Maryville College: Combining Forces in Students’ Career Preparation

Christy McDonald Director of Career Center

As one of the 26 institutions selected as an inaugural member of the CIC Consortium for Instructional Excellence and Career Guidance, supported by Strada Education Network, Maryville College seized the opportunity for Academic Affairs to collaborate with the Career Center. In this Q&A, Maryville’s Jan Taylor, Dr. Crystal Colter, Sarah Yeaple, and Christy McDonald share insights about how this partnership helps strengthen the college’s core goals and support faculty in serving students beyond the classroom and into their careers.

Q: What are your college’s goals for participating in the Consortium?

Sarah Yeaple, Assistant Director of Career Center

A: Teaching is the highest priority category in faculty evaluations at Maryville College. The educational goals of our Core Curriculum focus on “cultivation of transformative habits of mind” and development of “capacity for critical, creative dispositions.” ACUE’s active learning and higher order thinking approaches seem well suited to strengthen faculty’s ability to accomplish these goals. ACUE’s discussion models, problem-solving assignments, and deep thinking challenges support our aim to prepare students “to act as informed and responsible citizens and to assume leadership and collaborative roles in solving the complex problems of an interconnected and diverse world.” Imaginative and rigorous assignments like the ones included in the ACUE program are essential preparation for the world that awaits our graduates. Additionally, we believe that our students are more likely to achieve effective leadership, citizenship, and service goals with solid career guidance.

Keep reading: CIC and ACUE Partner in Consortium to Advance Student Success and Career Preparedness

Q: Given the Consortium’s focus on career guidance and readiness, you decided to collaborate with your Career Center on the implementation. What does this partnership look like?

Jan Taylor

A: Career Center staff have access to the course content and follow the online discussions. They also participate in our monthly face-to-face meetings. Beginning with the second series of modules, they will offer ideas for career connections specific to each module (connections to the National Association of College and Employers, or NACE, competencies and upcoming events or opportunities for faculty), to be included in the module announcements.

Career Center staff report that the partnership helps them:

• gain input and new perspectives from participating instructors on what challenges they face in the classroom, the new concepts they’re learning, and how students are responding;

• feel informed about the teaching culture in terms of what is taking place with faculty and students beyond the Career Center workshops;

• better understand the readings and resources they might offer to faculty; and

Crystal Colter

• learn through participants’ teaching reflections how to improve their own teaching and organizing in sessions offered by the Career Center.

Q: Why is it important to work cross-functionally across campus departments and offices to impact student success? What does your collaboration with the Career Center add to this program?

A: Working across campus departments and offices on the ACUE program provides structure and accountability as we serve our students’ needs in an integrated, intentional, and strategic way. Combining forces to deliver and learn from our ACUE course experience offers our teaching faculty, Career Center staff, and Academic Affairs administrators concrete opportunities for support, collaboration, and connections. It gives us a common framework as well as a motivating reason to get together and talk about how we might best craft our processes, systems, classes, and programs in ways that serve our students. The experience has also encouraged collegiality, intentionality, and celebration of this inspiring endeavor we are undertaking together as education professionals.

Keep reading: Five Tips for Getting a Good Start on the Semester (and Maybe Even Enjoying Ourselves a Little)

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