Future educators go global at first-time job fair
By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau
There is a world of possibilities for students looking to make an impact on future generations, and that world just got a little bit closer to home at Grand Canyon University’s first international job fair on Tuesday.
GCU partnered with the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) to bring 26 schools and eight organizations from 28 countries to campus and get aspiring educators and service-driven students connected with international employers. Although it’s only in its first official year on campus, GCU’s Senior Vice President of K12 Educational Development, Dr. Tacy Ashby, and ACSI both believe it’s off to a strong start.
“We anticipate that it’s really going to grow,” Ashby said. “We are very excited about our relationship with ACSI.”
It is an opportunity that steps outside of the box of what a traditional job fair at GCU looks like, and Ashby said that’s what makes it exciting.
“We have a variety of job fairs and career fairs, but mostly they’re local and national. This is opening up the door in a large way to the number of professions in that international sphere,” she said. “The College of Education is really excited about this because it affords incredible ministry opportunities while allowing their students the opportunity to serve in Christian schools abroad.”
In addition to the K12 Development department, the ASCI job fair would not have been possible without the contributions of multiple other campus departments.
“This event is such a great example of the strong collaboration which exists between both GCU and GCE,” said Aysha Bell, Program Manager within the Strategic Employer Initiatives & Internships department. “SEI has worked alongside with K12 Development, Event Services, GCE (Marketing and Admissions), COE (and all the colleges), ACE, CCSC and many more to bring this event to fruition. The goal of what we all work toward is to contribute to the success of our Lopes.”
Tim Shuman, ACSI’s Regional Director for International Schools, and his team set up several international job fairs with their represented schools on Christian college campuses throughout the country and decided to come to GCU after a meeting with University President Brian Mueller.
“This goes back about two years ago, when Brian Mueller came to ACSI headquarters, and I remember they were looking for ways ACSI and GCU could connect,” Shuman recalled. “We talked about what GCU could do for international schools, and the idea was that we need a world-class job fair.”
Dr. Dan Egeler, GCU’s Vice President of CCSC Outreach and ACSI’s former president, also remembers the beginning of ACSI’s partnership with GCU and has enjoyed watching it play out.
“It’s really exciting to see an idea come to fruition, to have all these schools represented on Grand Canyon’s campus,” Egeler said.
Egeler is traveling in Asia, introducing GCU to people there.
“Three of the schools that have representatives there (at the job fair), I saw them here in Asia before they went to Grand Canyon,” Egeler said. “They were just very excited about getting the opportunity to see Grand Canyon for the very first time. Most folks here in the international context have no idea who Grand Canyon is, and when they hear GCU’s story they’re just absolutely thrilled to be a part of it.”
ACSI has been putting on job fairs for the past two decades and normally shuffles which universities to stop at year to year. But after ACSI officials learned more about GCU, they decided to make it an annual stop.
“We move around the country all the time and we wanted to stabilize that — we wanted to get some anchor points,” Shuman said. “GCU, as it’s up and coming, it being a Christian school, we wanted to be at a school that had a large College of Education.”
Although the employers are largely looking for graduates to fill educational positions, Shuman said there are needs in other areas as well. He describes his recruiting schools as communities and said the employer schools could have positions to fill in many other areas, including IT, counseling, administration and nursing.
The visiting schools work with students ranging from pre-K to 12th grade and will offer students around the world access to Christian educations.
“These are schools that are set up to provide an English, Western-style, American-style education,” Shuman said. “You’ve got Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia is here, so it’s a chance to move into God’s calling in your life to teach young people your subject area, your specialty — do that in a Christian way and have a bigger impact because these kids are going to be the next world-changers in their own nation and perhaps other places in the world.”
ACSI has postings for more than 700 positions around the world, and start dates can range from as soon as possible to 2022.
One of the employers recruiting on campus came from the Christian International School of Prague in the Czech Republic. Abbey Flaherty, the school’s recruiter, was impressed by some of the qualifications she heard from GCU students who stopped at her table.
“One young lady I talked to, she had a ton of experience. Her mom is a teacher and so I think that’s helpful, but she’s just spent a lot of time volunteering and just spending time in local schools,” she said. “It’s almost like you already have a lot of experience when you come into it, so you’re not so surprised when you step into a classroom.
“I’ve talked to some students who know what they want to do, which is great, but also ones that aren’t quite sure, but they’re just interested in exploring their options. I think it’s been interesting to talk to them and kind of expand. It’s not just education majors that are stopping by, which is great because there are lots of opportunities at our school where you don’t necessarily have to have an education background. If you are studying a specific field, we can train you to teach or have a staff position rather than a teaching position.”
It was Flaherty’s first visit to GCU, and it excited her about coming back next year.
“I think all the schools and organizations represented are really excited to be here and glad that… there will be at least one more and hopefully more in the future,” she said.
For students who were unable to attend the international job fair, Shuman said they still can see what’s available and connect with international employers from the Guidebook App under International School Job Fair 2019.
Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or firstname.lastname@example.org