The College of Liberal Arts (CLA) at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities launched our own Career Readiness Initiative in 2015 to help undergraduate students better understand and articulate how their liberal arts education gives them a career advantage. Now we are positioned to share with other higher education institutions a framework specifically designed for liberal arts colleges and career centers serving liberal arts students.

graduation cap icon, the liberal arts advantage
CLA’s Career Readiness initiative provides a positive framing for the purpose of a liberal arts education to highlight its continuous career relevance. Our vision is to share the career management tools we’ve built specifically for liberal arts students that help them understand the value of their liberal arts advantage and articulate it in any professional context.

Advocating Together for the Liberal Arts

CLA is interested in working collectively with other liberal arts colleges to create a national model for career readiness in the liberal arts. Liberal arts institutions have several ways to engage with us in this effort, because:

1. We are committed to supporting other liberal arts colleges as you explore whether or not a competency model makes sense at your institution.

  • Consult with the CLA team. We can advise your campus leaders about the career readiness framework and model we believe is required to ensure success.
  • Learn from our success and failures. We can share what has worked for us and lessons we have learned along the way to help you shape a plan that fits your culture and the needs of your faculty and students.

2. We developed several tools and resources that you can access to move more quickly to implementation at your institution if our Career Readiness framework (core career competencies and definitions) are a fit for your institutional context.

  • Use the Core Career Competencies that define the Liberal Arts Advantage. These competencies and their definitions were developed to specifically fit the context of the liberal arts and to meet both the needs of students and faculty. These competencies are not changeable in our tools and resources.
  • Adapt our Career Readiness Guide for your own students, including using your own branding. See Customize Your Guide for more information about how to do this. You can also utilize the Universal Version of the Internship Guide.   
  • Gain access to RATE™ for your institution’s use. RATE is a CLA-developed digital self-assessment tool that helps students recognize the value of career readiness experiences within their courses and co-curricular activities. Various levels of integration are available, as well as the ability for institutional branding to ensure a seamless experience for students. Interested in using RATE at your institution? The "Next Steps for Using RATE on Your Campus" pdf provides you with a checklist of steps for how to implement RATE on your campus.

3. We invite liberal arts institutions to partner with us to advance a national dialogue about the career readiness value of a liberal arts education. We believe we will all do better if we create a consistent and explicit conversation about why the liberal arts prepare students for lifelong career success.

  • Become a founding member of a consortium. Help us focus on the specific nuance of supporting liberal arts students for their career readiness.
  • Provide feedback on the tools and resources. Be a part of evolving and developing what works and what doesn’t.

Connect With Us

Please contact Judy Anderson, Director of Career Readiness, to learn more or request a consultation. Faculty leadership of the Career Readiness Initiative is provided by Ascan Koerner, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, and by Amy Lee, Faculty Director of Career Readiness Faculty Development.