Book Reviews

Book by James P.Sampson, Jr
Review by Wendie Phillips
Information School
University of Washington


How much easier would any project be with a detailed blue print for completing the task? James P. Sampson has provided such a guide in his handbook. Designed as a manual on how to implement or re-design career development services, it is a good resource for managers with limited experience or background in career development who are charged with overseeing or developing a career services program. The book is intended as a step-by-step plan although readers can pull portions of the book to use as desired. Sampson even includes a chapter with suggestions on how to adapt the information in the handbook to address specific needs. 

A nice blend of theoretical overviews and practical applications, the book is easily accessed as a reference guide. Each chapter begins with an outline of what is discussed, and sections in the chapters are clearly labeled. This allows for easy skimming, which is good as for seasoned professionals who may find some topics very basic (e.g., the suggestions on signage or creating handouts). Readers can skip those sections and move on to more relevant information.

The content covers design and delivery of career services, identifying and creating career resources, evaluation of the plan, and implementation. These topics are very helpful for career center managers, but academic advisors will find useful tools as well. One of the most valuable components of this book is the planning framework it outlines. While the examples given are specifically for developing career services, the models presented and steps taken are adaptable to a variety of settings including an advising center. 

One of the key concepts that advisors might apply in their work is the cognitive information processing (CIP) approach to problem solving and decision making. CIP helps individuals understand the content and process of their decision making. It looks at two models: the pyramid of information which defines what an individual needs to know in order to make a decision and the CASVE cycle, which defines what a person needs to do in order to make a decision. With slight modification, advisors can use these models in their individual advising with students, such as working with a student in selecting a major, or in developing a large scale project. 

Another tool useful for advisors is the eight stage implementation model. The implementation plan focuses on managing the process of change in any organization, while being proactive in anticipating and planning for problems which may arise.

Advisors interested in blending career counseling techniques with their academic advising may find some of the materials in the appendices helpful. Specifically, the Individual Learning Plan worksheet is a structured technique to move students forward in the decision making process. An electronic copy of the worksheet is included on the CD-ROM which accompanies the book.

Advisors fortunate enough to have appropriate and targeted career resources available will not need this book. However, individuals or groups charged with redesigning or creating a career advising program will find this a handy blueprint to accomplishing such a task.


Designing and Implementing Career Programs: A Handbook for Effective Practice. (2008). Book by James P.Sampson, Jr., Ph.D. Review by Wendie Phillips. Broken Arrow, OK: National Career Development Association, 119 pp. ISBN # 978-1-885333-21-6
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |