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Building Synergy between Universities, Corporate America and IAAP

Well, well, well. Nothing like a semi-major health issue and family drama to keep one from writing….. but enough .. Let’s get back to the Administrative Professionals business at hand.

It’s October and most IAAP chapters are in full-swing, presenting to their members the relevant and timely programs we all can use on the job. Check out the Capital Chapter link on this blog to learn more about our chapter events…educational and social.

Today I found myself – pitching the need for real-world recognized academic program for the Admininstrative Profession-at the University level- to a faculty member of the College of Professional and Graduate Studies at the University of Mary Washington and the current VP of University Advancement. [Disclosure here: I am a graduate of Mary Washington College, now known as The University of Mary Washington.]

What spurred this conversation was the administrative work done by , the University’s Executive Assistant to the President. She was the administrative hub for all coordinated activities, events and thousands of details for the installation of the new University President, which took place this past weekend.

I took the time to point out to these University leaders.. the organizational effort needed, true knowledge of protocol, the time and project management skills as well as the soft-skills of diplomacy and staff-handling it must have taken to pull this event off, as smoothly as a true seasoned professional.

Now, I’ve never met this gal.. or if I have, I honestly don’t recall. I don’t even know if she holds a college degree or certification. What I do know, is that although many administrative professionals are superb at their field with or without a degree or certification.what if there was more academic recognition of this new representative of middle level management… What if you work for the CEO of say.. Starbucks or General Dynamics? What if you are the premier receptionist for Johnson & Johnson HQ? Are the current offerings by most community college programs in administrative support really doing the student justice?

Personally, I don’t believe I could have the success I have today without my liberal arts bachelors degree with concentration in business administration. This is where I learned the importance of the Organizational Chart.. but the real-world work experience taught me the true unspoken Org chart. This is where I learned about the marketing methods of small vs large companies, business law, product pipelines and accounting methods (though definitely NOT my strongest subject!)

What I didn’t learn, were the organizing methods, the inherent need for tact, diplomacy and discretion, the time management, boss-juggling and, yes, filing methods required to be a competent administrative assistant. These were all lessons learned on the job and on the clock.

Where are the educational programs whichrecognize the synergy required between these two realities? Where are the programs that recognize that if your dream is to travel the world as an executive admin, you better learn at least one second language? Or you become a director of administration- how to read contracts, negotiate contracts, understand facilities management? Certainly the IAAP certification exams TEST a good deal of this ..both the CPS (Certified Professional Secretary) and CAP (Certified Administrative Professional Exam) are intense exams which I’ll find out HOW intense, on November 4 when I sit for this certification exam.

What if a local college or university in a city partnered with IAAP and regional businesses to create a talented pool of Career Minded Administrative Professionals (trademark to IAAP)… that had the skills AND the poise to not just cover the reception desk but provide invaluable assets to the CTO, CIO, CFO’s and CEOs of the region. Something that the human resource staff of the regional corporate and non-profit giants could know that the students completing this program, whether a degree or certificate program would save them the time and hassle of agencies and testing. *No disrepect to agencies here.. just a recognition of the turn-over issue that is endemic to the temporary adminsitrative field.

And, that the relationship with this potential academic partner and their career placement program would benefit all parties.. Taken one step further, it could be a draw for high school students or working parents returning to the work-force. Hypothetically, students who had completed this program, joined their local IAAP Chapter, become mentors and examples of the phenomenally successful synergy of these three resources, the university, the regional companies and IAAP..

Now.. that, my friend, is making the most of our nation’s academic and business educational efforts. My hope is that each and everyone of you are making the most of your opportunities.

About AdminRenegade

Storyteller, Fan of Leadership gurus, Coffee Lover, especially Dunkin' Donuts.. and most importantly- a fierce advocate -Providing a new philosophy on what it means to be an administrative professional in today's workplace.

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