Institutions Should Offer Information Update Courses for Alumni

Institutions Should Offer Information Update Courses for Alumni
Ongoing education is an imperative in today’s labor market, and higher education institutions should take steps to ensure their graduates always have the skills they need by offering courses specifically aimed at providing them with updated skills.

Having graduated in 2008 in the heart of a recession, finding employment was difficult. I was not successful but went back to my previous career in retail. After more than two years of applying for various jobs, I was offered a position with a company I still work for.

I graduated from my marketing program in December 2008 and my new job started in April 2011. I reviewed my notes from school but quickly realized, although the theories were still sound, the technology they had been communicated through was different from what I was expected to know in my new job. I had a good friend in Internet marketing who gave me a crash course so I was at least familiar with the terminology.

In the roughly two years I was out of school, Facebook and Twitter had taken over pretty much everything, especially in the worlds of marketing and communications. Everyone checked Facebook multiple times a day, had these apps on their phones, and it was the main way people communicated. Companies jumped on the bandwagon and started updating their Facebook pages and keeping in contact with customers through tweets.

Although it’s not the school’s responsibility to monitor graduates, more support for graduating students would be beneficial. Special upgrade courses about each field offered a year after graduation would be helpful not only to the alumni but also for the school to get feedback on what changes could be made to curricula as per the changing economies or changes in the different fields. It could be a win-win situation.

In my case, a course on Internet marketing and the changes in social media in marketing would have been beneficial. The increase in companies utilizing different media had increased exponentially in my two years out of school and I felt left behind. Now that I have been working in the industry for two years, I feel a bit left behind again. I work in a traditional side of my field and the move towards the digital age is unavoidable. I will have to source out my own training if I wish to stay up to date in my field and to move up in the industry. Colleges and universities can use this to their advantage by offering upgrading courses, refreshers and by staying in touch with alumni.

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Readers Comments

Tyrese Banner 2013/07/15 at 9:04 am

While it would be nice for institutions to do this type of proactive outreach, the reality is that very few have the resources to do so. Thus, the onus should be on alumni to stay in contact with their institutions and identify opportunities to return to update their skills.

Lisa C 2013/07/15 at 4:19 pm

I am confused as to the point of this article. Isn’t Janovich just describing continuing education courses?

    Peter Laramie 2013/07/15 at 11:51 pm

    Institutions often put a ton of resources into attracting new enrollment when it’s much easier to attract repeat students, who are already familiar with an institution and its offerings. This seems to be a creative and easy way to increase enrollment for institutions. And, as Janovich mentions, it’s also an opportunity for alumni to “report back” from the field on what is/isn’t useful in the existing curriculum.

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