Structural changes help to embed career preparation into academic work (Opinion)

What do undergraduates want from professors? I found the students’ response to this question from a survey conducted by Inside higher ed And College Pulse is both compelling and well-known that the top three answers all deal with the prospect of recruitment. When asked what kind of guidance they wanted outside of the core work of teaching their course materials, the highest percentage (57 percent) of respondents in the Student Voice survey said they wanted professors to introduce them to people who worked in their area of ​​interest. This is closely followed by professors seeking advice on choosing a professional direction (54 percent) and then 47 percent seeking help to land on their first internship or job.

As a provost at Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU), where I am overseeing a radical review of our career service activities, these results only emphasize the need to rethink how we serve students. I look forward to meeting students’ aspirations for authentic, focused career counseling where faculty play a central role.

We already know from the CIRP College Freshman survey of the Higher Education Research Group at the University of California, Los Angeles, that 85 percent of students across the country say that getting a job is the main reason for their decision to go to college. Two-thirds place financial security as their top motivation for pursuing a degree. Half of the demands that students expect the college to provide are career-related. And not surprisingly, Inside higher ed/ The College Pulse survey, conducted in support of Kaplan, provides new evidence that students expect their faculty to be actively involved in helping them reach this goal.

A combination of program reviews, staff turnover, and other one-time factors has given my organization ছোট a small, private, faith-based liberal arts university in Southern California একটি a unique opportunity to show how our higher ad can better cope with the smaller corners of the world. Expectations of students. We are more focused on career preparation for what we do inside and outside the classroom.

If the equity of student access to career service functions is one of our commitments, it may not be a clearer way to communicate it to all concerned than to be among academics.

Our students, especially our first generation students — and their parents have been telling us for some time that they need a college education for an incredible return on investment. This means that the degree we offer is needed to develop our career preparation skills and to offer students a clear path to employment. We started doing just that, using a mix of organizational restructuring, faculty development, and individual programmatic reforms.

The steps we have taken

On the front of the organization, for practical and symbolic reasons, we have created a structure where the effectiveness of career services has gone from student life to academics, now being reported to me as a provost. If the equity of student access to career service functions is one of our commitments, it may not be a clearer way to communicate it to all concerned than to be among academics.

This transfer shows that carrier services are not a thought or optional add-on and are not part of the student experience laundry list. Rather, by embedding it among academics, it becomes an integral part of what we do, influencing our role as faculty and for me as a provost.

This sounds pretty good on paper, but how do we make this promise a reality?

First, we have made an immediate staff change by completely redesigning our career service stuffing model. We’ve moved away from the “career coach” approach where a few careers have worked one after the other with a small number of specialist students. Personal attention was great, but a separate, transactional model is not measurable, especially with a combination of five different campus locations and face-to-face, online and hybrid learning approaches. We need a way to reach out to all our students and meet their wide range of professional interests.

So we hired a small team of versatile program managers, often not from a traditional career service background. They may share their own career stories, such as a counselor’s job running an enterprise car rental franchise, working in a CrossFit fitness studio, and working in a nonprofit world while earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology. These program managers also make connections outside of their own skills, such as organizing group career discussions or connecting students working across academic departments with faculties in a variety of fields from whom they seek advice and career connections.

Also, we are concentrating with the leaders of our academic unit to embed career preparation in each of the academic heads on campus. Central to the initiative is a “master map” created by academic program leaders in partnership with career service workers. The resulting document / graphic shows that any career-preparation skills develop into a given major and what kind of assortment our alumni have taken on a career path.

These key maps are vital for students, but they are also extremely popular with parents during the admission and enrollment process.

For example, just knowing that PLNU has created a recruitment partnership where San Diego-rich biotech visual firms will consider hiring our science graduates to reassure parents that we see our responsibility extends from core educators to careers. Entering a biotech company is the first step for our science graduates, as all of these companies require graduates with training in areas such as accounting, marketing, PR, HR, writing and communication. Thus partnerships within a specific industry sector not only pave the way for graduates with majors that are directly connected to the core thrust of the sector (e.g., biotech), but they also pave the way for graduates who have studied various other disciplines that may not be. , At first, seems to be directly related.

Another element of redesigning our career services is our investment as a designing partner with Kaplan’s Career Core Services. A pioneer at Wake Forest University, this evolving model has two components:

Read more from faculty student opinion polls with ideas on how students and professors can build stronger connections at Student Voice News Hub.

  1. A series of asynchronous online learning journeys provides students with exposure to a wide range of career prospects.
  2. Undergraduates drill on specific interests by participating in synchronous online group coaching sessions with industry-specific leaders.

We hope that with our small staff and a modest budget, this partnership will allow us to offer career services of an opportunity and scale that would not otherwise be possible. While we’re still at the beginning of our transition, I’m hopeful that Carrier Core’s innovative shared service model will be a game changer not only for PLNU, but for other organizations as well.

I certainly wouldn’t claim that these massive changes were easy. In the diverse context of the academy, there are inevitably some pushbacks from those who need to further emphasize that career preparation does not interfere with our academic mission — and that it is a valuable component of PLNU’s success. But I am convinced that this kind of creative rethinking, together with an energy factor provided by something like our partnership, serves students much more effectively than substituting. This makes our small organization a highly competitive, and not always predictable, position for more success in the admissions and enrollment landscape.

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