What’S the Promise Worth? Employability and Career Outcomes of Undergraduate Students at Three Public Universities
This paper explores the pressure academic and administrative stakeholders at three public universities face to improve the career outcomes of their students and how the universities are responding to the pressure. The objective of the study is to provide administrators, faculty, and policymakers a window into the challenges universities face in implementing a unified, effective strategy for responding to the public’s demand for career-ready students and for increasing the transparency about the economic value of different majors. The study uses in-depth interviews with a cross-section of stakeholders—from the offices of the provost, career services, academic advising, enrollment management, alumni affairs, and academic deans—to identify similarities and differences in how separate actors understand and communicate their colleges’ value proposition and the degree to which their department is responsible for supporting students’ career outcomes. All interviewed stakeholders agree that students must be taught professional skills and gain relevant work experience while in college through a combination of teaching and cocurricular activities such as internships, but stakeholders are not aligned on whether the university can or should make a career-ready curriculum and internships a required, integrated component of classroom learning. Absent requirements to link learning to work for all students, a structural gap persists in career readiness between students who have the social capital and financial resources to access these experiences and those who do not. The findings raise the question, do universities have the obligation to embed relevant work-integrated experiences and career-readiness learning objectives into undergraduate curriculums in order equitably to deliver the implied economic value of a college degree?
Higher education|Educational evaluation|Educational administration
Carpenter, Jeffrey Daniel, "What’S the Promise Worth? Employability and Career Outcomes of Undergraduate Students at Three Public Universities" (2020). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI28000820.