Across the United States, community college enrolments have been significantly depressed by the pandemic’s impact on prospective students. In fact, community college enrolment in spring 2021 fell 9.5 percent year on year. That’s a loss of about 476,000 students, contributing to the largest total enrolment decline in higher education in more than a decade.
Tara’s family never had much money, but her mother instilled in her a love of learning from a young age. Tara’s mum had grown up with dyslexia and little support. She wanted better for her bookworm daughter and stressed the importance of going to college. As a young adult, Tara worked full time in order to take affordable college courses online. But she struggled to balance work and family demands with the demands of college.
A common challenge new graduates face when starting their career is discovering that their degree doesn’t easily translate into practice. It can leave them feeling overwhelmed and ill equipped to handle certain professional situations, especially crises.
Technology has become a vital tool for universities, enabling them to keep things turning for students in the past 18 months when they haven’t been physically present at workshops and lectures. Now is the time to step this up another gear and use this technology to ensure students are prepared for the demands of the workplace.
Employers often lament new graduates lacking the basic skills that can contribute to the workplace. Indeed, many of us of in the older generation would agree that most of what we learned at university, if we remember it at all, has served us little in our professional lives. For HE to bridge the skills gap and ensure that university graduates add economic and societal value, it must address three questions: what skills are students being taught? How are students really learning them (if at all)? And how effective are they in the workplace?
A major challenge facing university careers services has always been how to deliver a service to all students without an army of staff allowing for one-to-one student engagement. Many have gone down the route of embedding employability in the curriculum (or extracting it) to make it structurally unavoidable and, while this approach supports the understanding and development of skills, it doesn’t guarantee that students will engage in personal career planning.
Students are more focused than ever on personal and professional development, given the recent dramatic reduction in traditional opportunities such as work experience or volunteering.
This summer marked a decade since the US entrepreneur and software engineer Marc Andreessen famously predicted that “software is eating the world”.
Many early career researchers hear mentoring spoken of in hushed, reverential tones. It is, they’re told, something that changes people’s lives (professionally, at least).
Unfortunately, in many cases, it’s never something they experience firsthand.
When I was a graduate student in the late 1990s, the North American labour market was undergoing a profound (albeit gradual, in modern terms) shift. A still nascent but booming internet economy, expanding international trade agreements and the offshoring of industrial jobs led to mass factory and plant closures.
We are all navigating the post-pandemic higher education landscape as novices, figuring out what new skills are needed. For researchers, this centres around how to successfully engage with a world emerging from Covid-19 and develop their research capabilities. So how might institutions create an environment where skills development can be based on authentic reflections, conversations and practice?