There is no experience quite like being hired for your first job. That feeling of accomplishment. That validation of your education and hard work. That anticipation of what is to come. Similarly, there is the thrill that comes when you know that you have found the candidate who will join your team to help you continue to serve your students and fulfill your mission and vision. Since it was created, TPE has played a major role in this exchange between candidate and employer. We have worked to make the job placement process more efficient and effective for both job searchers and the institutions that hire them. Hundreds of volunteers have shared their experiences and ideas, helping us tweak the event through the years, allowing it to grow and evolve. We are proud of our brand and the reputation that TPE has established across our profession, particularly with the job placement event. Wherever you find yourself in our field, it is likely that you and your organization have interacted with the TPE event and we are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of your professional narrative.
We understand the weight that the placement events and choices carry and the pressures that come with them. We have also taken notice of the changing landscape of the workforce and job market in our field. Data shows that the candidate pool includes more first-generation graduate students than ever and that they have to balance the pressures of school and a job search while extending themselves to make ends meet. Recent years also have shown an increasing number of historically black colleges and universities, community colleges, and minority-serving institutions looking to TPE to deliver a diverse and skilled pool of applicants. At the same time, the financial resources for staff recruitment and retention have been reduced at small colleges and large public institutions alike. In short, the current model is not sustainable if TPE is to continue to meet its obligation that all student affairs professionals and institutions have a fair and equitable job placement experience.
That’s why The Placement Exchange continues to push forward in its effort to create the definitive student affairs job placement experience. TPE has set inclusive excellence, innovative practice, and advocacy and responsiveness as three of our guiding principles because we recognize their necessity if we intend to not only cultivate, but sustain a diverse and robust workforce in our field. TPE, with NASPA and ACUHO-I, believes that a newly envisioned virtual job placement event is the first step towards meeting this goal as it directly addresses a primary barrier to engagement: access. This invaluable first step in cultivating a diverse and robust student affairs workforce drastically reduces registration costs for both candidates and employers. It completely eliminates travel and lodging costs. It allows current staff to remain on campus and better fulfill their employment responsibilities. It levels the playing field and only when that is present can we trust that we are on track to offer a first-class job placement event.
We recognize that this is a substantial change in the design and modality of TPE. It might excite you, be a surprise to you, and potentially disappoint or frustrate you. If you happen to be feeling disappointed or frustrated, we understand. Honestly. Change is hard particularly when it happens to something so integral to all of us. Permanently changing the design and modality of this event will undoubtedly shift how we all think about and engage in recruitment, selection, and placement in our profession. But, that is still a good thing because change is inevitable. The landscape of our workforce and hiring practices has been changing for a while and is at a tipping point. Which is why change (and this change in particular) can, and will, also be good! These decisions are being made thoughtfully and purposefully, and the outcomes are being led by professionals and volunteers who truly understand your concerns. Building camaraderie, networking with peers, and delivering career-boosting resources will remain the foundation of TPE. Serving as your premiere home for the exchange between candidate and employer is still our goal, no matter what format the job placement process takes. A virtual platform will allow us to continue to strengthen our foundation, meet our goal, and evolve into a more accessible, and therefore diverse and robust experience. Please know that we are here to provide guidance, mentorship, resources, and support as you navigate the process. And know that when you receive that offer letter or welcome that new staff member to campus, and you experience that swell of pride and potential, TPE will still be there to extend our congratulations.
Executive Director & CEO, ACUHO-I
Dr. Kevin Kruger
President & CEO, NASPA
Snapshots from TPE Virtual 2021:
- Were you satisfied with your overall TPE Virtual 2021 experience? 90% of employers said yes.
- Would you recommend TPE to a colleague? 81% of candidates said yes.
- “It wss convenient to meet and interview with institutions from all over the country. Submitting resumes, requesting interviews, communicating with interviewers. It was all very convenient and I was more comfortable and at ease interviewing from home where I didn’t feel like I was 1 out of 1000 going for the same position. Virtual did it for me! Thank you.” – Candidate
- “Affordability was huge, not having to travel allowed more members on the interview team and the ability to staff and troubleshoot here on campus.” – Employer