From Campus to Career: A spotlight on the Spring issue of Leadership Exchange

The following excerpt is taken from From Campus to Career: Cocurricular Learning Focuses on Skills to Meet Employer Expectations by Dr. Michael Baston, appearing in Volume 15, Issue One of Leadership Exchange magazine. 

Student expectations of higher education and employer expectations of college graduates are in a state of transition with shifting social, political, and economic realities. Today’s students have a deeper appreciation for their roles as education consumers. They better articulate their expectations using the power of institutional transfer to reject the offerings and experiences presented by their initial institutions. Similarly, colleges and universities cannot ignore what employers want from graduates. To do so is not only a disservice to students, but borders on educational malpractice. Employability matters, and understanding both student and employer expectations is critical to institutional viability.

Vice presidents for student affairs (VPSAs) are well equipped to respond to the changing expectations of students and the economic realities of the communities where they will live and work as engaged citizens. Student affairs practice must respond to the prevailing shifts in learner consciousness, interests, and goals as well as employer expectations. As architects of experiences, student affairs can help students and other key stakeholders— including faculty, employers, and peers— recognize the value proposition of student engagement, particularly related to developing skills to increase the likelihood of favorable post-graduation employability. 

In addressing what students want and what employers expect, this article highlights the elements needed to establish an effective career-focused cocurricular learning strategy and how student affairs professionals play a role in these strategies. Through careerfocused cocurricular learning, we can use the power of our professional practice expertise to increase student readiness and post-graduation student success. This effort can extend our influence in shaping the ability of our institutions to respond to future challenges.

For a more in-depth exploration of this important topic, check out recent NASPA publication Engagement and Employability: Integrating Career Learning through CoCurricular Experiences in Postsecondary Education