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Developing a Backup Plan: Implementing a Career-Planning Course for Undergraduate Biology Majors

    Authors: Julianne M. Winters1, Haizhi Wang2, Laura E. Duwel3, Elizabeth A. Spudich4, Jennifer S. Stanford5,*
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-3140; 2: Brown University, Butler Hospital, Providence, RI 02906; 3: Department of Biology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104; 4: Department of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107; 5: Department of Biology, CASTLE, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. October 2018 vol. 19 no. 3 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i3.1449
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    Abstract:

    Career-planning courses are known to be effective career interventions for undergraduates, but their effect on developing alternate career plans was previously unknown. Forming alternate career plans increases the likelihood that students have viable career options available to them upon graduation because it encourages students to realistically consider multiple possibilities. Here we describe a one-term career-planning course developed in the context of an undergraduate biology curriculum. We assessed whether this course promoted development of primary and alternate career plans using a pre/post survey. We saw a significant increase in the percentage of students indicating they had plans aimed at achieving primary (increase of 37%) and alternate (increase of 48%) career goals from the beginning to the end of the course. Preliminary outcomes suggest that implementation of this course correlates with an increase in the percentage of students who indicate they have a job after graduation (increase of 16%). This type of course could be implemented in many other contexts to support career development in diverse fields.

References & Citations

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2. Spokane AR, Oliver LW 1983 The outcomes of vocational intervention Handbook Vocat Psychol 2 99 136
3. Lent RW, Larkin KC, Hasegawa CS 1986 Effects of a “focused interest” career course approach for college students Vocat Guid Q 34 151 159 10.1002/j.2164-585X.1986.tb01117.x http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/j.2164-585X.1986.tb01117.x
4. Oliver LW, Spokane AR 1988 Career-intervention outcome: what contributes to client gain? J Counsel Psychol 35 447 10.1037/0022-0167.35.4.447 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-0167.35.4.447
5. Whiston SC, Sexton TL, Lasoff DL 1998 Career-intervention outcome: a replication and extension of Oliver and Spokane (1988) J Counsel Psychol 45 150 10.1037/0022-0167.45.2.150 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-0167.45.2.150
6. Macera MH, Cohen SH 2006 Psychology as a profession: an effective career exploration and orientation course for undergraduate psychology majors Career Dev Q 54 367 371 10.1002/j.2161-0045.2006.tb00201.x http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/j.2161-0045.2006.tb00201.x
7. Fouad N, Cotter EW, Kantamneni N 2009 The effectiveness of a career decision-making course J Career Assess 17 338 347 10.1177/1069072708330678 http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1069072708330678
8. Freeman E 2012 The design and implementation of a career orientation course for undergraduate majors Coll Teach 60 154 163 10.1080/87567555.2012.669424 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/87567555.2012.669424
9. Lally PS, Kerr GA 2005 The career planning, athletic identity, and student role identity of intercollegiate student athletes Res Q Exercise Sport 76 275 285 10.1080/02701367.2005.10599299 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02701367.2005.10599299
10. Boyle T, Phelps R 2010 Pathways to teaching: a curriculum innovation enhancing recognition of students’ career aspirations and expectations: redesigning curriculum to acknowledge diversity Int J Learn 17 357
11. Colleges AoAM 2016 US medical school applications and matriculants by school, state of legal residence, and sex, 2015–16
12. Colleges AoAM 2016 MCAT scores and GPAs for applicants and matriculants to US medical schools, 2006–2007 through 2015–2016
13. Boyatzis R, Boyatzis RE, Akrivou K 2006 The ideal self as the driver of intentional change J Manage Dev 25 624 642 10.1108/02621710610678454 http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/02621710610678454
14. Boyatzis R, Boyatzis RE 2006 An overview of intentional change from a complexity perspective J Manage Dev 25 607 623 10.1108/02621710610678445 http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/02621710610678445
15. Boyatzis R, McKee A 2006 Intentional change J Organiz Excel 25 49 60 10.1002/joe.20100 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/joe.20100
16. Slavich GM, Zimbardo PG 2012 Transformational teaching: theoretical underpinnings, basic principles, and core methods Educ Psychol Rev 24 569 608 10.1007/s10648-012-9199-6 23162369 3498956 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10648-012-9199-6
17. Stonewater JK, Daniels MH 1983 Psychosocial and cognitive development in a career decision-making course J Coll Student Person 24 5 403 410

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2018-10-31
2019-02-18

Abstract:

Career-planning courses are known to be effective career interventions for undergraduates, but their effect on developing alternate career plans was previously unknown. Forming alternate career plans increases the likelihood that students have viable career options available to them upon graduation because it encourages students to realistically consider multiple possibilities. Here we describe a one-term career-planning course developed in the context of an undergraduate biology curriculum. We assessed whether this course promoted development of primary and alternate career plans using a pre/post survey. We saw a significant increase in the percentage of students indicating they had plans aimed at achieving primary (increase of 37%) and alternate (increase of 48%) career goals from the beginning to the end of the course. Preliminary outcomes suggest that implementation of this course correlates with an increase in the percentage of students who indicate they have a job after graduation (increase of 16%). This type of course could be implemented in many other contexts to support career development in diverse fields.

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1

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FIGURE 1

The career-planning course significantly increased the percentage of students who felt they had primary and alternate career goals and plans. Data represent the percentage of student respondents who indicated having the goals and plans designated on the x axis. Pre-course surveys had an = 304; post-course surveys had an = 157. *<0.05 (Power >0.85)

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. October 2018 vol. 19 no. 3 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i3.1449
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

The career-planning course had different effects on many students’ development of primary and alternate career plans. Data represent the percentage of students who selected each of these options regarding how the course affected their primary and alternate plans ( = 157).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. October 2018 vol. 19 no. 3 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i3.1449
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FIGURE 3

Students indicated distinct reasons for why they did not have primary or alternate career plans at the end of the career-planning course. Data represent the percentage of students who selected each of these options for why they do not yet have a primary (=14) or alternate plan (=34). The final option (I won’t pursue this career goal) was only provided as an option for students without an alternate plan.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. October 2018 vol. 19 no. 3 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i3.1449
Download as Powerpoint

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