Pilot Seminar to Prepare College Students for Career Search

Emory College will pilot a new one-credit seminar course in Spring 2019 for freshmen and sophomores to apply their skills from a liberal arts education to a career, according to College Dean Michael A. Elliott.

In class, students will complete activities to identify their personal strengths, participate in class discussions and receive instruction on how to utilize those skills as they search for jobs and begin to work. The course also includes resume-building, presentation skills and mock interviews, according to a course syllabus provided to the Wheel by Director of Emory’s Quality Enhancement Plan and seminar instructor Tracy L. Scott. In the final part of the course, students develop a five-year plan with specific academic and extra-curricular opportunities that students wish to pursue, such as internships and study abroad programs, according to the syllabus.

“What we want the course to do is help students understand what skills they’re getting from liberal arts education that they can translate when they leave college and go into the workplace,” Scott said.

The seminar is part of a larger initiative called Emory Edge, which aims to connect current students with peer, faculty and alumni resources that will give them the skills they need for success after graduation. Instructors will help connect students with alumni and the Career Center, according to Scott.

Scott emphasized that the course focuses on the skills Emory students should gain from their liberal arts education at Emory.

“What the research shows is that the thing that matters the most for work are these high-level skills like analytical thinking, social interaction skills, writing [and] speaking,” Scott said. “Those are the things that are most important for both getting a job … and being successful in the workplace.”

Scott said the course aims to provide students with information on research studies that demonstrate the usefulness of these skills.

The seminar is set to be graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis, Scott said.

One 21-student section will be open to freshmen, and another 21-student section will be open to sophomores next semester, according to Scott.

Students are not required to participate in the pilot, but Scott said that if enough students give positive feedback about the class, it may become mandatory.

Elliott, who told the Wheel he planned to boost the liberal arts at Emory when became dean in 2017, said it is important for undergraduate students to understand the values in a liberal arts education and available resources on campus.

“It’s part of a desire to help students both understand the value of their educations and understand the resources that are available here at Emory to help move them forward both during their time at Emory and beyond,” Elliott said.

Elliott said he hopes to gauge the interest for a course like the pilot seminar.

“We are trying to understand what the interest is in such a course and … if there is a lot of interest we will figure out how to move forward there,” Elliott said.