Partnering with Faculty to Develop Students’ Career Readiness Skills

University Students and Faculty | The Metropolitan Museum of ArtLast summer,  College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS) faculty chairs, Andrea Stanton (Chair-Religious Studies) and Rachel Walsh (Chair-Languages, Literatures, and Cultures) received an internal grant to fund a career and professional development faculty training program on course and classroom integration that is currently being implemented this academic year.  This Classroom to Careers project connects CAHSS with national higher-education efforts to highlight career-relevant competencies in undergraduate courses, like the annual Competency Symposium faculty panel suggests. The goal is to bring to the forefront the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) career readiness competencies that students develop in arts and humanities majors, helping faculty and students to better understand those competencies and articulate them to future employers.  The first phase of this training initiative focused on training and course integration of career readiness competencies.  The second phase of this initiative will focus on helping AH students find summer internships, and enabling faculty who participate in this pilot training to become mentors to future CAHSS faculty who integrate career readiness into their curriculum.  The goal is to empower faculty to see what already exists regarding career development and with minor reframing of their syllabi to reflect this.

Partnering with Virginia Pitts in the Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL) and Career & Professional Development (CPD) advisors Carolyn Sommers and Rita O’Connell, a pilot cohort of 12 Arts and Humanities (AH) faculty attended two different interactive training sessions.  OTL and CPD led interactive workshops to help faculty learn how to frame career readiness within their existing course assignments and in-class activities. After the trainings, the faculty will add one CPD-led session to their course by the end of the current academic year.

The career advising team provided an overview of the NACE Career Readiness Competencies and prompted faculty to examine overlaps in their syllabi and what students learn in the classroom that could foster growth of career readiness skills.  The participants did a deep dive into the learning objectives, assignments and projects that reinforced these skills. They also brainstormed as a group on ways to enhance their department websites by highlighting ways students are currently learning career readiness skills in the AH majors and for perspective students to see.  Current students will also increase their awareness and understand the importance of creating their own 4D Experience and fulfilling their Careers & Lives of Purpose dimension.  OTL provided guidance on translating courses and content knowledge to reflect the career competencies with small tweaks such as reflection exercises to help students become more aware of these critical career readiness skills.

According to Andrea Stanton, “faculty participants built equity in their courses by providing students the ability to understand and articulate how their courses directly support them in developing career-related competencies. This preparation is vital to student persistence and job placement after graduation – especially for first-generation and minoritized students. In addition, faculty will reframe their courses in a competency context, enabling them to best articulate the value of arts and humanities in the 21st-century. Participating faculty and their programs will benefit from understanding the connections between competency work, current research on learning (metacognition), and current research on equity in the classroom. This initiative provides an opportunity for programs to keep abreast of contemporary trends in higher education and help students recognize the value of AH degree when interacting with employers.”

If your department would like to attend a similar OTL and CPD led training to learn how to easily integrate career readiness competencies into your courses, please contact Career & Professional Development to learn more.

By Jane Kolb
Jane Kolb Career & Professional Development