The college experience is meant to shape, guide and prepare students for success after graduation. As important as what’s learned in class is how students apply that knowledge outside class.
“For students to be successful in the long term, it’s not just a degree alone. Employers are looking for motivated, well-rounded students who can apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to real-world experiences,” said Paul Atchley, professor of psychology.
Internship and volunteer experiences are becoming increasingly important as students move into full-time careers. In fact, 66 percent of employers believe interview performance and relevant work experience are the most important factors in their hiring decisions and 91 percent of employers think students should have at least one or two internships before they graduate. (Progressive Business Publications)
Atchley and many other professors in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences are taking advantage of resources at KU to help students plan for their future and prepare to enter the workforce.
Atchley developed and teaches Psychology 102, an orientation seminar for students interested in a psychology major. The course works to help students develop and pursue their career goals. While developing the course Atchley consulted with staff at the University Career Center (UCC) to integrate some of their resources and expertise into the curriculum.
“There’s a strong relationship between career success and graduation. For students to have the willpower to graduate they have to understand types of careers available and how to get there,” Atchley said. “As a faculty member it’s my job to help my students succeed in graduation and in the long term.”
As the career center for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the UCC is a major partner in post-graduation success for liberal arts and sciences majors. Some of its most popular resources include mock interviews, resume development and review tools, internship listings and career planning.
Through consultations with staff at the career center, departments can tailor options even further to create resources that are most beneficial for students in that specific program.
For example, in the fall of 1998 the English department approached the career center with a specific need; English majors were concerned with career advising. Together, the two entities helped develop a panel program in which alumni return to campus to host a discussion on career paths and offer advice to students. This panel has continued every spring since.
“When students attend the Careers for English Majors panel, they get a stronger sense of the many career paths available to them, and they get a better sense of what the UCC can do for them,” said Katie Conrad, an associate professor of English.
“Effective Business Communication,” a course offered through the Department of Communication Studies, also integrates many UCC services into its curriculum. Career counselors visit the class to lecture on the job search, resume development and interviewing skills. Students in the course also participate in the center’s mock interview program and attend the University Career Fair in February.
“Including the career counselors as speakers helps reinforce and validate the ideas already presented in class,” said Erinn Ellsworth, lecturer in the communication studies department. “Part of the reason to incorporate the UCC in the course is to get students familiar with an important resource. I encourage students to become familiar with all their services and remind them to visit the career center as they near graduation.”
Integrating career services in course curriculum is not only beneficial for students, but staff and faculty members say it’s a great resource for their own development.
“As Director of English Undergraduate Studies, it is essential that I have a full complement of resources available for students who are at different stages of the career search process; UCC helps me to be a better advisor,” Conrad said.
The University Career Center’s mission is to educate students about career development and planning, connect students with employment and experiential learning opportunities and to develop partnerships with administrators, faculty, alumni, and employers to enhance opportunities for students. Visit career.ku.edu for more information and a complete list of resources.