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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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3. Lent RW, Larkin KC, Hasegawa CS1986Effects of a “focused interest” career course approach for college studentsVocat Guid Q3415115910.1002/j.2164-585X.1986.tb01117.x http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/j.2164-585X.1986.tb01117.x
4. Oliver LW, Spokane AR1988Career-intervention outcome: what contributes to client gain?J Counsel Psychol3544710.1037/0022-0167.35.4.447 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-0167.35.4.447
5. Whiston SC, Sexton TL, Lasoff DL1998Career-intervention outcome: a replication and extension of Oliver and Spokane (1988)J Counsel Psychol4515010.1037/0022-0167.45.2.150 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-0167.45.2.150
6. Macera MH, Cohen SH2006Psychology as a profession: an effective career exploration and orientation course for undergraduate psychology majorsCareer Dev Q5436737110.1002/j.2161-0045.2006.tb00201.x http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/j.2161-0045.2006.tb00201.x
7. Fouad N, Cotter EW, Kantamneni N2009The effectiveness of a career decision-making courseJ Career Assess1733834710.1177/1069072708330678 http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1069072708330678
8. Freeman E2012The design and implementation of a career orientation course for undergraduate majorsColl Teach6015416310.1080/87567555.2012.669424 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/87567555.2012.669424
9. Lally PS, Kerr GA2005The career planning, athletic identity, and student role identity of intercollegiate student athletesRes Q Exercise Sport7627528510.1080/02701367.2005.10599299 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02701367.2005.10599299
10. Boyle T, Phelps R2010Pathways to teaching: a curriculum innovation enhancing recognition of students’ career aspirations and expectations: redesigning curriculum to acknowledge diversityInt J Learn17357
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17. Stonewater JK, Daniels MH1983Psychosocial and cognitive development in a career decision-making courseJ Coll Student Person245403410

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2018-10-31
2018-12-18

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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