The purpose and value attributed to higher education has broadened in recent years to go beyond educating a global citizenry to include the employability and skills of our graduates and the expectations of their future employers.

The Humboldt State University community remains committed to the social value of a college bachelor’s education as core to the development of life long learning skills and engaged global citizenship. In support of this goal, we have become more proactive and creative in our support to help students actively connect their academic, disciplinary experience to their career options and aspirations. Throughout this process we have come to recognize the opportunity this work offers to bridge the gap between academic and student support staff allowing multiple departments and divisions across campus to work toward the success of our students.

There is currently little available in terms of literature and research addressing career curriculum, practices related to teaching career readiness, or the pedagogical benefits of adding career components to existing courses. The vast majority of resources and literature approaches career services on college campuses through the lens of psychology, counseling and advising. While this is understandable, the demands for increased marketability of bachelors’ degrees have led to innovation and collaboration that has brought career services out of the periphery and into the field of academic affairs.

In efforts to address these needs, this working paper series is designed to enable a broader conversation about career curriculum and support anyone who works in this field as faculty, professional staff, or students on the receiving end of our collective efforts.

We have four areas of particular interest over the 2017-18 and 2018-2019 academic years regarding this unique approach to integrating academic disciplines and career preparation within major curriculum:

Discipline Specific Orientation: HSU’s unique contribution to the field is the discipline-specific design that allows programs to ensure they are able to maintain the integrity of their disciplines, integrate valuable practices that have been shown to enhance their curriculum, help students market their major-specific experience and demonstrate their employability.

Most of the literature on career development for college students addresses the extra-curricular or co-curricular services of career centers. Some of the literature seeks to address career-related courses and co-curricular, elective programs and even a few universities have large-scale, integrated efforts that require some career readiness interventions for their students.

Student Impact: By connecting curriculum with aspirations and interests that go beyond the four years a student spends in college, the material gains a new level of relevancy and the assignments afford new connections between students, faculty and staff. Integrating career education within majors appears to meet the criteria pertaining to high-impact practices and already shows promise in positively affecting student retention, major retention, graduation rates and classroom performance. Our efforts over the next couple years will be to back up this assertion with data and assessment of these integrated programs.

Equity: In traditional models of education, students who are comfortable approaching faculty or staff and navigating professional environments are the students who primarily receive support, instruction, and mentorship on preparing for their professional and future academic endeavors. Research demonstrates that our First Generation College Students (FGCS) and Underrepresented Groups (URGs) are the students who need these interventions the most to ensure efficacy and increased career capital. Embedding professional development within the curriculum secures a greater degree of equity for all students.

Curriculum and Pedagogy: There is a dearth literature on career curriculum and course design, therefore there is need to share and provide resources on best practices, innovative design, assessment, course design and program level implementation.

We are interested in promoting discussion and encourage papers from any and all people in this field. Our intention is to increase awareness and promote success, opportunity and the efficacy of integrating career education into curriculum. We will publish material either under a process of peer review or editor only review in an effort to ensure standards while broadening the scope of case studies and to encourage those who may not have the time for longer-term, formal research can contribute to the collective knowledge.




Assessing Career Planning Courses without using test scores: another neglected issue?, Alison Holmes PhD and Loren Collins MA


Career Planning and Curriculum Integration: millennials on the ‘lost’ coast, Alison Holmes PhD and Loren Collins MA