NACS College Store Competency Model

Professionals in the higher education retail industry are unique. Different levels of skills, various interests, and individual professional goals create specific learning needs for each person. To support individual goals for professional development, NACS has created the NACS College Store Competency Model.


You can use the Competency Model as a tool in coaching, benchmarking performance, and targeting areas to focus upon.
Simply print a copy of the model and mark (or have your employee mark) those knowledge areas, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that have been mastered. Those KSAs not marked at the completion of this self-assessment are a good place to start in developing a professional development plan.
The complete list of tasks on the model might look overwhelming. But you can start slowly by using just one section (or domain) of the model, if you like.
The Competency Domains
Core competencies are those most critical, usually cross-functional, skills and practices that underlie and enable overall effectiveness within the industry. The competency domains are used to identify, organize, and communicate the knowledge and skills needed to exercise a comprehensive understanding of the industry. NACS programs and related resources are benchmarked on the competency areas to ensure that educational programs offer the scope of opportunities necessary within the industry.
Includes bookstore operating cycles, financial management, receiving, warehouse, loss prevention, and systems solutions. Glossary of Terms (PDF)
Includes the textbook planning cycle, textbook floor layout, communications and budget issues specific to course materials, copyright, new/used textbooks, projected sales analysis for course materials, ethical/legal considerations, digital content delivery, sell-through, custom publishing, reservations, buyback, and online textbook sales.
Glossary of Terms (PDF)Glossary of Terms for Digital Content (PDF), Glossary of Terms for E-learning (PDF)
Includes topics and skills related to attaining professional success, building quality work teams, hiring and managing performance, and the human resources functions. Glossary of Terms (PDF)
Includes marketing strategy and plan development, marketing vehicles, public relations, campus relations, campus contact communications, campus-wide partnerships, and sales and promotions. Glossary of Terms (PDF)
Includes general history of retail, retail planning, customer service, retail selling, product categories, inventory control and management, visual merchandising, promotion, advertising, and retail services and technologies.
Glossary of Terms (PDF)
Includes topics and skills related to three key areas: vision and mission; building procedures, policies, and practices; and creating and leading cultures. Glossary of Terms (PDF)
Experience Levels
The model's structure also addresses the experience level of participants on a given topic. The experience level refers to the amount of knowledge or application a person has relevant to a specific topic or skill-set—regardless of how long you've been a professional in the industry.

Threshold Education
provides the understanding and skills needed to effectively address a newly introduced area of operation or competency. Example: ISBNs in General Books or "Fair Use" in Copyright.
Intermediate Education provides opportunities to gain new ideas, enhance skills with cutting edge techniques, and remain current as the industry flexes in response to the market. This level of education also directly addresses personal growth and continuous enhancement of the soft skills necessary to manage and lead in the higher education retailing industry. Example: Effective practices in managing relationships with faculty and libraries regarding "Fair Use."
Advanced Education offers seasoned collegiate retailers skills and resources to address organization challenges such as visioning, strategic planning, goal setting, and exemplary practice identification. Example: Tracking changes in copyright law and interpreting the impact on the business model and outcomes for college stores.


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