There’s no denying that we’re facing some very tight financial challenges in higher education. Added to our institution’s financial issues, students are also encountering higher tuition rates and, for many, a bleak post-graduation job landscape. Two questions seem to be asked more frequently in the news, online, and by funding agencies. 1) What is the purpose of higher education? 2) Should our students expect to be job-ready upon completing college?
eCampusNews recently published University places 98 percent of grads in careers-here’s how which described Bently University. I went to the Bentley University website to take a closer look. Their HIGHER Education program shows a serious focus on HIRE Education with four key stages and some pretty interesting checklists for students that are available on the web.
- Year 1: Explore — Student Checklist
- Year 2: Experiment — Student Checklist
- Year 3: Experience– Student Checklist
- Year 4: Excel– Student Checklist
A quick Google search on key phrase such as “university focus on jobs” will show you many universities claim that they are connecting their scholars with employers and focusing on skills. Many claim to support a shift from preparing minds for the future to a more skill-based, hands-on workforce development focus. In January 2013, Yojana Sharma warns readers in A focus on skills increasingly links higher education with employment, that “with a constantly shifting work environment, the skills that can “make a difference’ are hard to pin down.” Sharma quotes Postiglione, professor of education at Hong Kong University, as stating “Perhaps the most important skill in the 21st century is to be adaptable.”
I found these articles of interest and hope that we can schedule time (perhaps a future roundtable) to discuss our campus philosophy. Are we for higher education, or for hire education, or both? I look forward to your comments.
Photo credit: iStockPhoto.com@idealistock