Core to Career

What Is “Core to Career”?

Core to Career is a professional development fellowship program at WSU that supports faculty members who are interested in intentionally incorporating career readiness into their UCORE general education courses.

UCORE remains committed to its central mission of providing WSU undergraduates with a broad general education to complement the depth of knowledge gained in their major areas of study. Too often though, students (and parents, and some faculty and advisors) fail to see the connections between this broad education and post-graduation employment prospects. However, employers repeatedly cite WSU’s undergraduate learning outcomes such as thinking critically, understanding diversity, and being adept at communication as among the most important qualities in potential hires.

To this end, UCORE aims to close this awareness gap by helping faculty to intentionally scaffold career-readiness competencies identified by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) into course and assignment design. The first cohort of Core to Career facuty participants met throughout fall 2021 semester and members have plans to incorporate career-readiness skill-building into their spring 2022 courses.

Faculty attending virtually.
Retired faculty member Carl Hauser (bottom left) funded the initial Core to Career effort and attended final presentations virtually with participants Michael Thomas and AJ Miller.

Career Readiness Defined

“Career readiness is a foundation from which to demonstrate requisite core competencies that broadly prepare the college educated for success in the workplace and lifelong career management. For new college graduates, career readiness is key to ensuring successful entrance into the workforce. Career readiness is the foundation upon which a successful career is launched. Career readiness is, quite simply, the new career currency.”

-National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)

Read about NACE’s career readiness initiative on its website. Included are descriptions of career competencies and the observable behaviors that students may exhibit.

Inaugural Cohort and Organizers

First faculty cohort
Faculty members and organizers in the fall 2021 inaugural Core to Career cohort. Pictured in-person (l. to r.): Z. Rost, L. Tsui, T. Edwards, E. Smelyansky, K. Watts, A. Heile, E. Tomson (front, kneeling), C. Stratton, K. Whalen, C. Cooney, A. Whitehall, J. Martin, K. Faunce, M. Goldsby. Faculty and organizers not pictured are D. Deford, J. Hewa, J. Martin, M. Thomas (attended virtually), A.J. Miller (attended virtually), and K. Phoenix.
  • Daryl Deford, Dept. of Mathematics and Statistics
  • Teena Edwards, Dept. of Strategic Communication
  • Ken Faunce, Dept. of History
  • Michael Goldsby, School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs
  • Amy Heile, Dept. of English
  • Jeanette Martin, Dept. of Mathematics and Statistics
  • A.J. Miller, School of Music
  • Eugene Smelyansky, Dept. of History
  • Michael Thomas, Dept. of English
  • Erin Tomson, Dept. of Strategic Communication
  • Lora Tsui, Dept. of Strategic Communication
  • Kate Watts, Dept. of English
  • Katy Whalen, Dept. of History
  • Anna Whitehall, Dept. of Human Development


  • Chris Cooney, Dept. of Management, Information Systems, and Entrepreneurship
  • Joe Hewa, Dept. of Human Development and Center for Transformational Learning and Leadership
  • Clif Stratton, DAESA/UCORE and Dept. of History
  • Zach Rost (staff)

Additional Resources

Provost Office’s Teach page
Explore this content area of the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President’s website, which contains resources, tips, tools, and techniques to support excellence and innovation in teaching.

Assignment Design Resources
Read guidance from the Office of Assessment for Curricular Effectiveness on developing powerful, clear assignments to impact teaching, learning, and assessment.

Required Learning Outcomes
Depending on the designation, your UCORE course will carry additional learning outcomes requirements.

UCORE Policy
View departmental responsibilities for class size, graduate student instructors, shared syllabi, and more.

Library Instruction
Emphasize information literacy by scheduling with a librarian a session that is specifically tailored to your course.

Syllabus Website
Use this website to confirm required syllabus elements and recommended syllabus elements before teaching a course.

Is the updated UCORE website meeting your needs? Tell us about your experience with a one-minute survey

An Awareness Gap

Public and private employers in Washington state and beyond demand that our graduates leave WSU with specialized, technical skills developed through major fields of studyas well as transferrable skills, or core competencie. These are offered through WSU’s UCORE program and expanded through major fields of study and co-curricular activities.

These competencies help our graduates be adaptable in an ever-changing economy and society.

Undergraduates, and faculty and advisors who mentor and counsel them, are often unable to articulate “career readiness” to potential employers. The Core to Career initiative aims to close this awareness gap. It is not enough for undergraduates to encounter disparate opportunities to develop and apply transferrable skill; they must also be able to see connections among them, to development them coherently and consistently across WSU’s undergraduate curriculum, and advocate for themselves in career and life beyond WSU.

A Work in Progress

Core to Career began with a generous donation from long-time WSU faculty member Carl Hauser, who is committed to the ideals of a broad general education. The initiative takes as its inspiration several successful models at other institutions, including Georgia State University, University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts, and Clemson University.

Like each of these programs, WSU’s Core to Career aims to build faculty capacity to prepare graduates for growth within and adaptation to an ever-changing employment landscape.

At WSU, this multi-year process began in Fall 2021 with an invited inaugural faculty-fellows cohort. These educators will introduce students to career competencies in their First-Year Experience (ROOT) and Foundational Competencies (WRTG, COMM, QUAN) UCORE courses.

The intention is that the fellows program will expand to other lower-division UCORE courses and campuses beyond Pullman in subsequent cohorts. The goal is that by 2024, it would be relatively difficult for a four-year matriculating undergraduate not to engage the habits of mind and action that signal career readiness in their first two years.