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  • Career Readiness Competencies Are Foundation of Freshman Seminar Activity

    January 13, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    Best Practices
    Freshmen take in a seminar about career readiness.

    TAGS: competencies, program development, nace insights

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals

    For the fall semester, Pam Folger used NACE's Career Readiness Competencies in an activity for her freshman seminar class to help them be strategic and intentional about their career development.

    "We always tell students that their career development and planning for a life after graduation begins on day one of their college experience," says Folger, director of Millikin University's career center. "It is a process, and students need to be aware of options and make conscious choices."

    She says students in her freshman seminar class respond well to hands-on activities during which they get to contribute and discuss topics that relate to their success.

    To spark this kind of learning experience using the competencies, Folger wrote each competency on the board and the class discussed their definitions. Students then broke into groups that had two competencies to discuss and list how they could develop these skills in their curricular or co-curricular Millikin experience.

    "They came up with great ideas—specific courses, various student organizations, campus leadership roles, internships, jobs, study abroad, service learning, paraprofessional roles, campus resources, sports, and more," Folger explains. "It really got them interacting and discussing with one another."

    They also went beyond what was expected with their responses, she notes.

    For example, the group considering the competency addressing professionalism did talk about gaining this through campus jobs and internships, but also discussed the importance of students managing their personal brands both online and in person. They also identified the classroom as a professional environment and made recommendations that included dressing up for classroom presentations—their own or otherwise.

    After the groups presented their competencies to the class and discussed their ideas, each student wrote a goal for where he or she would start to work on developing the competencies.

    "Students said they appreciated knowing what would be expected of them in their professional careers," Folger says, who plans to send the list to those teaching senior capstone in the spring in hopes that they will include it in their course in some way.

    There are other potential uses. A recent meeting of the Millikin career center's employer advisory board produced one: a checklist of each competency for students and advisers to use on advising day, with the intention that they would have a meaningful discussion of the competencies and set specific goals for developing each.

    Folger adds that she is working to document the specific ways students can develop the competencies.

    "Ideally, I'd love to be able to 'tag' various events and programs on campus with the specific competencies they develop so, as we build awareness of the competencies, students can seek out events, programs, and groups to intentionally work on the competencies," she says. "We do evaluations of these events and programs, and students are able to check off the learning outcomes they achieved, so we will add the competencies as options to check off."