Memorial initiates Career Integrated Learning project
Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Left to Right: Dr. Rhonda Joy,associate professor, Faculty of Education, Memorial; Karen Youden Walsh, project coordinator, career integrated learning, Student Affairs, Memorial

Recent funding through a $569,400 grant from the Counseling Foundation of Canada will allow researchers at Memorial University to develop a system which aids students in identifying career competencies established through their university degrees.

Implementation of this initiative will make it the first Canadian system of career integrated learning in post-secondary education. The project is led by Dr. Robert Shea, associate vice-president, Academic and Student Affairs, Marine Institute; Dr. Rhonda Joy, associate professor, Faculty of Education; and Karen Youden Walsh, project coordinator, career integrated learning, Student Affairs.

The project team collaborates with faculty to identify key competencies for the students in the course syllabus or in experiential learning opportunities.

“It’s all about preparing students for the future,” explained Dr. Shea. “The reality is we have no idea what careers will be available ten years from now. Ten years ago social media didn’t exist; 15 years ago Blackberries didn’t exist and look at the new career opportunities that those two inventions have created.”

Memorial has defined graduating student competencies in its 2011 Teaching and Learning Framework. This project will help make the articulation of these competencies a reality for students and instructors.

“The 21st century workplace requires students to be able to articulate their skills, abilities and talents in order to be resilient in the face of changing job markets and a global economy,” said Dr. Joy. “Students graduating with degrees or diplomas should understand the significant transferable competencies that can be applied to numerous other career choices.”

Dr. Joy went on to explain that, “What we have discovered is students tend to define themselves by their degree, instead of the competencies they develop throughout their university program. When students comment on the difficulty of finding work, we challenge them to consider the competencies gained as they earn their degree. With a little encouragement, the light bulb comes on as they begin to reflect on their broader skill set.”

For instance, when students give presentations in class they develop valuable communication and public speaking skills. When they write reports and essays they develop problem-solving skills. These are the types of transferable competencies that are desirable in virtually any career.  Memorial wants students to look at course syllabi and be able see not only the course content, but also the potential career competencies that may be developed. 

The project leaders are working in consultation with faculty and staff to introduce graduating student competencies in several courses. Moving forwards they hope to expand this concept across the university. Anyone interested in participating, or for further information, please contact ; ;