Kelvin Rutledge is currently the Director of Experiential Programs for the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at The University of Georgia and a third-year Ph.D. student in the higher education program at Florida State University. As an avid lemonade drinker and TGIT live tweeter, Kelvin enjoys finding the sweet intersections of life through interaction, conversations, and dialogue and seeks to find opportunities where career services and social justice intersect. Kelvin ultimately aspires to be a change agent in higher education and contribute to the field of student affairs through scholarship and research. Find him on Twitter @MrAbsoluteZero.
How did you get into the Career Services profession?
I started my career in the career services profession by becoming a Graduate Assistant in the FSU Career Center while enrolled in my masters program. I was fortunate to have an assistantship that allowed me to do career advising, experiential learning, employer relations, assessment, and student outreach and engagement.
Describe your SoACE Experience. How did you get involved, what do you do for SoACE, and how has that experience influenced your day-to-day work?
My SoACE experience has always been meaningful and beneficial. I first engaged with SoACE when I decided to submit a program proposal for the 2013 annual conference and it was accepted. From there, I was able to present, join the Diversity and Inclusion committee, and become a member of knowledge groups. From my volunteer activities, I was able to facilitate programs and presentations, engage at the annual conference, and widen my professional network. Most recently, I was able to step in and finish out a term as the Director of Diversity & Inclusion. I would say the biggest thread running through my SoACE experience has been the willingness to find a meaningful fit for me within the association and finding ways to leverage it. Due to that, I’ve been able to maximize the value of membership.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I recently attended the ACPA—College Student Educators International Mid-Mangers Institute. A faculty member shared with me the following piece of advice: “Trust your brilliance because it’s lighting a candle you are afraid to lead with at the moment.”
What is your favorite quote?
“The place in which I’ll fit will not exist until I make it. …You have to decide who you are and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you.” ~James Baldwin
What has been your greatest accomplishment to date?
My greatest accomplishment to date has been being selected to be the Career Development & Advancement Chair for the 2019 ACPA Annual Convention. With this role, I will help lead and cultivate an experience where professionals critically reflect and engage in how we discuss and forecast the future of career advancement for higher education professionals. I’m excited to incorporate the association’s strategic imperative on racial justice and decolonization into how the future of this work can and should be facilitated across identities, institutions, and the profession as a whole.
What is the secret of your career success?
A good portion of my career success has been rooted in the idea of utilizing an interdisciplinary perspective in how I approach the work of career services and higher education. While yes, I do think it it is important to ground our professional practice and the practices and standards of organizations like NACE and NCDA, I think it is also important to incorporate additional frameworks. My professional practice is informed by works and perspectives featured in queer theory, post-colonial feminism, and critical race theory. Because of these lenses, I think differently about how I see myself engaging in the work and bring a voice not necessarily featured in most spaces. I think career success can occur when you are able to challenge the current ideology, systems, and institutions and re-frame them to produce new ways of thinking and innovation.