Published on 2012/03/08

Wanted: Professional Input In Higher Education

Wanted: Professional Input In Higher Education
Professional experience and input is crucial to higher education providing relevant programming in the future. Photo by Andreas Johannsen.

For the next 20 years, I believe and feel that the economy itself will be in a different position and the jobs that we consider in demand now will become obsolete depending upon budgetary concerns. For one, the social services industry has always been a valued asset to the government, community and helping others. According to Hatch (2000), social services grew twice as rapidly as health services during the 1990s, increasing employment by 70 percent or more than a million employees (p. 14). Now this growth can continue because there is always a need for individuals who need support in the areas of providing psychosocial support, child care, and even monitoring of group and foster homes. Today, the majority of this industry is affected by the government and this growth can begin to change in the next ten years if the people in Washington and local counties don’t budget correctly.

The Bureau of Labor & Statistics (2009) supports my argument by stating that “Demand for child and family social workers should continue, as these workers are needed to investigate child abuse cases, place children in foster care and with adoptive families. However, growth for these workers may be hampered by the budget constraints of state and local governments, who are amongst the largest employers of these workers.”

To overcome these challenges, my suggestion would be is to have industry-minded professionals come into higher education institutions and suggest what majors will make students employable once they graduate. Another valid piece of information that these higher education institutions are missing are mandatory internships or mandatory work experience prior to graduation. Although, it is offered in every way and manner through academic advising and career services of these big colleges, but if students, in my opinion, do not have it part of their curriculum then they will choose not to pursue it.

For these higher education institutions to flourish, industry-minded professionals need to be in these schools as teachers, academic advisors, administration and even teacher assistants. These professionals are the only ones who will be aware of the trends that take place in the job industry. Otherwise, the higher education institutions will fail when it comes to making students employable and marketable upon graduation. For a school that can only provide a piece of paper is a waste of time and money and can hinder upon the school’s reputation in the long run.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (2009, December 17). Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Social Workers. Retrieved from

Hatch, J. and Clinton, A. (2000). Job growth in the 1990s: A Retrospect. Monthly Labor Review. Retrieved from

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Readers Comments

Phil Maurice 2012/03/08 at 4:36 pm

Absolutely. Those who don’t know, teach.

How can we expect new generations to come through and be successful if their only exposure to the field is someone who couldn’t (or decided not to) cut it in the workplace?

Frank Palatnick 2012/03/15 at 1:46 pm

Aren’t there already business executives that are teaching in our colleges and universities ? Look at some of the backgrounds of some of the professors in Harvard and Yale. Their Business Schools have several business administrators and executives teaching there. Unless you want those business professionals to teach the common core subjects like ‘ STEM ‘. I am all for having a school-career relationship. However, in my opinion, the teaching of STEM and similar courses should be allotted to teachers who have mastered those disciplines.

Frank Palatnick 2012/03/15 at 2:02 pm

In terms of your statement ” Those who don’t know, teach “, I take exception. In my opinion, teachers are very highly skilled professionals who deserve our sincere gratitude. Students who have graduated from some elementary, secondary, tertiary and post graduate schools have become boons to our society. A great educator should be lauded for her profession. Take Ann Sullivan, Mother Teresa, John Dewey, Malcolm Knowles and similar individuals. Educators have motivated many individuals to arrive at a higher level of understanding. Take the Ron Clark Story. They have made documentaries about highly successful educators.

Daniel Umstead 2012/04/12 at 11:02 pm

Frank and Phil,

I appreciate both of your gentelmen’s input on the article first and foremost. To start with Phil, I don’t think I meant it to come off that way where if they couldn’t make it in the corporate world to step in a classroom. I from my own background have not seen business professionals as much as they should be in classrooms, more importantly speaking with higher education administration on changing curriculum to better the new generation of schools where a job will become a necessity when they graduate.

Frank, I agree with you that yes there are those colleges and universities that do not have leaders come from the corporate and business world to let the future leaders of tomorrow of what to expect. My problem is that some of these majors and academic programs are not willing to enough to step up to the plate and admit that the program will not become efficient or marketable in the next 20 years. Forbes came out with a recent article on the worst master’s degrees to major in and English was one of them, #26. ( Now for something like this, where you have a top notch school like Emory or Hamilton University ( that are known for their English department. Somebody needs to step in and say, Hey! Either change the curriculum to make the students have jobs once they graduate or close out the program.

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