Successful Transitions From College to Career (C2C)

Successful Transitions From College to Career (C2C)

Jennifer (Jenny) L. Penland (Sul Ross State University, USA) and Dawne Raines Burke (Shepherd University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3873-8.ch018


For many minority, first generation, and other under-represented students at two small universities, graduation and a successful career seem almost out of reach. Lack of preparation, lack of confidence, and lack of career-focused experiential learning opportunities leave students feeling frustrated and result often in their early departure from higher education. This newly developed and piloted experiential learning educational program provides opportunities that allow students to grow and develop inside and outside the classroom. Through community building and regional partnerships—enmeshed in a visible number of academic departments campus wide—the researchers endeavored to promote engaged and active learning. Engaged, active learning encourages students' connections with college resources with diversified programming that includes (a) internships, (b) service learning communities, (c) experiential immersions, (d) undergraduate research platforms, and (e) capstone projects, all of which directly correlate with increased retention and persistence in higher education.
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Since 1984, David Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) has been a leading influence in the development of learner-centered pedagogy in management and business. It forms the basis of Kolb’s own Learning Styles’ Inventory and those of other authors including Honey and Mumford (2000). It also provides powerful underpinning for the emphasis, nay insistence, on reflection as a way of learning and the use of reflective practice in the preparation of students for business, management, and various other professions.

The concept of experiential learning explores cyclical pattern for all formative learning from experience through reflection and conceptualization to action incorporating not only expansive experience but also summative metacognition. Kolb's Experiential Learning Cycle now forms the heart of many training and learning events. It also describes the process for recording continuous professional development, through taking time to capture, record, and implement learning in daily, routine working-life activities. The model has been adapted and used in many ways.

David Kolb's work has influenced the ongoing work of many in the learning, development, and education fields. The National Society for Experiential Education (2004) is a membership association and networking resource operation promoting experience-based approaches to teaching and learning. The society’s site has an extensive resource library. With aims to construct productive, positive ends, the society “contribute[s] to making a more just and compassionate world by transforming education” one learning experience at a time (The National Society for Experiential Education, 2004).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Undergraduate Research: Undergraduate research is typically initiated by a faculty mentor and provides a student with actively contested questions, empirical observation, cutting-edge technologies, and the sense of excitement that comes from working to answer important questions.

Internships: Internships are another increasingly common form of experiential learning that provide students with direct experience in a work setting—usually related to their career interests—and to give them the benefit of supervision and coaching from professionals in the field.

C2CT: College to career transitions are a triangulation of social, psychological, and situational experiences that prompt students to increasingly, yet easily make conversions from class places to work spaces.

C2C: College to career pathways that incrementally and effectively mentor students from the class places to the work spaces.

Capstone/ Preservice Field Experiences: These culminating experiences require students nearing the end of their college years to create a project that integrates and applies what they have learned.

Experiential Learning: Experiential learning is an approach to education that focuses on learning by doing or on the participant's subjective experience. The role of the educator is to design direct experiences that include preparatory and reflective exercises.

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