Office of Student Life

Grad Pad

Advancement Program for Excellence (APEX)


In the field of student affairs, it is often said that one must move out to move up. Career advancement within an institution can be difficult as many positions do not provide the necessary opportunities to gain new skills needed for promotion. This results in the institution losing talent and professionals feeling as if advancement is unlikely. The Advancement Program for Excellence (APEX) aims to remedy this challenge. APEX focuses on preparing administrators within the Office of Student Life (OSL) at Ohio State University (OSU) to learn from those in their aspirational role or office. APEX takes interested practitioners and places them in a 100-hour hands-on experience where aspiring professionals are matched up with an individual and office based on the participant’s future career interests and goals. For example, an Assistant Director of Multicultural Center would get the opportunity to shadow their aspiration role, a Director in Student Activities.

There are three strategic goals of APEX: (a) retain talent in OSL; (b) develop administrators’ skills and; (c) provide opportunities for participating members to acquire new sets of knowledge relevant to their personal and professional development. We believe APEX participants will be better equipped to understand the responsibilities, culture, and politics of their aspirational role. In addition to demonstrating new skills from APEX, participants will be able to assess their current role to determine areas of growth needed for their future position.

An existing OSU personal and professional development model provides a framework for APEX. Using this framework will ensure the implementation and assessment of the program during its inception. To gauge the program's success, OSU’s operational data will be used to compare the retention and promotion rates of participants compared to their peers not involved with the program. Through this comparison, APEX success can be measured. In addition, participants of the APEX project will be submitting journal reflections that will be used to draw qualitative data to ensure the learning outcomes have been assessed. OSL is excited to develop this new innovation program and prepare today’s administrators for tomorrow.

Advancement Program for Excellence (APEX)

Problem Statement: Too often in the field, divisions of student affairs fail to retain talented professional due to a lack of clearly identifiable promotion paths. The Ohio State University’s Office of Student Life (OSL) is developing a program, the Advancement Program for Excellence (APEX), designed to address this challenge and prepare practitioners for future career opportunities within or outside of their current focus area. Through this career matching initiative, professionals are provided the opportunity to shadow and collaborate in functional areas or positions they aspire to obtain. In addition, APEX will provide professional development opportunities for any administrator in Student Life who wants to learn how to be ready for future roles