01/14/2019 by Carney Sandoe Staff |

Navigating FORUM/Diversity

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FORUM/Diversity is a special event for us, partially due to its unique structure, and partially because the content of the event truly resonates with us. When we visit 200+ schools each fall, we hear a number of trends which can vary by region, school size, school type, etc. A trend that has been consistent across state lines, endowment sizes, and school histories has been schools’ desire and willingness to not only build a faculty that reflects the diversity of their student bodies, but to also create a school community that is supportive and welcoming for all. FORUM/Diversity is one small step toward achieving that end.

As a candidate, how can you best navigate the event? How can you maximize your interviewing opportunities while also taking advantage of the excellent professional development sessions offered? Take a look at the tips below to help you get an idea for and prepare yourself for this event.

1. Get in the habit of logging into the Conference Module.

First and foremost, log into our Conference Module early and often once you receive access to it. Registered candidates will receive access about two weeks before the conference; you can't find the link on our website or in CandidateConnect so be sure to keep the email you receive (your username and password are the same as your CandidateConnect credentials). In the Module, you can do everything from see a list of schools who are attending, send messages to schools you are interested in, view interviews that have been scheduled, and adjust your own schedule (see number 2 below for more about this). You don't want to miss any last-minute interviews that have been scheduled or messages from schools, so make a habit to check the Module frequently. Learn more about utilizing the Conference Module.

2. Plan your schedule.

One of the biggest things you can do to ensure you have an optimal experience at FORUM/Diversity to is plan your schedule. Because this conference is both a hiring and professional development event, with interviews and sessions taking place concurrently, it's wise to put some thought into planning your time.

Be sure to mark off your availability accurately within the Conference Module. Review the professional development symposium agenda for the event and highlight any “can’t-miss” sessions for you. If you decide you must attend a panel from 10:00-11:45 a.m., for example, make sure you mark yourself “unavailable” on your schedule during those times. (Tip: You don't need to stay for the whole session if you choose. In our example, blocking off a half hour or hour instead of the full time is perfectly acceptable.)

A scheduling snafu that we see often? Candidates who forget to block time off for lunch! (See more info on lunch in number 4.)

3. Do some legwork.

Before the event, you can review a list of registered schools within the Module. Reach out to any schools of interest – regardless of whether they have an open position in your subject area –through the Conference Module Messages feature to indicate your interest in meeting them at the event. Schools will schedule interviews directly with candidates of interest (and may not always respond to your messages), so make sure you’re double- and triple-checking your interview schedule.

4. Be prepared.

This goes along with the first three tips in that managing your schedule and checking the Conference Module. It also means making sure you're prepared as an interviewee (have you done some research on the schools you have interviews with?) and just in general for a day away from work and home.

Be mindful of the weather forecast. You don't want to get caught in a rainstorm without an umbrella and have to head to your first interview with soggy clothing.

Bring snacks and a water bottle. Light breakfast will be available each morning and coffee, tea, and water stations will be set up throughout the day, but having a granola bar or water bottle in your bag can't hurt.

Speaking of food, lunch is not provided, so give yourself time to head to one of the many restaurants in the area around the hotel. The Loews itself has three options: Bank & Bourbon (sit-down dining, better if you have a longer period of time for lunch), The Lobby Lounge (features library tables with outlets; great for a small bite), and POD Market (located in the Lobby level and features coffee, pastries, grab and go salads, and pre-packaged snacks and drinks). Another great spot to go? Reading Terminal Market is a three-minute walk away (head north on 12th Street towards Filbert Street) and features a variety of restaurants all under one roof.

Schools will often wait until the evening before or even the day of the conference to finalize their schedules. For that reason, have a smartphone, tablet, or laptop easily accessible during the event, so you can easily check for any updates or new interviewing opportunities that might arise.

5. Challenge yourself.

Whether you’re engaged in an interview with a school, getting inspired by our keynote speakers, taking notes in a professional development panel, or sharing your own story in our town hall discussion, you will benefit from this special event. While interviewing with schools is a big part of FORUM/Diversity, so is the professional development you have access to at the same time. We highly encourage all candidates to take advantage of this incredible opportunity. Engaging in discussions around diversity, equity, and inclusion can be daunting or difficult, but we believe deeply in the importance of having these conversations in order to create more welcoming, inclusive school communities. So attend a session or two! Active listeners, quiet observers, and engaged participants are all welcome.

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Placement Associate. Or tweet them to @CarneySandoe using the hashtag #CSAFORUM.

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