partnered up to officially launch the Global Professional Skills (GPS) Program for all degree-seeking undergraduate students in February 2019.

This signature program at AUP is designed to encourage students to make thoughtful decisions about how they invest their time in co-curricular activities. It helps them to reflect on these experiences while encouraging them to draw parallels between their curricular and co-curricular pursuits. The aim is to provide a structure within which students can develop a personal narrative, so they can successfully present themselves to graduate school admissions panels, potential employers, investors etc.

Degree-seeking undergraduates work toward completing the GPS program throughout their studies by tracking co-curricular activities that are tied to AUP’s four core capabilities.

The GPS Program has been configured in a special module on the new AUP Engage platform. It is visible to all students, faculty and staff. Users can find this GPS “path” on the homepage – in the column on the right below the events section – or by clicking on their user menu (top right) and selecting “paths.”

I hope to construct a narrative that reflects my accomplishments as well as my goals, my identity and my journey to self-improvement.

THE CAPABILITIES

The GPS Program outcomes are aligned with AUP’s faculty-defined core capabilities:

  1. Independent, Creative Thinkers
  2. Adaptable Communicators with a Global Perspective
  3. Responsible Actors and Empowered Leaders
  4. Engaged, Lifelong Learners.

As the GPS Program is a co-curricular program, designed to complement classroom learning, it defines itself in parallel to these capabilities.

Independent, Creative Thinkers is given the subheading “Professional.” Activities feeding into this capability (such as internships, resume workshops and alumni career mentoring) are defined as experiential learning that introduces students to the world of work and that fosters the ability to articulate professional goals, personal experiences and ambitions.

Adaptable Communicators with a Global Perspective is given the subheading “Cultural Fluency.” Activities feeding into this capability (such as French cinema at AUP, language and culture clubs, and cultural excursions) are defined as

experiential learning that cultivates the skills required to engage effectively with any audience around the world.

Responsible Actors and Empowered Leaders is given the subheading “Leadership.” Activities feeding into this capability (such as the Student Government Association, ARC tutoring and community service) are defined as

experiential learning that teaches students that the keys to effective leadership are emotional intelligence, teamwork and proactively taking responsibility for decision-making.

Engaged, Lifelong Learners is given the subheading “Personal.” Activities feeding into this capability (such as art gallery curation, sports teams, recreational activity clubs and attendance at wellness events) are defined as

experiential learning that cultivates important life skills and promotes holistic wellbeing, such as effective time management, creativity and self-care.

THE OUTCOMES

The GPS Program culminates in a student’s senior year with a suite of activities and exercises designed to ensure they are ready to approach their post-graduation plans with confidence and success. These activities include the Designing Your Narrative (DYN) Workshop, a Final GPS Presentation and an optional panel presentation.

Participation in the DYN Workshop is required to complete the GPS Program. In the workshop, senior students are asked to consider their next steps. Will they look for an internship or job? Will they continue their studies in graduate school? Will they start their own company and search for an investor? With a similar objective in mind, students complete a set of exercises designed to help them craft a personal narrative. The goal is to synthesize their professional, academic, volunteer and co-curricular experiences.

Submission of a Final GPS Presentation is also required to complete the program. The presentation is an opportunity for students to practice presenting their skills and ambitions in the form of a coherent narrative. Students submit their narrative in a format of their choice, be it PowerPoint, Prezi, website or video. The presentation must include a clear objective. Students who choose to participate in panel presentations will then use their presentation as a visual aid.

Panel presentations are an optional element of the GPS Program. Students are given three minutes to give their Final GPS Presentations to a panel made up of AUP employers, faculty, staff and alumni professionals. Top participants are then invited to present to the GPS President’s Panel at the GPS Awards Ceremony.

THE GPS AWARDS

The GPS Awards Ceremony takes place shortly before AUP’s commencement ceremony in May. All GPS seniors are invited to attend along with their families and friends. The ceremony begins with the GPS President’s Panel, in which the top participants from the panel presentations again have three minutes to present their narrative. After the panel, all students who have successfully completed the GPS Program receive their GPS certificate and a gift. The ceremony is followed by a cocktail reception.

Finally, the student with the best GPS Presentation (as decided by the President’s Panel) receives the GPS Award during the commencement ceremony.

THE PILOT

The pilot of the GPS Program took place in Spring 2018. At that time, an abridged version of the program was opened to current seniors. The pilot saw 35 seniors receive their certificates in May. In their evaluations, students clearly indicated that they both valued their GPS experience and understood its overarching purpose. In a feedback survey, 90% of participants believed the GPS Program should continue in the future.

When asked why she enrolled in the pilot, one student said:

“I hope to construct a narrative that reflects my accomplishments as well as my goals, my identity and my journey to self-improvement [as I prepare for professional life].”

Reflecting on his experience completing the GPS Program, another student commented:

“The best thing I’ve learned from this program is actually how to promote myself. It really helped me stand out from the other [graduate school] applicants.”

AUP employer Caroline Newman, Founder and President of Kids Empowerment said:

“[The GPS panel presentations] were a valuable event that equipped students with the skills and competencies we, at Kids Empowerment, appreciate to find in internship candidates. It further contributes to students’ ability to communicate their achievements in a professional context and enhances the visibility of their work with us.”

 

Students in Spring 2018 crafted some excellent GPS Presentations, several of which can be found here. The full GPS Awards Ceremony from Spring 2018 can be viewed online here.

Students, faculty and staff with questions are encouraged to reach out via email to gps@aup.edu.