Learning for earning : undergraduate student affairs employment and postgraduate employability outcomes




Burnett, Christopher Aubrey

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Research has shown that college students have not graduated with capabilities beyond academic competency that facilitate their professional success post-graduation. Further, researchers have found that academic and industry specific knowledge alone is inadequate to secure graduates an occupation and meet the demands of the contemporary labor market. In addressing decreases in state and federal allocations for higher education and the added pressure to produce work-ready graduate’s, institutions have grappled with how to enhance student workforce and professional development. Divisions of student affairs at most postsecondary institutions across the country provide a context for the development of postgraduate employability by offering students job opportunities in the operation of divisional facilities, services and programs. These work experiences have been shown to support students’ academic, personal, and professional development. Using the undergraduate student employment experience, student affairs administrators can contribute to the employability mission of universities by facilitating student professional development through on campus jobs, internships, and field experiences. However, there is a curious deficiency in studies investigating alumni perceptions of what higher education experiences best developed their propensity for postgraduate employment. The purpose of this study was to investigate alumni perceptions of the impacts of undergraduate employment within programs and departments commonly associated with divisions of student affairs on the development of their postgraduate employability.


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