The Integration of Career Coaching in a Senior Seminar Capstone Course to Foster Successful Student Transitions
Concurrent Session 6
Senior seminar courses provide a showcase for intellectual and competency based accomplishments. Integration of career coaching into the curriculum fosters student success and aids students in transition to graduate. Presenters will describe the design process for collaborating with Career Services in a senior seminar course at a fully online institution.
Senior seminar capstone courses create an opportunity to explore learning undertaken in a program of study at an institution of higher education. Such a course allows students to bring together topics learned, to evaluate and assess prior learning and to apply gained knowledge and experiences. Typically a senior seminar capstone course at the undergraduate level provides a venue for learners to create a project showcasing intellectual and competency based accomplishments.
The nature of such a course is one of culminating the academic experience at the college and finalizing the full extent of the designated academic degree plan. While focus in such courses at a majority of institutions is heavily on the integration and synthesis of knowledge and skill based learning, there is an element of transition which must be acknowledged and incorporated for the success of the student. A coordinated effort to integrate career services, career coaching in particular, into the curriculum will foster a more prepared student and aid the student in their transition to graduate and alumni of the university.
A purposeful application of goal evaluation and transitional support services may seem unnecessary when a Career Services team may be readily available at the college. However, part of the pursuit of the completion of a degree and the intent to matriculate by taking part in a senior seminar course is to continue to move from the present to the future. Integration of staff from the Career Services team directly with students, bringing the resources and guidance to the learner rather than waiting for them to walk through the door, virtual or otherwise, is key to student success (Seidman, 2005).
The online learner population includes both youth and adult learners. While it is expected for those in senior level classes to be capable of self-directed learning, there are processes and models to incorporate into curriculum to promote academic, personal, and professional achievement. At the core is the ability for the learner to set measurable goals and take appropriate actions to achieve a transformational experience (Merriam, 2001). To be effective in life-long learning, continuous examination and evaluation of our goals and self-directed intent on efficacy there must be a process in place.
For the presentation to the OLC participants, the presenters will describe their design for a senior seminar capstone course at a fully online institution combining the academic competencies with career and professional development, the process of collaborating with Career Services to identify and incorporate career coaching into the course content and assessments, and the model for the instructional delivery to promote successful graduation and transition post-graduation. As part of the presentation the consideration of content design including effective goal setting and evaluation of actionable steps, and strategies to create an interdisciplinary connection within the subject matter and effective standards for career coaching will be discussed. Further, the model for continued academic and career services communication, cooperation, and collaboration will be presented as a system for potential application at other institutions to further promote student success in undergraduate transition.
The faculty course designer and instructor and the career services team members will provide considerations for beginning such a partnership, for curriculum collaboration, and for the continued iterative and evaluative process of most effectively serving the students. Mixed methods data analysis will be included in the presentation to establish the effectiveness of the model. Also, student responses and feedback to the application will be shared.
Participants will be encouraged to reflect, evaluate, and discuss how such a model could be applied at their own institutions. Additionally, the audience will be asked for the identification of factors which may be challenging and how to work through such issues. Further, ideas for alternative applications of such an exemplar to fit institution and population, as well as instructional delivery methods and support services, will be explored.
Merriam, S. (2001). Andragogy and self-directed learning: Pillars of adult learning theory. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 2001(89), 3-14.
Seidman, A. (Ed.). (2005). College student retention: Formula for student success. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.