Karla Karcioglu, Contributor Ω
Compared to other post-secondary institutions, TRU is successfully educating its students in academics and assisting them post-graduation in finding employment.
What makes TRU stand out from other universities is they are merging the academic side of the university with career education.
“We’re a little university,” said Shawn Read, student employment coordinator at TRU, “But we are trying to do some innovative things.”
TRU’s career education department has just 12 staff members working hard to provide more than 13,000 students and countless alumni with an abundance of services and education in and outside of the classroom.
“TRU is closer to getting it right than many other universities”, said Paul Smith, executive director of the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE).
CACEE is a national non-profit partnership of employer recruiters and career services professionals that was formed in 1946 and aims to “help career service professional and employers have access to strong professional networks and professional development opportunities.”
Smith said mission statements from most other universities don’t include any mention of jobs or careers, despite the data showing the majority of post-secondary students are at these institutions with the intention of getting a career.
Read and Larry Iles, career education coordinator at TRU, hosted a webinar event with CACEE for other post-secondary institutions, explaining their methods for integrating career education into academic learning at TRU.
“For the last 10 years we’ve been trying to move the career education department into the academic realm of TRU,” Read said. “It’s important for us to be in the classroom as much as possible with our students and to teach them the fundamentals of their career planning and development for their future, so that when they leave these walls they are prepared for the next phase of their life.”
The career education department has been working with various programs to bring their resources and knowledge to classes and to talk to students about the labour market, job prospects and marketing their skills. On top of that, they’ve focused on providing tailored events for students in different programs. They’ve also worked to establish co-op as a for-credit elective within some programs.
Forseille credits TRU’s small size as a key component in the departments success. She said it’s easy to call up various people and departments on campus and to work together on new career education programs.
Read said the history of TRU, having developed as a multi-purpose institution with a variety of program types, might play a part in the university’s success with career education. Read said, “because of that I think we’re more open to new ideas and new possibilities.”
“It’s not about taking away from the classroom’s academic education, but about adding to it,” Read said. “When you combine [academics and career education] together that is a very powerful education for our students. That is why I think our department is really motivated. Because we see how important that is to the overall education.”
“I think we owe it to students to support them in their career development,” Forseille said.
Read and Forseille both emphasized the role students play in their own career education.
“Don’t trust that there will be work at the end of your degree, you’ve got to make it happen,” Forseille said.