NSSE-Strada Partnership on Career Preparation
NSSE tested a Work & Career Preparation item set in 2020 and analyzed how it performed to develop new NSSE and FSSE topical modules focused on preparation for work and career. The modules were administered as part of the spring 2021 NSSE and FSSE and will be offered again in 2022. A dataset, internal analyses, reports for participating institutions, aggregate findings, and tailored reports are in production. Findings will also be disseminated in presentations to relevant higher education audiences at national conferences and meetings, and in joint publications developed by NSSE and Strada.
Interest in tightening the connection between higher education and career preparation has increased with heightened demands for evidence of employability as an outcome and employer concern over students’ preparation for the workplace. Colleges and universities address career preparation and employability through career preparation services and resources, and shape student expectations and aspirations for the labor market through experiential learning, and interactions with faculty, staff, and other students.
Current interest in work and career preparation and the kinds of experiences that help graduates succeed in the 21st century workplace makes it incumbent on colleges and universities to assess the quality of associated career and work preparation and to use what they learn to strengthen links between the undergraduate experience and success after graduation. Moreover, higher education administrators, scholars and policymakers are keenly interested in understanding what experiences matter to work-based outcomes and disseminating this information to bring greater focus and attention to this important topic.
Read the NSSE Blog post, Graduating During a Pandemic: Seniors’ Views About Their Career & Workforce Preparation
In this blog, Jillian Kinzie and Filiz Akyuz discuss seniors' responses to the NSSE 2021 Career and Workforce Preparation (CWP) Topical Module. Results provide a glimpse of seniors' exposure to college and university career planning resources, career exploration in the curriculum, confidence in work-related skills, and post-graduation plans. Analysis of 5,230 seniors’ open-ended comment responses reveals two salient themes. The first highlights the impact of COVID-19 on seniors’ career plans and the second theme draws attention to the efforts of faculty and staff that students found helpful.
NSSE Career & Workforce Preparation data featured in Strada Report; Webinar recording available
NSSE results from the new Career & Workforce Preparation Topical Module are featured in the Strada Foundation report, Understanding Undergraduates’ Career Preparation Experiences
The webinar featuring Dave Clayton, Farouk Dey, Jillian Kinzie and Paul Fain (recorded December 8, 2021) is available for viewing. It focuses on seniors’ results, including the types of career-building activities they engaged in and their confidence in workplace skills. Discussion highlights the importance of social capital-building activities, such as networking with alumni and professionals, in shaping students’ feelings of career clarity and confidence as well as the ability for work and internships to meaningfully influence future career plans. Findings point to differences in first-generation and continuing-generation student experiences, and illuminate where intentional attention can be paid to ensure equity in career-building outcomes for current and future undergraduates.