-Katherine Lawton and Tara Duprey

In its second year, GW UN 360 program provided 21 GW students with a unique opportunity to learn about the work of the United Nations (UN) and its partner organizations through a series of site visits and events. The students were selected from a competitive pool of nearly 200 applicants and represented academic backgrounds which ranged from undergraduate students majoring in speech, language and hearing, psychology, international affairs, and public health to graduate students studying security policy, global health, and education.

The program aims to provide a 360-degree view of how these organizations ‘get the work done’ as well as uncover the skills required to be competitive for positions within these organizations. Under the leadership of the Center for Career Services staff and GW faculty member Lisa Benton-Short, the cohort learned about how different organizations work toward achieving the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which address global topics ranging from hunger, health and gender to climate change, peace and education.

This fall semester while in D.C., the cohort visited the UN Foundation, World Food Program, USAID, UNICEF USA, and the World Bank. During GW's fall break, the cohort traveled to New York City and met with professionals at UN Headquarters. The cohort also had the opportunity to network with alumni and professionals supporting the SDGs during a culminating reception held in November at the UN Foundation in DC.

Students in the cohort felt the opportunity to be a part of GW UN 360° made a meaningful impact on them as they navigate their possible career next-steps, with 100% of the students reporting that this program met their expectations.

DSA staff members are once again invited to wear casual attire, including appropriate jeans (no holes, rips, or tears), and may also wish to wear buff and blue GW attire whenever they want to show their Colonial spirit throughout winter break from December 26-January 12.  At all times, please continue to use your discretion in making appropriate clothing decisions based on your experience, needs, and professional context, including during Spring Colonial Inauguration. If you have any questions about these guidelines, including what is appropriate casual attire, please talk with your manager.

-STEMworks Communication Team

Located on the entrance floor of Gelman Library, STEMworks is a one-stop shop for quantitative and spatial reasoning skills for students, faculty, and staff of any major or discipline. After opening this fall, STEMworks provides more than 125 hours of drop-in tutoring on STEM subjects each week, as well as makes one-on-one meetings and small group sessions available by appointment. Consultations are available for academic, research, and personal projects in statistics, econometrics, GIS, programming, software development, and digital scholarship. Additionally, workshops hosted in STEMworks provide opportunities to brush up on data skills, programming, and GIS.

The Colonial Health Center offers several different styles of groups focusing on emotional wellbeing and encourages DSA colleagues to promote these opportunities to students.  These include groups focusing on Students of Color, Spirituality, and International Students:

  • Students of Color Group: Fridays, 11:30am-1pm
  • Spirituality Group: Wednesdays, 1:30-3pm
  • International Students Group: Thursdays, 10:30am-12pm

See the Colonial Health Center website for additional information and the complete group counseling schedule.

DSA staff members are invited to wear casual attire on Buff ‘N Blue Fridays throughout the academic year. Casual attire includes appropriate jeans (no holes, rips, or tears).  Staff members are also encouraged to wear buff and blue GW attire to show Colonial spirit.

At all times, please continue to use discretion in making appropriate clothing decisions based on experience, needs, and professional context. If you have any questions about these guidelines, including what is appropriate casual attire, please talk with your manager.

By Kaitlyn Schmitt, Center for Student Engagement

On September 12-13th, I attended the ACPA Program Design School in Dupont Circle. This two-day event, led by Erin Fischer of The Leadership and Training Studio, focused on improving curriculum-writing skills for both task-related curriculum and competency- or soft skills-based curriculum. The event was targeted for leadership development educators and professionals who write curriculum for training.

System for Writing Curriculum

At this event, I learned a useful system for writing curriculum. For task-based curriculum, first list the steps of the task (we used the example of baking a cake). Get feedback from others to make sure the steps are clear and no steps are missing. Then, divide the steps into sections. For soft-skills-based curriculum, build a similar outline, starting with describing the importance of the skill and defining relevant terms. Then add in more steps to educate about the skill, starting with an action verb. For example, if you are teaching about patience, steps might include “Discuss feelings of impatience,” “List things to do while waiting,” and “Analyze situations when patience is valuable and when it’s not.” To complete the plan, add these steps: “Show the model,” “Practice the skill/model,” “Deliver the final tips,” and “Create an action plan.” Again, divide these steps into sections.

Next, for each section, consider appropriate learning methods, that is, interactive activities that test the learning. Examples of learning methods include pair and share, case studies, debates, projects, flow charts, role-playing, brainstorming, vision boards, concept mapping, and simulations. Once you have determined the steps, the sections, and appropriate learning methods, the work of writing curriculum becomes much easier.

As an example, below is the plan I made during the event for an upcoming Excellence in Leadership Seminar session on recruitment and retention in student organizations. This is a 60-minute session.

Steps Sections/Titles Learning Methods
1. Discuss the importance of recruitment and retention.

2. Define the terms.

Foundations - Debate importance of recruitment versus retention
3. Explore inclusivity in organizations.

4. Compare strategies for recruitment.

Recruitment - Reflect on previous feelings of joining or not joining an organization

- Brainstorm recruitment methods (e.g., tabling, fliers)

- Debate the benefits and drawbacks to individual recruitment methods

5. Show the “Motivating the Middle” model.

6. Discuss ways to implement the model. (Practice the model.)

Retention - Pair and share how this theory applies to their organization

- Pair and share what strategies they can implement in their organizations

7. Deliver final tips.

8. Create an action plan.

Action Plan - Debrief how the content helped participants with the current issues they are facing

Varying Learner Styles

When developing a workshop or program, it is important to consider different styles of learning. Consider who is in the audience, their level of knowledge of the topic, and their stage of development. We discussed William Perry’s model consisting of dualism, multiplicity, relativism, and commitment in relativism. Different learning methods are appropriate for learners in each stage. Additionally, the facilitator recommended considering the three most common perceptual styles as defined by the Institute for Learning Styles Research (ILSR): visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. We brainstormed ways to engage learners who prefer each style. Great curriculum will incorporate learning methods that reach learners with different styles.

Facilitator Guides

We also discussed writing facilitator guides using a pattern of four types of instructions: Facilitator Talking Points, Activity Instructions, Debrief, and Transition. By repeating this pattern and adding a Welcome and Closing, you can create a complete facilitator guide. The facilitator guide should be detailed enough for someone who has never facilitated before and who has not previously reviewed the content. Facilitator guides should be written in bullet points so they are easier to read.


Overall, the Program Design School provided a framework that encourages intentionality in workshop development. I regularly write curriculum for workshops on soft skills for the Excellence in Leadership Seminar, and this year I am writing more curriculum with the intention that someone else will facilitate the workshop. While I will likely not follow the system exactly, I have already applied what I learned at this event and I plan to adapt the system to match my own style. If ACPA repeats the event, I would recommend it to anyone who develops curriculum for workshops.

The Presidential Fellowship (PAF) program is asking for faculty and staff support in encouraging eligible GW seniors to apply for the upcoming 2018-2010 cohort. Staff can nominate graduating seniors using this form and inform students of upcoming PAF information sessions.

The PAF program was established in 1989 and there are currently 135 Presidential Fellow alumni. The Presidential Fellowship is a two-year commitment and offers graduating seniors the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree full-time at GW, participate in a competency-based professional development curriculum, gain professional experience and a graduate salary and stipend from a part-time administrative placement within a GW department, engage in service activities, and serve as a university ambassador to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends.

See eligibility information and application instructions on the PAF website. Applications are due via Handshake by Monday, October 23 at 11:59 pm EDT.

Please also consider hosting a Presidential Fellowship placement in your department during the 2018-19 academic year. The host department application will be available in winter/early spring 2018, but interested departments are encouraged to e-mail paf@gwu.edu to learn more.

Thank you for your support!

The Presidential Fellowship Program Advising Team: Mae Cooper, Toby Davidow, Peter Konwerski, Kathy Newcomer, and Robert Snyder

Congratulations to Tim Miller and Anne Graham, both of the Center for Student Engagement, on their article, “Advising Students Through Controversial Events,” which appears in the October 2017 issue of Campus Activities Programming of NACA, the National Association for Campus Activities.  Check out the article here (pages 7 -9).

Interested in learning more about the professional activities of your colleagues?  Did you recently publish an article or present at a conference?  Save the date for the DSA Staff Forum on Tuesday, December 12th, 1-2:30pm, which will showcase papers and presentations by DSA staff in an interactive networking format.  In the meantime, please email your professional accomplishments to Jennie Whitlock at jwhitlock@gwu.edu so we can highlight them in an upcoming Buff N Blue Report.

The DCCPA (DC College Personnel Association) 2017 Annual Conference will take place on Friday, December 8th at GW in District House! There are several ways to get involved:

  • Register! Registration is live at http://dc.myacpa.org/events/conference/. Early-bird registration rates run through October 18th.
  • Submit a program proposal! The theme for this year is Our Students. Our Skills. Our Communities. These three topics comprise our three program tracks, and we invite potential presenters to consider how they can contribute to the discourse in one of these areas. You can submit your proposal at https://goo.gl/forms/G96WXlwWAb18d1BI3. Program submissions are due on Wednesday, October 18th. Lead presenters will be notified about acceptance in early November and will be able to register at the early-bird rate.
  • Volunteer! You can volunteer for the planning committee through Wednesday, October 18th.

There are discounted ACPA annual membership rates ($15 or $30) for new members who join ACPA through DCCPA. Please share with your colleagues who may be seeking new professional development opportunities.

Email dccpa@acpa.nche.edu with any questions or suggestions.

ACPA Proposals are due Friday, September 8, 2017. The 2018 ACPA Annual Convention will be held in Houston, TX from March 11-14. Curriculum goals for ACPA ’18 include:

  • Reflect on their own positionality and role in social justice work within student affairs
  • Educate and role model the value of racial justice
  • Engage with the issues impacting higher education by applying our identified competencies
  • Experience critical opportunities for learning and engagement through the creation and dissemination of knowledge
  • Collaborate with the local communities

ACPA is accepting individual and group program proposals until September 8. There are a number of presentation opportunities, including Pre-Convention Sessions, General Sessions, research paper submissions, research- or practice-based posters, mini-programs, and Competency Based Sessions.

You can submit a proposal for ACPA ’18 by clicking here


If you are interested in registering for ACPA ’18, you can do so here at a discounted rate through December 9, 2017: