CSCU Releases Employability Self-Assessment Report
The report seeks to identify areas in which CSCU institutions can improve career readiness for the students they serve
Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) today released its Employability Self-Assessment Summary Report. Created in partnership with the Quality Assurance Commons for Higher and Postsecondary Education (QA Commons) and funded by a grant from the Lumina Foundation, the report seeks to highlight how well CSCU programs prepare students to enter the workforce. Through an in-depth self-assessment led by faculty from eight CSCU institutions and representing 20 programs, the report seeks to identify areas in which CSCU institutions can improve career readiness for the students they serve.
“The development of CSCU’s self-assessment required a great deal of time and commitment from faculty members, and it will serve our students well as we consider the recommendations contained in the report,” said Dr. Jane Gates, interim president of CSCU. “Ensuring that we are doing everything in our power to help our students complete their education ready to tackle our workforce needs must be a top priority. It helps not just our graduates, but also the employers in desperate need of talented workers and the state’s economy. I would like to thank every participant in this process for their hard work.
QA Commons utilizes an employability framework consisting of eight Essential Employment Qualities (EEQs). The self-assessment focused on five specific categories: graduate employee preparation, career support services, employer engagement, student and alumni engagement, and public information. The largest section of the report describes best practices from all of the participating programs in these categories that can be shared broadly to inform improvements in all CSCU programs. In addition, QA Commons identified nine areas of opportunity for improvement.
Recommendations outlined in the report include:
- Graduate Preparation:
- Map assignments and activities to program course and student learning outcomes to ensure breadth of coverage of employability skills. (The QA Commons offers a template for such mapping)
- Make students aware of the employability skills and the level of proficiency expected of them by graduation
- Career Support Services:
- Build relationships with Career Services staff members
- Consider how programs might intentionally leverage Career Support Services
- Track students’ use of Career Support Services, such that all students are getting the access to opportunity, networks, resources, and supports they need to reach their full potential
- Employer Engagement
- Consider deeper engagement with employers through multiple forms of participation and feedback, especially with respect to EEQs
- Put in place formal mechanisms for documenting employer feedback and making changes based on that feedback
- Student and Alumni Engagement
- Consider student surveys on the student experience that contribute to faculty awareness of the program climate and reasons for students’ non-completion (This is integral to equity work)
- Consider surveys that allow alumni to reflect on how well they feel the program prepared them for employment, as well as provide data on the types of employment they have found after graduation
- Consider ways in which relevant data can be shared with departments and providing training on how best to use the data, especially when the number of students is small
- As the student bodies of the System become more diverse, disseminate student success models and success stories to ensure equitable results across all disciplines and programs
Dr. Gates, who will be returning to her role as provost and senior vice president for academic and student affairs on July 2, noted that CSCU would begin work to implement the recommendations.
“Enhancing employability of our graduates is in line with Governor Lamont’s objectives for the state. The report shows that much of our curriculum lines up with graduate preparation needs, but the recommendations give us specific areas where we can and will improve,” she concluded.
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