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Career Courses in U.S. Universities


Career Courses in U.S. Universities Robert C. Reardon, Ph.D. Florida State University *With assistance from Janet G. Lenz, PhD, & Beth Lulgjuraj, MS/EdS – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Career Courses in U.S. Universities

Career Courses in U.S. Universities
  • Robert C. Reardon, Ph.D.
  • Florida State University
  • With assistance from Janet G. Lenz, PhD, Beth
    Lulgjuraj, MS/EdS

Presentation Overview
  • History of career courses in U.S. colleges and
  • Course philosophies and purposes
  • Starting a course
  • Outcomes and research results
  • The Florida State University course

Career Courses in the U.S.
  • Based on psychology of work, occupational
    sociology, labor market economics disciplines
  • Provide life/career planning knowledge
  • Orient beginning students to fields of studies
    and occupations, provide a transition course for
    seniors, or both
  • Increase program funding through student credit
    hour (SCH) production
  • Increase student retention and degree completion

History and Features
  • Began in early 1900s as college orientation
  • Most U.S. universities offer career courses
  • Over 30 course textbooks published
  • May be general education or specialized
    (discipline specific) courses

Course Outcomes
  • Meta-analytic studies show career courses produce
    large gains in career decidedness and career
  • Career courses were no. 3 of 8 effective
  • Effective career courses have
  • 1) written student goals (ILP)
  • 2) individual student program reports
  • 3) objective career information presented
  • 4) study of effective models/mentors
  • 5) assistance in developing support networks
  • Folsom Reardon (2003. College Career Courses
    Design and Accountability. Journal of Career

Research Results
  • 48 journal reports of U.S. career courses since
  • Over 83 reference citations to career course
  • Over 90 of studies showed positive outputs,
    e.g., career decision making, career thoughts,
    career maturity, locus of control, vocational
  • 87 reported positive outcomes, e.g., higher
    satisfaction, retention, graduation rates fewer
    course withdrawals
  • Folsom Reardon (2003). College Career Courses
    Design and Accountability. Journal of Career

Getting Started
  • Are academic unit leaders supportive?
  • Is student affairs leadership supportive?
  • What is the level of support for the career
    course relative to other courses?
  • Is instructional consultation and support
    available on campus?

Design Scope. Will the Course be
  • Comprehensive, e.g., career exploration
    employability skills?
  • Meet both general education requirements?
  • Required in one or more majors?
  • A service, e.g., supplement career counseling, or
    focused on content, e.g., knowledge based?
  • Credit or noncredit? Variable credit?
  • A large or small class?
  • For entering or continuing students?
  • Elective or required?
  • Open registration or targeted for groups of

Career Theory Base of the Course
  • Single theory base
  • Non-explicit theory base
  • Eclectic theory base

When Will the Course be Offered?
  • Best times for students, e.g., avoid 8 a.m.
  • Best times for instructors
  • Best times for facility use, e.g., classrooms,
    career center
  • How many times per week and
    for how long?

Academic home of the Course
  • Does the home make a difference in course
    approval, marketing, funding?
  • Core course for majors or service course for
    other students?
  • Course available through continuing education or
    for distance students?

Funds Generated by the Course
  • What institutional policies affect collection
    distribution of fees?
  • Are there rules regarding distribution of funds
    generated by non-instructional staff?

Who Will Teach the Course?
  • Regular faculty
  • Professional staff in counseling, career
    services, advising
  • Graduate students
  • Adjuncts
  • Team-teaching

Connecting Course to Career Services Program
  • Career Center as a laboratory for the course
  • Recruiters used as guest presenters
  • Course used to market career services and
    programs, e.g., information, internships,
    portfolio, networking

Promoting Advertising the Course
  • Direct marketing to students
  • Academic advisors, career center, and
    professional student services staff
  • Faculty and academic departments
  • Orientation new student programs
  • Web sites and links
  • Parents

Text Teaching Materials
  • Instructor developed vs. published materials
  • Individual learning plans (ILPs)
  • Internet distance learning incorporated into
  • Use of library materials in main college library
    or career center
  • Grading procedures, e.g., performance contracts,
    classroom tests
  • Course materials validated in independent,
    refereed research reports
  • Course materials include products/activities with
    established validity and reliability

How will course be evaluated?
  • Student ratings of satisfaction and quality of
  • Independent evaluators
  • Use of standardized instruments, e.g., Career
    Thoughts Inventory (CTI), My Vocational
    Situation (MVS)
  • Review of retention rates over short and long
    term periods
  • Strategic review of course how, when, who

The FSU Course
  • 12 sections per year (28-32 students per class)
  • Variable credit and repeatable
  • Elective course
  • Instructor-student ratio 17-10
  • Team-taught instruction model
  • Small groups, individual conferences
  • Career Center as course laboratory
  • Comprehensive in scope
  • CIP and RIASEC theories used
  • Meets 1.5 hours twice weekly

FSU Course Learning Sequence
  • Unit I
  • Unit II
  • Unit III

Self Directed Search
Information Interview Reports
Review SDS Interpretive Report Skills Assignment
CFA Paper
CFA Worksheet
Draft Resume
Draft Cover Letter
Skills Assessment
Information Interviews
Draft Individual Action Plan
Career Thoughts Inventory
Strategic Academic Career Plan
Instructor Conference
SIGI 3 or eDiscover
Choices Planner
Final Resume
Final Individual Action Plan
Final Cover Letter
FSU Course Evaluations
  • Eight published studies reporting course design
    and learning impact
  • Offered continuously since 1973
  • Positive student satisfaction ratings
  • Text and Instructors Manual published by
    Cengage Press

FSU Course Features
  • Text and Instructors Manual in 3rd editions
  • Syllabus available on-line
  • PowerPoint slides available on-line
  • Team teaching reduces instructor burnout
  • Training of course instructors
  • Ongoing laboratory for career research
  • First edition of text translated in China

For more information contact
  • Robert C. Reardon, PhD.
  • Senior Research Associate
  • Florida State University Career Center
  • Dunlap Success Center 2124
  • PO Box 3064162
  • 100 South Woodward Avenue
  • Tallahassee, FL 32306-4162
  • phone 850-644-9777