Defining Career Success for Non-Traditional Students

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1 Defining Career Success for Non-Traditional Students D R. G I N A J O S E P H - C O L L I N S, D E A N M A U R A D E V L I N, D I R E C T O R O F S T U D E N T S E R V I C E S S C H O O L O F A D U L T A N D P R O F E S S I O N A L S T U D I E S B A Y P A T H C O L L E G E

2 Setting the Stage School of Adult and Professional Studies One-Day- A-Week Program Almost 1,000 adult women undergraduates across 3 campuses On campus one day/week for 5 hour classes in 6-week sessions Average age is 35 years 70+% work more than 30 hours/week Majority are mothers Range of incomes and professional experiences, but significant percentage seeking higher education to enhance careers and earnings

3 The Catalyst Career Services Grant 3 year grant from external funding source, with interim reports due annually, final report due at close of grant Objective #1 Develop Research Methodology Objective #2 Increase Career Center Usage to 50% Objective #3 Increase Career Confidence and Preparedness Objective #4 Enhance Career Outcomes

4 Methodology Hired Career Specialist and External Consultant Conducted focus groups with existing students Surveyed all incoming students at 7-8 orientations/year Reviewed literature and best practices Interviewed variety of faculty teaching in program Consulted with employers about career requirements and skill needs Developed tracking and evaluation systems Administered graduation and satisfaction surveys annually Hired Institutional Researcher, Career Specialist position institutionalized

5 Our Approach One-on-one career coaching, resulting from orientations and advising sessions Brown bag lunches, workshops, career speakers and stories, and special events Traditional career assessments Developed internship program Student career narratives published in newsletters Peer support groups

6 Lessons Learned Students define career success more broadly than traditional conceptions, often including fulfillment Career success a process, not an outcome Need to teach self-leadership over a lifetime, rather than career-specific skills Need to embed careers into curriculum Need to develop more experiential opportunities Need to tailor usage of assessments for adult women Need to align career coaching and academic advising Need to enlist faculty support and engagement Need to develop more robust methodology (career confidence)

7 Program Logic Model If the One-Day Program enrolls women seeking education for career enhancement If the program provides supports to encourage persistence If the curriculum provides opportunities for women to reflect on goals and aspirations, strengths and abilities, and passions If the curriculum provides opportunities to match self interests with careers and to explore requirements If the curriculum allows students to apply skills in an experiential setting Then adult women graduates will find fulfilling careers

8 Action Research/Learning Organization Logic model allows us to clarify what we do, why, and how Interim reports to grant funders were tools for learning Continuous reflection on our practice, methodology and delivery of career services Team of 3 4 continually meeting to reflect on career services Repeated and frequent use of surveys, collection of student career and life narratives, and assessments with students Holistic advising (career, academic, financial) Embedding careers into orientations, advising sessions, and student newsletters Development of Women As Empowered Learners and Leaders (WELL) curriculum, series of 3 foundational courses

9 Outcomes 100% of students engage in career work through curriculum Enhanced career assessments in each student s eportfolios Holistic advising in place New full-time faculty dedicated to adult students May 2012 Graduation Survey: 76% found program empowering and 50% agreed the program allowed them to develop adaptable skills

10 Conclusions Learning organization - changes in how we understand and consider career services for adult women undergraduates Focus on empowerment rather than traditional career services outcomes Barriers and limitations in women s busy lives meant career work needed to be embedded into curriculum and processes (advising and student support services)

11 Resources Belenky, M. F., Clinchy, B., M., Goldberger, N. R., & Tarule, J. M. (1986). Women's ways of knowing: The development of self, mind, and voice. New York, NY: Basic Books Deutsch, N. L., & Schmertz, B. (2011). Starting from Ground Zero: Constraints and experiences of adult women returning to college. The Review of Higher Education, 34(3), Lundberg, C. A., McIntire, D. D., & Creasman, C. T. (2008). Sources of social support and self-efficacy for adult students. Journal of College Counseling, 11, Quimby, J. L., & O Brien, K. M. (2004). Predictors of student and career decisionmaking self-efficacy among nontraditional college women. The Career Development Quarterly, 52, Rossiter, M. (2009). Possible selves and career transition: Implications for serving nontraditional students. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 57, Sweet, S., & Moen, P. (2007). Integrating educational careers in work and family: Women s return to school and family life quality. Community, Work, and Family, 10(2), W. K. Kellogg Foundation. (2004). Logic model development guide. Retrieved from Foundation-Logic-Model-Development-Guide.aspx

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