Dr. Jennifer Browne
The Rob Shea Research Award recognizes significant research in areas of career practice and schools-to-work transition. This year's recipient is Dr. Jennifer Browne, Director of Student Life at Memorial University where she provides leadership over a number of areas. Jennifer recently attained her doctorate in Leadership in Higher Education from Western University where she completed her Dissertation in Practice titled Addressing the Skills Awareness Gap through Impactful On-Campus Employment. Dr. Browne's work highlights how co-curricular experiences, such as on-campus employment, give students the skills they need to enter the workforce.
Understanding the gap:
The pressure and expectations on institutions of higher education to ensure that graduates are equipped with the skills required to successfully transition from a learning environment to the work force are increasing. Growing societal and political expectations to effectively prepare post-secondary graduates for successful career outcomes are also intensifying. Ongoing criticism from employers indicates that many new graduates lack career readiness to enter the workforce, due to the absence of required skills, often referred to as a skills gap. These skills are regularly identified as soft, human, or non-technical, and transferrable across multiple settings.
Dr. Browne's research counters that position, and proposes that the issue is not a skills gap but rather a skills awareness gap, with graduates unaware and unable to articulate the skills gained from various curricular and co-curricular learning experiences throughout university.
To address this problem, Dr. Browne proposes a solution of redesigning a large, on-campus employment program into a High Impact Practice, and increasing students’ awareness of the transferrable employability skills acquired though this experience. To learn more about Dr. Browne's research, please visit: https://www.edu.uwo.ca/news-events/2022/emphasizing-students-work-skills.html
Congratulations Dr. Browne and thank you for this important contribution to advancing the career development field.