Two current Student Fellows facilitated an Adams Center session on professional development. The following is a summary they wrote on the session.

Intro: Two Adams Center Student Fellows, Sam O’Quinn and Ellie Pitcock spoke to faculty about professional development perspectives. They spoke about their own exposure to career readiness through their respective departments: the College of Business Administration and the Department of Teacher Education. Based on their experiences, they offered two suggestions and two solutions for how faculty can better integrate professional development into their coursework. They closed out the luncheon time with a robust discussion focusing on active and tangible ways professionalism can be partnered in the classroom.

Suggestion 1: Bring people into the classroom to connect with students.

Solution 1: Professors can bring in connections they’ve created from networking or personal relationships. This brings new perspectives that differ from what professors have to offer and allows for student networking and application of classroom concepts.

Discussion: During the discussion on solution one, they stressed the importance of how these outside resources can lead to potential job or internship offerings in fields that the student might not have even considered beforehand. Reaching out to host a professional in class doesn’t have to be complicated. You can call up old college roommates, former coworkers, and even childhood friends. If they are unavailable to come in person due to distance or time constraints, the rise in the popularity of platforms like Zoom makes it easy to host an online speaker.

Suggestion 2: ACU should be a stepping stone for professionalism by exploring beyond Abilene to see how classroom concepts are applied to the outside world.

Solution 2: Professors can take small groups of students to learn about niche areas of their profession. This allows students to see the structural differences between local Abilene businesses and how other community businesses function.

Discussion: During the discussion on solution two, they emphasized how impactful it is when students get the opportunity to travel outside of the ACU bubble to see where their learning applies to the real world. Touring real-life businesses can give students a glimpse into what their post-college career might look like and a unique opportunity to see their field on a larger scale. They encourage faculty to look beyond traditional travel opportunities and consider unique circumstances like bringing a couple of students along to a conference you were already planning on personally attending.

They ended with final discussion questions:
What alternative professions, besides the obvious in your department, can be integrated into your curriculum or particular class?
What obstacles get in the way of you pursuing professional development opportunities in your classes or department? How can you mitigate these obstacles?
What is one tangible step you can take in one class to create professional development opportunities for your students?
Who might you go to in your department that can help you execute or facilitate these ideas and opportunities?

Professional Development Slides