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Opinion

Opinion

Editorial: Job search

Part of Kansas University’s mission should be to help graduates find employment in their fields of study.

December 20, 2012

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Kansas University officials are working hard to improve the school. They want to elevate the academic excellence of entering students, attract superior faculty members, reduce the number of student drop-outs, improve student recruiting and structure the curriculum so more students will be able to finish their degrees in four years, maybe less, and graduate with a smaller fiscal debt.

KU faculty, students, alumni and friends want their school to be a leader and to merit the reputation of a great university in every respect.

At graduation time, it is understandable there is increased thought and concern about what graduates will do after they receive their diplomas. Do they have jobs?

This is important for the graduates, as well as for the university. For example, US. News & World Report magazine downgraded the KU School of Law the past several years because of the low number of its graduates employed by law firms a year after their graduation. Changes were made at the school, and KU law students now have far better counseling and help in getting jobs.

Too many students graduate at KU — and probably at most large universities — without the benefit of adequate counseling by faculty members on how to identify possible employers, how to fill out job applications, use networking, set up interviews, inquire about internships and many other aids to finding employment that ties in with the schooling they received.

What if KU was known as a top-flight university with good students and challenging and motivating faculty along with a superior program to identify and help find employment opportunities for its graduates?

It would be interesting to know what percentage of this month’s KU graduates will have a job a month from now, better yet, a job that jibes with their course work at KU.

If a law school can be graded or compared with other law schools based on the number of graduates who have jobs a year after graduation, why shouldn’t a university, particularly one that aspires to academic excellence and high national recognition, also be graded or ranked somehow on how many of its graduates find jobs in fields related to their education?

(On the other hand, it should be remembered many university officials, maybe even faculty members, claim they don’t place much weight on academic and/or the U.S. News & World Report university rankings.)

Comments

Bob_Loblaw 1 year, 4 months ago

People make constant fun of those vo-tech schools like ITT Tech and DeVry etc. but they do publish and back up their placement rates...my nephew had literally 4 job offers even before finishing up. Those were top Fortune companies in computer hardware as well. They pride themselves on their career guidance as well. Good luck just coasting by while partying KU liberal arts majors!

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question4u 1 year, 4 months ago

"Too many students graduate at KU — and probably at most large universities — without the benefit of adequate counseling by faculty members on how to identify possible employers, how to fill out job applications, use networking, set up interviews, inquire about internships and many other aids to finding employment that ties in with the schooling they received."

KU, like virtually all universities, has a career center that specializes in exactly these things. Why would faculty be expected to teach students how to fill out job applications and set up interviews when the university has a staff trained in helping students with application for employment? Faculty provide counseling on curricular issues and, in the case of graduate students, with seeking employment in academia. Career center staff are much more knowledgeable about the current job market in general because it's their job to know what's going on.

Why would a student expect to get good advice about filling out job applications from a professor who hasn't filled out an application for twenty years? If students don't take advantage of the career center then it's hardly fair to blame faculty. KU has excellent resources.

Why not do an article on the percentage of graduating seniors who have actually been to the career center and used their services?

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LJD230 1 year, 4 months ago

Perhaps if the law school enjoyed a greater reputation the graduates of the school would have improved chances of finding a job. How many big time law firms in New York, Chicago or LA are on the prowl for grads of KU Law?

And not for nothing, there are too many law schools in the United States.

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KU_cynic 1 year, 4 months ago

First, I think it important that KU maintain transparency about post-graduation outcomes for students, chiefly placement rates, starting pay, or graduate school admission rates across meaningfully sized groups of students by major (e.g., accounting, journalism, French, Latin American studies, etc.). Too many students -- and too many professors -- foster delusions such as that it doesn't matter what a student studies, the skills that are acquired, or how the student performs but rather that higher education is merely an idiosyncratic mind-opening experience to be savored for its own sake. How precious.

That said, how much more nannying do these millennials need? Do faculty members really need to counsel students how to complete job applications (hint: avoid misspellings -- and don't use purple crayon). A couple keystrokes at a search engine will generate hundreds of websites on job hunting do's and don't's for soon-to-be college graduates; do we really need a KU-branded "this is how you become an adult and get a job" set of experiences that mirrors the "this is how you go to class, study, and budget your time" effort that KU already feels compelled to supply to clueless millenials as part of our "student success" endeavor? Every term my KU unit sponsors employer roundtables and resume workshops -- yet only a fraction of the students take advantage of these experiences. You can lead a horse to water . . .

In short, yes KU can do more, but this generation of students -- and their parents -- need to get their heads in the game, too. Providing the skill sets demanded by the market is KU's mission; nailing down the job is the student's. Wake up, grow up and smell the globalization, millennials.

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