Gaining confidence in credential evaluation

There is more than one path into the career of international credential evaluator. Some people have extensive training; many jump into the job with little to no formal preparation. People may start at a private evaluation service, or begin in a collegiate admissions or transfer office, possibly with some responsibilities for domestic credential evaluation. A lucky few have a knowledgeable mentor.

This diversity of initiation into the field means many professionals don’t have a clear sense of their potential professional development track.

“It’s O.K. -- there isn’t one single way to get into this career.” said Aleks Morawski, Director of Evaluation Services at Foreign Credits Inc. and Chair of Scholarship and Publication at AICE.

However, once you’re in it, it’s imperative to commit to professional development. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced evaluator, professional competence and growth demands persistent self-education.

A team of experienced evaluators, including Morawski, Mark Moore (Graduate Admissions Specialist at Texas State University), and Sully Saucedo (Coordinator, International Admissions at Texas Woman’s University) -- each of whom has a unique path into the career -- shared the following insight regarding professional development pathways in the credential evaluations career.

Attend professional conferences. “I had knowledge of domestic evaluations only when I transitioned into this role, and I jumped in without formal training,” said Saucedo. The person who had held the position previously was no longer there, and she had only her predecessors’ notes to go on. “Within the first week of taking my position I went to the NAFSA National Conference and then later to AACRAO training, and that was a huge help for me in starting off.”

Moore entered the profession with one-day training session from the previous evaluator, who moved to another position on campus and so remained available to Moore for questions.

“I’m lucky he’s nearby and I have someone I can talk to throughout the process,” Moore said. “But the biggest confidence booster for me was the AACRAO Summer Institute, where I was able to see how other people approach things and able to piece together everything I’d learned with other professionals in the career.”

Network with other evaluators. “When you meet other evaluators, like at the conferences, maintain those connections. Stay in contact.” Moore said. “Then, even if you can’t attend a conference, if they’ve attended it you may be able to get some of the research and information they got.”

Join listservs. Look for listservs that can support your learning -- both internal listservs at your institution and listservs operated by national, international, or governmental agencies.

“Listservs are a great ‘armchair network,” Moore said. “They’re a low-cost way to increase your exposure to others asking the same questions and you can bounce your ideas off of other people.”

Publish and present. Morawski, who has over ten years’ experience with evaluations in both private agency and university admissions contexts, has continued his professional development by giving back to the profession.

“I host trainings and publish and present on various topics,” Morawski said. “That in itself is professional development -- to coach junior evaluators and teach what I know.”

Connect at #AACRAO18

This team will offer more insight into how and where to find effective professional development at their session “Zero to Expert in Credential Evaluation – Three Perspectives in Career Development” at the AACRAO Annual Meeting in Orlando. Presenters will discuss their professional histories, highlight key professional development activities that were instrumental in their careers, and offer insight for accruing professional development opportunities with limited resources.

“You can take what’s in this session, bring it to your supervisor and help them understand why professional development isn’t a ‘benefit’ but is imperative for your job as credential evaluator,” Morawski said. “There isn’t one resource, one book, or one conference with all the answers. It’s an ongoing process.”

Register now for AACRAO 2018, March 25-28 in Orlando, Florida.

Stay for the AICE Orlando Symposium following the conference.