Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
In January, the Temple University Career Center held an event to illustrate for faculty who teach general education (GenEd) courses at Temple the connection between skills learned in the classroom and critical career readiness competencies.
The career center partnered with the associate director of general education to hold “Connecting Career Readiness to the GenEd Classroom.”
GenEd constitutes the required curriculum for all Temple undergraduate students, and consists of 11 courses across nine broad areas of inquiry. The program is designed to develop competencies such as critical thinking, information literacy and quantitative reasoning. Many of the GenEd competencies overlap with the career readiness competencies identified by NACE.
“The objective of the event was to establish a cross-functional understanding of the value of the GenEd/NACE competencies in the workplace, and how students build these competencies in the classroom,” says Rosalie Shemmer, senior director, Temple University Career Center.
Hosts of the event facilitated small-group discussions between instructors and employers to identify points of convergence between GenEd learning goals and career readiness competencies.
Thirty faculty and eight employers attended the three-hour event. The career center worked through its employer advisory board to identify employers to invite to participate. Together, they sought organizations that recruit students at three or more of Temple’s schools and colleges.
“We also made sure all industry clusters were represented,” Shemmer adds. “When we pull together an event like this, we’re fortunate because we have a lot of willing employer partners. But, when holding an event around career readiness, it’s also important to find faculty partners since the idea of career readiness is closely linked to GenEd coursework.”
During “Connecting Career Readiness to the GenEd Classroom,” five tables were set up, each with a topic based on the following career readiness competencies:
- Critical thinking/problem solving;
- Oral/written communications;
- Teamwork and collaboration;
- Professionalism/work ethic competency; and
- Global/intercultural fluency.
The event began with an introduction that covered the cross-section of general education skills and career readiness competencies. Employers were stationed at tables based on their area of interest. There were three 45-minute rotations. Faculty rotated based on their areas of interest. In closing, the group shared high points of their discussions.
“Faculty appreciated that the workshop emphasized how the various GenEd courses foster skills pertinent not only to academic study, but to employment,” Shemmer says. “They commented that as a result of the event, they learned that these competencies are nearly as important as the hard skills learned for the specialty, and they set you apart from co-workers at evaluation time.”
Meanwhile, employers also encouraged faculty to emphasize to their students that general education requirements and students’ success in class is as important to organizations as major requirements because employers are looking for students who are well rounded.
“I think the moment that had the greatest impact was when a representative from a large, national employer said the company is more interested in a students’ cumulative GPA than in students’ major GPA to demonstrate a broad education,” Shemmer notes.