How Faculty Can Infuse Career Development Into the Classroom

Faculty Career Champions at DU have helped students in their career development journeys in so many ways. We asked one of the 2018 faculty champions, Jessica Reinhardt, to share some successful tips for infusing career into the classroom that can be useful in any course.

Tip #1: Commit to Career from the start. Add a Student Learning Objective to your syllabus that includes career readiness or career growth. By naming this as an objective, students see the commitment. Next, name which assignments, readings and activities align with the career readiness objective. By highlighting aspects of the course which are aligned to career, students again see the commitment and connect course work to career. For example, add a reflection to an assignment such as: What job do you hope to have when you graduate? How did this assignment contribute to your growth as a professional?

Tip #2: Include assignments that simulate real career scenarios. For example, when students present in class (either individual or group) have them present to an audience which matches future professional audiences…as the professor take on the role of that audience and ask students follow-up questions within that role, then provide feedback on how they responded to that audience. You may allow students to select the audience which aligns with their future career.

For more advanced classes or those within a specific degree, give students a list possible audiences ahead of the presentation. In class, students pick the audience out of a hat and must shift their presentation to that audience in the moment. In doing so, you are preparing your students for two skills which are valuable in most professions: 1) flexibility 2) messaging: content and facts are constant, yet presentation style varies based on audience.  A specific example from the Morgridge College of Education: On a number of assignments, I may include the following audiences: parents of a child with learning challenges, a teacher in the school, an administrator in the school, a group of school-aged children, district level administration.

Tip #3: Reach out and utilize the amazing resources on campus! Invite one of our career advisors to join your classes and speak with  Careers@DU and the Office of Teaching and Learning regarding course design goals.

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By Jane Kolb
Jane Kolb Career & Professional Development