Are Universities Actually Equipping Students with the Tools for Future Success?
Higher education has been charged with a two-pronged approach to equipping students with the tools for future success. Universities must get students ready for employment today and prepare them for a future we can’t see.
How successful are they?
Getting ready for employment today
Real world success depends on whether or not you are prepared for employment after you complete your education. You expect to have obtained a specific set of skills that make you marketable as well as integral in today’s business world.
Businesses expect graduates who not only have developed excellent problem-solving skills and developed an area of expertise but can also work as a collaborative team member who demonstrates competent communication skills.
Universities have it within their power to equip students with the skills they need to compete in the workplace, and they can do it with three things: technology, professors who are competent in their field of study, and a relevant curriculum.
Preparing for a future we can’t see
In addition to teaching university students higher-order thinking skills, most colleges are trying to be relevant not only in today’s world but also in the future. Higher education institutions have been charged with preparing students for a future that has not arrived.
This future will likely include automation and artificial intelligence, but it’s difficult to gauge what that means for all industries and businesses.
The University of Sydney is already reaching for the future by requiring hands-on projects, studies in cultural awareness and learning language for improved communication. The additional requirements are lengthening the time it takes to complete an undergraduate degree, but the school is hoping that any drawbacks will be outnumbered by potential benefits.
The University of Maryland-Baltimore County has implemented many innovative strategies designed to be responsive to student need. It focuses on producing T-shaped employees, which it calls “those with deep technical knowledge and broad business and people skills.” To meet this challenge, the school has redesigned courses and increase Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) requirements.
Harvey Mudd University, the private liberal arts college with a STEM focus, considers itself a visionary when it comes to preparing students for their careers, and so do the businesses that hire them. Students sharpen their critical thinking skills and undertake programs requiring deep study. Harvey Mudd may be one of the best schools for preparing students for an unseen future.
These aren’t the only colleges and universities that are preparing students for not only today’s jobs but also a workforce of the future. Many more schools are making significant changes to their programs.
Are universities actually equipping students with the tools for future success?