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Higher Education Institutions Must be Accountable for Student Success, In and Out of the Ivory Tower

In an article for the Huffington Post, Susan Brennan, the executive director of career services at Bentley University, argued that it was time for career counselors to make their voices heard on campus.

Writing in the wake of a national crisis of confidence facing American colleges and universities, Brennan argued it was the role of career services advisors to ensure students would see return on their higher education investment.

“Very few have the luxury to go to college to learn for the sake of learning, without some goals in mind. And very few get hired for a job based on pure intellect,” she wrote. “Employers need people who, on day one, have the skills to do a job.”

She wrote that programming needed to become more focused on job readiness. Not to say that the liberal arts were worth scrapping, but instead suggesting that institutions pair liberal arts learning with marketable skills. Pointing to Bentley University’s system of blending business and arts and science learning, she says the approach leads to well-rounded, workforce-ready graduates.

“This approach helps expand the way students look at things, the way they communicate, the experiences they have and how they solve problems.”

Further, she argued career advisors must be more aggressive in ensuring that students at their college or university have a sense of where they are going with their education from day one.

“The minute they walk onto campus, we should be reaching out to first-year students to help them learn how their passions can translate into a job,” she wrote. “It will take a four-year “hire education” approach that encourages exploration, and emphasizes practical experience gained through internships, class projects, activities and networking.”

Ultimately, she said, higher education institutions must be held accountable for their students. Not only in their time of completion and their pathway to a certification, but in terms of what they can do with their certification and knowledge once they leave the ivory tower.