March 31, 2022
Reimagining Career Services
Three university leaders on creative strategies for developing student career readiness
Today's college students expect to graduate with job skills and a roadmap to a successful career. Kaplan Career Core, an innovative shared model for career services launched last year in partnership with Wake Forest University, was designed to help students get there.
Andy Chan, vice president of innovation and career development at Wake Forest, recently moderated a discussion about career readiness hosted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers and featuring three of Kaplan Career Core's founding members: Abra McAndrew, vice president of student engagement at the University of Arizona; Kerry Fulcher, provost and chief academic officer at Point Loma Nazarene University; and Tom Ward, assistant vice president for career development and strategic partnerships at Adelphi University. The following is excerpted from the hour-long discussion.
What challenges do universities face in developing student career readiness?
Ward: One of the biggest challenges we've seen at Adelphi is making sure our career readiness program reaches all of our students, whether they're preparing to be accountants or professional dancers. How do we scale, how do we do it when budgets are being restricted now, and how do we connect with students on their terms? A related challenge, and one we're also working to address, is tailoring our services to meet the diverse needs of individual students. Working with external partners is one strategy that has helped us scale our professional development efforts.
How can universities counter the view that a college degree isn't worth the time and money?
McAndrew: It’s about providing students with something that meets them where they are in terms of their time and attention and capacity; integrating knowledge and learning pathways and having these experiences enhance their resume in ways that are truly aligned with career goals. At the University of Arizona, we're trying to make sure that every student is being challenged inside and outside the classroom. To that end, we're embedding resume-enhancing experiential learning in the curriculum for as many students as possible, and we measure the number of students who have participated in experiential learning in a dashboard available to the whole campus.
How can universities make career development part of the academic process?
Fulcher: At Point Loma Nazarene, our career services used to consist of transactional one-on-one meetings with students. Now, we're trying to embed career readiness within the curriculum, and we're helping faculty translate the language of academia into the language of employability. Career services is also partnering with academic programs to create "major maps" that detail the many job opportunities that different majors prepare students for.
View the entire discussion
*Excerpted from a March 21, 2022 NACE panel discussion, "Transforming Career Services from a Department to a Strategy"
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