Chris Leupold, assistant professor of psychology, presented the paper “Gaining Competitive Advantage in University Admissions: An Application of Strategic Job Modeling to Tour Guides,” at the Academic Business World Conference May 29- May 31 in Nashville, Tenn. The paper was also accepted for publication in the conference proceedings. A collaborative effort between the psychology department and the Elon’s Admissions Office spanning nearly three years, the paper is co-authored by Susan Klopman, vice president of admissions and financial planning; Heather Stuart, senior associate director of admissions; and Kristin Smith, a rising Elon senior psychology/business administration double major and Jefferson Pilot Fellow. Emily McCarthy, a 2005 Elon alumna and current graduate student in Fairfield University’s Industrial/Organizational Psychology program, is also a co-author.
Strategic job modeling (SJM) is a popular approach that Fortune 500 companies frequently use to precisely define work activities and the competencies required to perform them; in addition, it ensures that these are in direct alignment with the broader goals, vision, and mission of the organization. Following SJM best practice prescriptions to ensure a methodologically sound process, the project highlights how this intervention was applied to the tour guide role and ultimately resulted in a viable and validated model of performance for this key position in the university admissions process. In addition to presenting results, the paper also outlines how course-based experiential learning activities were incorporated into the project. Implications and potential applications regarding how this output can be utilized as a framework for human resource initiatives are also discussed.