Rather than relying on students to visit the CLA Career Services office, we use every opportunity to make our Career Readiness efforts ubiquitous and unavoidable by integrating them into the student experience and connecting students with all of the people in the College of Liberal Arts who can support them in their career readiness. From the time students enter CLA until the time they graduate, our goal is to have a consistent conversation with them about the value of their education.
First-Year Experience (FYE) Courses
College of Liberal Arts students enroll in an online, 2-credit program during their initial fall and spring semesters (or a one-credit course for transfer students) to connect them with each other and the campus resources that will contribute to their success. New students are introduced to Career Readiness tools and resources during CLA 1001 (or CLA 3001 for new transfer students), and CLA 1002 is structured around weekly themes that align with each one of our ten Core Competencies.
In addition to a departmental advisor for their major, every student in the College of Liberal Arts has a CLA Advisor to guide them in their academic and co-curricular planning across their entire time in CLA. These advisors are able to integrate and reinforce the common language of the Core Competencies at key touchpoints such as orientation and academic advising appointments, as well as help our students plan their college experiences along a pathway to their future career goals.
CLA Career Services
As a student-facing office, CLA Career Services is central to the collegewide effort of Career Readiness. It consists of four functional areas that each serve a distinct purpose yet are interrelated in day-to-day work: career counseling, employer engagement, career management curriculum, and internship support.
CLA Career Services offers comprehensive, personalized guidance in Career Management—one of the ten Core Competencies that CLA develops in students to help them demonstrate and articulate their career readiness. For CLA students, Career Management is defined as actively engaging to explore possible careers, experience meaningful activities for developing their competencies, and excel by building skills that result in employment or other successful post-graduation outcomes.
Each major or department in CLA has a dedicated liaison relationship with one of our career counselors, which facilitates more personalized referrals from the departments to career services and allows counselors to develop expertise in the unique career needs of students in each major across our 31 departments and more than 65 majors in the college. Career counselors visit classes, consult with departments, plan or collaborate on departmental career events, and develop resources and scalable tools (such as online modules) tailored to the unique needs of each department.
Career Management Courses
Largely taught by CLA Career Services counselors, our Career Management curriculum includes:
CLA 3002: Career Kickstarter: Finding Internships and Other Career-Related Experiences
CLA 3101: Career Exploration for Transfer Students
CLA 3201: Career Planning: Preparing for Your Post-Graduation Plans
CLA 3205: Law School Exploration
CLA 3896: Internship Reflection: Making Meaning of Your Experience
CLA 3890: Internship Reflection: Building on your Summer Internship Experience
Career Readiness Certificate
CLA undergraduates can earn a CLA Career Readiness Certificate, which appears on the official University transcript and signals to potential employers, graduate/professional schools, and others that students have done all they can to fully develop their Core Competencies during their undergraduate experience.
Co-curricular experiences are essential for liberal arts students to develop their Core Competencies, and we have prioritized helping more students gain experience earlier in their undergraduate years so they can use these experiences to inform their academic and future career decisions.
- Internships: As one of the primary efforts of the overall Career Readiness Initiative, a strategy was implemented to increase the quality of and access to internships for CLA students. Our Internship Coordinator position is focused on implementing minimum standards for internship sites and best practices for internship activities. The CLA Internship Scholarship provides financial assistance in awards ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 for undergraduate students participating in unpaid internships. CLA has also piloted the Get Ready Internship Program to prepare and connect motivated sophomore students with transformative, meaningful, paid internship experiences at local organizations.
- Learning Abroad: Participating in a learning abroad experience is one of the high-impact practices CLA promotes to help students develop their competencies and gain experience. Students going abroad can apply the experience to the Career Readiness Certificate if they take the reflective course "Global Identity: Connecting Your International Experience to Your Future," which has incorporated Career Readiness and RATE. Efforts to embed Career Readiness into the learning abroad curriculum offered by CLA faculty and partners abroad are also underway.
- Undergraduate Research: New data reporting structures are being put in place to illuminate the number of students enrolling in Directed Research, and CLA is working strategically with the University Faculty Director of Undergraduate Research to overcome institutional barriers to increase the number of undergraduates who can participate. The Career Readiness Certificate promotes undergraduate research as one of the ways students can gain experience and develop their Core Competencies.
Our Career Readiness initiative leverages the expertise, people, and resources of CLA Career Services and elevates their work across the entire College of Liberal Arts, embedding a framework to help our students think about their educational choices through the lens of core competency development.
How We Frame Our Students' Career Planning
The underlying philosophy of Career Readiness in CLA is that developing the Core Competencies is just as important to career preparation as choosing a major is. Still, many of our students wonder what are some examples of career paths via an academic major. To demonstrate some of the less intuitive major-to-career paths, we developed "What can I do with a major in ...?" pages for each major that list the key skills (in addition to the Core Competencies) students develop in the major and examples of CLA alumni from the major with their job titles and employers, organized by career field.