A professional development program with an assessed eportfolio

A practical solution for engaging undergraduates with their career development in large student cohorts

Julia K. Choate, Maria Demaria, Michelle Etheve, Sandy Cran, David Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Undergraduate biomedical science degree-programs are considered to be non-vocational, with a diverse range of career outcomes. At our university, student and academic feedback indicated that biomedical science students were anxious and uncertain about their career options. In response to this careers anxiety, an in-curriculum, course-wide and assessed professional development program (PDP) was developed and delivered into the biomedical science degree-program by an integrated team of careers educators and biomedical academics. This program aimed to engage a large cohort of biomedical students (>1000) with their career development, improving their careers awareness and reducing their anxiety about careers options. The impacts of the program on students’ career and employability skills development, as well as their self-reported levels of psychological distress, were evaluated with on-line anonymous student surveys. Student engagement with the program was linked with program assessment submission rates and student interactions with the University Careers Service. Completion of the program increased students’ careers knowledge and confidence, enhanced their awareness of career options and employability skills and increased their engagement with the University Careers Service. It did not alter students’ self-reported levels of depression, anxiety and stress, but students who rated themselves poorly on careers awareness and confidence statements were more likely to have severe depression, anxiety and stress. This program provides a practical approach for students’ career and employability skills development in large cohorts, but could be expanded to include an intervention to reduce student anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-103
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Biomedical science
  • Career development
  • EPortfolio
  • Graduate employability
  • Undergraduate

Cite this

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abstract = "Undergraduate biomedical science degree-programs are considered to be non-vocational, with a diverse range of career outcomes. At our university, student and academic feedback indicated that biomedical science students were anxious and uncertain about their career options. In response to this careers anxiety, an in-curriculum, course-wide and assessed professional development program (PDP) was developed and delivered into the biomedical science degree-program by an integrated team of careers educators and biomedical academics. This program aimed to engage a large cohort of biomedical students (>1000) with their career development, improving their careers awareness and reducing their anxiety about careers options. The impacts of the program on students’ career and employability skills development, as well as their self-reported levels of psychological distress, were evaluated with on-line anonymous student surveys. Student engagement with the program was linked with program assessment submission rates and student interactions with the University Careers Service. Completion of the program increased students’ careers knowledge and confidence, enhanced their awareness of career options and employability skills and increased their engagement with the University Careers Service. It did not alter students’ self-reported levels of depression, anxiety and stress, but students who rated themselves poorly on careers awareness and confidence statements were more likely to have severe depression, anxiety and stress. This program provides a practical approach for students’ career and employability skills development in large cohorts, but could be expanded to include an intervention to reduce student anxiety.",
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