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.