URMIA’s Core Competency document lays out a framework of individual characteristics, including knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors, which identify proficiency and excellence at different career levels and within the overall profession. Guest host Craig McAllister talks with guests Kathy Hargis, Gary Langsdale, and Sue Liden, who were part of the team that helped to update the Core Competency document. They share what makes this year’s update to the Core Competency document the perfect resource for risk managers of all experience level. Learn all about what’s new in the 2023 version of the Core Competency document, how to utilize it at work, and how it can guide your career path’s progression!
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Core Competencies for Higher Education Risk Managers
URMIA’s Education Plan
Kathy Hargis, Associate Vice President of Risk Management and Compliance- Lipscomb University
Gary Langsdale, (Retired) Education Manager- URMIA
Sue Liden, Education Manager- URMIA
Craig McAllister, Assistant Vice President, Risk Management- University of Miami
Craig McAllister: Hello, and welcome to another URMIA Matters podcast. Today we're discussing the URMIA core competency document. I'm Craig McAllister, Assistant Vice President of Risk Management at the University of Miami, and President-elect for URMIA. With me today are Kathy Hargis, the AVP for Risk Management and Compliance at Lipscomb University; Sue Liden, a recent director of Risk Services at Pacific Lutheran University and now the education manager for URMIA; and Gary Langdale, retired from the Pennsylvania State University, retired from URMIA as the education manager, and now retired from retiring. So, thanks everyone. The core competency, can you give us an overview of what it is and what our members should expect from it?
Gary Langsdale: Well, I'll, I'll start with that one. Craig, it's a pleasure to be here and it has been an absolute pleasure to work with everyone to put together the updated version of the core competencies document. What this is a resource for our members to know what they don't know. To give them guidance about what would be helpful in their careers and not just their careers. It is pretty much, when you say competency, you say, these are what we expect risk managers in higher education to know and understand so that they can better serve their institution. So, it is a document that's divided into four sets of competencies, technical skills, strategic management, inclusive leadership, and organizational engagement that are designed to explain in a way that both the risk managers and perhaps their bosses can understand well, these are the things that one would be expected to know. It should be useful to the members, to both the risk managers and to the affiliates to better understand what's going on on campus, but what they need to know to help their campuses be successful from a risk management perspective. So that's, you can't see it on the audio podcast, but I'm holding up a very dogeared copy of the original document that was put together a number of years ago, and we will now have an even better version that's about to be published any second here.
McAllister: So, Gary, other than the paper copy in your hands, where can people get this document?
Gary Langsdale: Well, of course it's in the URMIA library, but you can also find it off of the main webpage. On the URMIA webpage, one of the main tabs is professional development, and if you open that tab, you will see core competencies right there so that our members can find it very easily.
Craig McAllister: Thanks Gary. I understand that the original document was published in 2017. What's new for 2023?
Gary Langsdale: Well, what's new is we've updated it in a way to make it a little more user friendly. It is still, the competencies haven't changed all that much, but what we've done is we've enhanced the readability. We've added a couple of things here and there. We have, instead of having four competencies, we now call them competency sets because if you dig down into the details of the document, you get into sub-competencies and sub-competencies. So, we've made that just a little easier to navigate and called them competency sets. We've added, particularly in the inclusive leadership competency set, we've added more information about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in competency set for the organizational engagement, which for me was always the most important. Who do I need to talk to on campus? That was in my career, most important, it's not the risk manager who manages the risk. We've added a couple of other operations. That should be considerations for the risk manager in wandering around to understand better what's going on.
We've also completely revamped the resources at the end of each set of competencies in the original version. Listed some documents that people could use. Well, that was then, this is now documents aren't documents anymore. What we've done is we've gone to dynamic links to sets of resources, some in the URMIA library, others where we've found good material elsewhere so that people can link straight from the electronic version to the resources that might help them further understand the details of a particular item or issue. So, those are the main updates that we've made. A little bit of editorial change here and there, but it is now I think a more user-friendly document. And oh, by the way, it goes into great detail throughout the document about what is expected of a beginner, someone who is just learning risk manage. Someone who's at the intermediate level, someone who is further along in their career, who is now an advanced risk manager, so that people can determine where they should start because it could be overwhelming if you just tried to get a drink of water out of the fire hose overall.
Craig McAllister: Thank you, Gary. Kathy, or Sue, can you talk about how you've used the core competency document in your own career? Or how about for others you've worked with?
Kathy Hargis: Sure. Craig, this is Kathy. Thanks for, uh, having me today. And I wanted to start by kind of adding a little bit to what Gary said is that, you know, this was one of the things that I worked on a lot, it seems like so long ago now, back in 2016, during my reign as president was one of the big things that initiatives that we were able to put together and it was a great team effort and I think it was at that time, you know, really something that we were looking to tie really to our educational practice. I mean our, what we were going to be using this for had multiple types of benefits I think for our membership. But you know, some of the big things that, you know, that I have used it for and others that I know is really, you know, when you're working with new hires or creating even job positions, you know, within your organization. One of the neat things that over, you know, these last seven or eight years as risk management has continued to evolve and change. I think things like this have become even more important as we have a lot of new people who are just getting into the higher education risk management field. I think this document is important kind of as a roadmap for them to kind of see as we go along, you know, what are the beginner level things that I need to have if I want to in my career to be a chief risk officer at some point. What skillsets, what things do I need to be working on personally to go from, you know, where I am now, to where I want to be?
And I, I do look at this as a good guide and a roadmap. For that. I think that Gary mentioned one of the big things too is to provide this hopefully to your, you know, your upline. They need to know kind of that what the skills are, what you can bring to the table. I think that there's some definite an asset for risk managers to be able to show that to their bosses and their boss’ boss. So to speak. It has helped us really on interview questions, you know, what kind of, kind of things to help ask, you know, taking some things from that to be able, when we're talking to new people, and then also, you know, just helping with our folks in our departments to be able to, you know, have professional development. How that works into this plan. And what they really need to be working on is they pursue, hopefully, their dream of being in higher education, risk management, but also to be a big asset to each of our, you know, individual institutions. You know, as we kind of grow and work on all the new risk and things that keep coming down the pike for us as this document and all that we've worked on here as the revisions, we've seen a lot of changes, things keep changing and developing, and I'm sure six years from now there'll be more changes. So that's kind of how we have used it. And I'm sure there's a million of other things, but just some of the assets that it's brought for me and people that I have known, Craig.
Craig McAllister: Well, thank you, Kathy. I know this is a document that I've given to everyone who joins my team through the years. It's been very good starting point for them to understand, you know, a pathway within the risk management field, specifically in higher education. Sue, this is a big document. When looking at it for the first time, where should a person start?
Sue Liden: Well, as Maria told the Von Trapp children, let's start at the beginning because it's a very good place to start and that's always a good place to start. There's an intro to how the core competency document works and then start looking, skimming through. If you identify areas of where you need additional professional development, there's resources listed at the end that you can go to.
You can also go to URMIA’s Education Plan. Which it can be found under the professional development tab on the URMIA website, and we provide links to presentations, white papers, article, inside articles, et cetera that might cover those, um, that professional development tiering we need. We also use our core competency meant to set up our professional development at our programming for our URMIA Conferences, the annual and the regional, and for webinars and other educational podcasts we have. So, we've got those resources and if you have any questions, just send me an email, or ask Lou, and he'll provide guidance on where to find information.
Craig McAllister: That's great. Is there anything else you'd like to share about the new and improved core competencies?
Gary Langsdale: Well, I think the key is that this is continuity. This is the same, the mission of having a set of core competencies, which is unique. It hasn't changed. It is to give guidance. It is to point out, as Donald Rumsfeld, there are things I don't know that I don't know, and this is designed to help people to figure out what it is that they ought to start thinking about. So, I think it is useful regardless of where you are in your career, beginner, intermediate, or advanced, or you know, those of us with whiter hair, it still gives guidance and it's a great refresher to people about, oh yeah, I do that. Or, oh, that's an area I haven't looked at in a while. So, it is not just for the newbies, it can be useful to everyone to understand where they are and make sure that they're not missing something on their campus.
Kathy Hargis: And Craig, to Gary's point on that, I would just say working on the original and then working on the new and improved version. You know, I think everything, for the most part, we kept the same, but as I said earlier, there were went back and revisited this document. You know, there were a lot of new things that really had changed and been really added on, I think, to the risk manager's plate between 2016 and 2023. And so, we tried to make it more of a holistic, you know, up to date, adding those things in that were a little different and kind of bringing it into today's time, I think. But to Gary's point, it, it's a lot of the same, but just with a little bit more.
Craig McAllister: Thank you, Kathy.
Gary Langsdale: Hey, Craig. I also want to give a shout out to everyone who worked on the update of this. It includes you, Craig, thank you for your work on it, but also to Barb Davey at Notre Dame, Jean Demchak at Marsh, Kathy Hargis, of course, Keswick Joiner from the Minnesota State Colleges, Margaret Tungseth at Loras College, and Nakeschi Watkins at Cornell, and Julie Grove at Wake Forest. All of them contributed mightily to this document and made it what it is today. So, I wanna make sure that they get recognition for the work that they've done.
Craig McAllister: Well, certainly with the strength of our volunteers and our members in the home office, um, really able to get, you know, large projects like this done and updated and a great benefit for our members. So thank you again to everybody that did work on this, and thank you for joining us today. This closes out another episode of URMIA matters, and I'd like to thank Kathy, Sue, and Gary for spending some time with us today, so thanks a lot, folks.
Kathy Hargis: Thank you, Craig.