Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 10-30-2017


Career preparation during college is increasingly an area of interest and concern not only for the parents, family and friends of prospective students, but administrators, politicians, and even the average taxpayer. As costs continue to rise, the ‘value’ of higher education is no longer based primarily on the goal of preparing a future generation to participate in, and to lead a democratic civil society, but on how competitive students will be in the global marketplace as a result. Humboldt State University is located approximately 300 miles north of San Francisco in a relatively isolated region known as the ‘lost coast’, famous for old growth redwoods and a dramatic coastline. Over the past five years, HSU has started to take seriously the challenge of connecting the ideals of a relatively small, liberal arts school to the changing goals and aspirations of an increasingly diverse student body in the context of an ever more connected world.

This paper seeks to do two things. First, to briefly outline current questions in the field of career development with a view to better understanding how the stated goals of the millennial generation affect their ideas of ‘career’ and ‘success’. Second, to offer Humboldt State University as a case study by examining the way these issues have influenced the development of career education in the HSU’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS), specifically the International Studies Program.

The argument is that while the overarching goals of millennials are not so very unusual or different from their predecessors, career education needs to adapt to meet specific needs of our students. Further, that this is best done through a strategy that combines traditional ‘user activated’ services, with intentional ‘scaffolding’ designed by each college – ideally by each department or program. The objective is to offer other and/or similar institutions a framework that includes a range of approaches to embedding career education into the academic curriculum in a way that not only meets the range of needs of our students, but also connects the liberal arts education campus to the classroom of the world.