4 Things Academic Deans Can Do to Help Students Succeed after Graduation

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by Stanton Green, Professor of Anthropology and Former Dean of the McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Monmouth University

Why, you might ask, should academic deans add this concern about students' career preparation to their already unmanageably long list of responsibilities?

As leaders of the faculty, deans need to serve as the programmatic agents of implementing a holistic undergraduate education. And deans provide the essential perspective of someone who observes the connections on a daily basis between how the university works and how students learn.

Students best engage in their learning when they know how that learning fits into their lives. I do not mean to imply that students are selfish or myopic. Quite the opposite. Students implicitly, although naively, understand higher education as important to their whole lives. Our role as deans is to cross the bureaucratic barriers between academic and student services in order to teach students and how to apply these to growing personally and professionally.

This has been a major focus of my work over the past 25 years as a department chair and academic dean: to connect academic learning with career development. Here are four practical strategies I have learned: four opportunities for academic deans to partner with career services:

  1. Use national career services and academic organizations with a cross-division team.
  2. Create a career services developmental retreat for department chairs and career services staff.
  3. Partner with dept chairs and faculty to translate course syllabi assignments into transferable skills.
  4. Integrate faculty into networking events and job fairs.

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