Traveling the country to discuss career management issues and best practices with career directors, instructors, and staff is always beneficial on multiple layers. The most recent trip to Chicago and the MWACE conference was no exception as the professionals I met and conversed with were not only informative (much of the great activities suggested will be incorporated into our career management material and textbook, allowing instructors and students to gain so much) but also went out of their way to show warmth in our attendance.
On the second morning of the conference, USA Today ran an article highlighting a recent graduate suing a university for not preparing her for a career defined by her inability to get a job (this after she paid $70,000 and countless hours to achieve her degree). Needless to say, this was a “talk of the town” throughout the conference; leading one to ask:
“What should a college/university do to make sure they are doing all they can to prepare students for a college to career transition?”
The responses from the conference crowd were mixed while many expressed a sense of anger at the student for her aggressive litigation. Personally (and I hope this does not upset any career directors out there), I am of the opinion that directing students to the Internet and having 30-second meetings is simply not enough…as the crowd now begins to stir with disapproval.
I am from the “old school” of brick and mortar where students learn by guidance and doing. This means career management/professional portfolio classes, hard copy textbooks, student activities, mock interviews, etc. should not be replaced with click of the button approaches. Think about it, learning by actually doing seems to have been replaced by the path most traveled (thus the easiest where instant gratification without due diligence is rewarded while the students sense of entitlement magnifies).
For colleges and universities offering workshops, seminars, internships, externships, and professional development classes, fear of litigation is diminished as those colleges and universities have quantified student commitment to career success. Does this mean more work for career directors by way of ensuring proper materials are being used and instructors (and administration) are on the same page? Yes, but only in the beginning of this journey. For colleges and universities interested in curriculum and textbook development, I’ve been on all sides of the equation and will be glad to assist those desiring an objective and “been there” perspective.
Is the student mentioned in the USA Today article carrying forth litigation justified in her claim? What do you think? More on this will be brought to you as the facts of the case unravel but I am interested in your opinion.