Impacting and Influencing the System to Support Student Career Readiness, Voice, and Efficacy: Development of an Experiential Service-Learning Course

Impacting and Influencing the System to Support Student Career Readiness, Voice, and Efficacy: Development of an Experiential Service-Learning Course

Jennifer Schneider (Community College of Philadelphia, USA)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1928-8.ch006
OnDemand PDF Download:
Available
$37.50
No Current Special Offers
TOTAL SAVINGS: $37.50

Abstract

This chapter provides context for the design of an experiential, service-learning-based capstone course that provides students with meaningful service-based learning experiences. Through experiential learning and publication opportunities, students develop transferable career development, communication, writing, and critical thinking skills. It is a related goal that students leave this course with improved self and collective efficacy and a fundamentally heightened awareness of their own potential to create positive change in their community.
Chapter Preview
Top

Introduction

Whereas John Maxwell characterizes leadership as “influence, nothing more nothing less” (John Maxwell Leadership Podcast, 2019, para. 1), Condoleeza Rice describes power as “nothing” unless one “can turn it into influence” (O Magazine, 2002, p. 7). At the intersection of leadership, influence, and power, Maxine Waters has emphasized both perspective and possibility and speaks to the importance of creating environments in which individuals “think of themselves as people with influence and power” (Thomas, 2018, para. 26). It is critical that educational systems and courses be designed in ways that support students, and associated student identity, as change agents with the potential to influence their lives and their communities. In particular, throughout all elements of their coursework, students should be encouraged, inspired, and empowered to reflect on their potential for change and impact and, in their role as agents of change (both presently and in the future), think confidently of themselves as capable of activating and leading social-justice related change in their own lives, contexts, and communities. Unfortunately, however, this does not always occur.

Research has consistently suggested, leadership, writing, and communication skills are lacking, to varying but noticeable degrees, in recent graduates and new hires. For example, oral and written communication skills, presentation skills, and other so-called soft skills are a critical component of workplace success (Rios et al., 2020; Sethi, 2016). Moreover, literature consistently emphasizes the importance of strong communication skills on success in business, legal, and other careers (Camacho, 2015; Clark & DeSanctis, 2013; Hampton, 2019; Vekaric & Jelic, 2013). However, despite the widely recognized and acknowledged importance of communication, written, and presentation skills, students often struggle in terms of mastery and transfer in this area. Nolop (2013), for example, describes a lack of strong writing skills as one of the most significant gaps in terms of workplace readiness. Relatedly, Leef (2015) writes of persistent and widespread awareness regarding challenges on the part of educational systems and programs to successfully ensure students acquire strong and transferable written communication skills. Additional emphasis on such skills and related opportunities for students to develop these skills and mindsets through their coursework remains both needed and critical.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Community-Based Learning: Provides space for students to engage in meaningful ways with their interests and to also tell their stories.

Service-Learning: Provides excellent conditions for this type of constructed knowledge to occur. When learners construct new knowledge most effectively when they are in the process of constructing something external which they can examine for themselves and discuss with others” ( Picard et al., 2004 , p. 262).

Experiential Learning: Provides an opportunity for students to develop transferable career development, communication, writing, and critical thinking skills.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset