CAREER INTEGRATED LEARNING: A CURRICULAR REFORM FOR HIGHER EDUCATION
Teaching and learning frameworks, such as the document published by Memorial University (2015) outline the attributes/competencies graduating students should possess in order to become successful employees and citizens of the 21st century. These attributes, career competencies or employment skills must be developed and articulated during post secondary educational experiences in order for students to be successful in their transition to and through the labour market. Watts (2006) suggests that those skills contribute to 'sustainable employability', recognizing that students must be adept in a changing labor market.
The concept of Career Integrated Learning is grounded in Patton and McMahon's (1999, 2014) systems theory framework and in Kolb's experiential learning theory (1984). The model of implementation was adapted from career development learning as described by Smith et al (2009). The career integrated learning project is focused on encouraging students to articulate the graduating student attributes or competencies (GSC) they may gain through their university curriculum. Competencies that will help them ease their transition to the world of work or further graduate studies. Students develop those competencies through their experiences in the classroom, work based programs and community involvement. By identifying and articulating the broader skills and attributes required through completion of a degree, students can readily make a clear connection to the workplace.
This presentation will explore a five (5) year research project in one Canadian university. The project sought to explore the reflection of skills/competencies gained through student participation in university courses. The use of student reflection and the isolation of student competencies in the course curriculum allowed faculty members to identify the career competencies implicit in the course curriculum. University courses included those in the liberal arts and sciences and many of the professional programs within a comprehensive university. While students are learning subject content(knowledge) they practice career competencies and develop skills, abilities, and talents, and through reflection learn to articulate those competencies that are relevant as they transition to and through the world of university studies and their transition to the world of work. (Joy, Shea, & Youden- Walsh, 2016).The Career Integrated Learning project has since been adapted at multiple universities in Canada and has been identified as one of the most promising practices for career development in the liberal arts and humanities in North America by the Education Advisory Board (2016)