What are competencies?

Competencies are the knowledge, values, abilities, or behaviors that will help you be successful in your career. At Iowa, we focus on developing eleven key competencies.  Explore below to learn how to engage with these competencies on campus and improve your skills.

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Detecting patterns and trends across multiple sources of information.

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Identifying a variety of potential solutions to a problem and determining the best possible course of action to solve the problem.

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Seeking opportunities to better oneself both personally and professionally.

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Productive Relationships

Developing relationships with others that are healthy, trusting, and respectful.

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Working with others toward a common objective by sharing ideas and distributing responsibilities equitably across team members.

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Group Development

Helping team members develop a shared sense of purpose, commitment, and trust.

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Having interactions with people of different backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences.

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Verbal Communication

Verbally communicating clearly and concisely.

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Expressing thoughts in writing in a manner that is clear, logical, and understandable.

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Creating goals that are measurable and have timetables for completion.

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Behaving in an ethical manner and adhering to established code of ethics.


After you have become involved, come back to this page to consider these self-reflection questions. These questions will help you consider what you have learned and how you can apply it in the future. 


  • What is a competency you have developed as a result of this experience? 
  • How did you use [competency] during this experience?  
  • What abilities did you need to leverage this competency during this experience?
  • What knowledge did you gain around [competency]?
  • How would you describe [competency] on your resume or during a job interview? 
  • What internal motivation do you have to further engage with [competency]?