By Dave Hall and Catherine Cramp and Kristal Fehring

In the spring of 2014, NIRSA and the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) launched a work team to study how the skills gained through participation and employment in cocurricular experiences helps to prepare students for their careers. The goal of the project was to identify ways that students are gaining skills that make them more desirable to employers by participating in campus recreation programs and by working in the field of collegiate recreation.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) produces an annual “Job Outlook Survey,” which asks employers to rank the skills they find most desirable when hiring college graduates. Many of the skills identified by NACE are developed through participation and employment in collegiate recreational programs. To many campus recreation professionals, this connection is intuitive—but data to support this conclusion are currently limited. The NIRSA/NACA working team sought to develop a comprehensive list of experiences that are common in many programs in campus recreation and campus activities and that could potentially lead to learning about where students could gain these desirable skills.

To aid in these conversations, the work team developed the white paper Considering the Impact of Participation and Employment of Students in Campus Activities and Collegiate Recreation on the Development of the Skills Employers Desire Most. This white paper seeks to change the narrative and drive the conversation with our college and university presidents and well as other stakeholders by clearly demonstrating the value of our programs as part of the educational experience.

Please consider contributing to the conversation about which programs and activities influence this learning by sharing your insight on the current list developed by the working group by completing this form. Also, to hear more about this important project and to share your insight, think about attending the session “Telling Our Story to Employers: Demonstrating the Impact of Cocurricular Experiences including Campus Recreation on Employment Ready Skills” at the upcoming 2015 NIRSA Annual Conference.


For more information, please contact the NIRSA work team representatives, David Hall of Springfield College and Catherine Cramp of the University of Florida, or NIRSA Membership.