College Leaders Face A Paradigm Shift

by Roth, Bob Thursday, February 03, 2011
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College Presidents and Board Members are starting to respond to the employment needs and expectations of their students and the parents of those students. Students want to graduate with a good job, one that has career potential. Parents want their large financial investments to pay off.




Now, after many years, progressive and concerned college leaders are actively looking for ways to improve the employment success of their students. They now recognize that:




- A good education does not always translate into a good job

- Effective job search preparation starts when the student enters college

- Most students do not have the tools to maximize their job search efforts

- Most students do not conduct an effective job search

- The culture of the college must begin to focus on employment results

- Resources must be shifted to support student job search efforts

- New job identification approaches should be investigated

- Disappointed students and parents are voicing legitimate concerns

- Colleges must better serve the needs of their students




Of course, not every college leader feels this way. Many are unable to see the changes that are taking place around them. Others see the changes and hear the concerns but are unwilling or unable to leave their comfort zones. Change hurts.




The fact remains that progressive college leaders are fueling a paradigm shift. These leaders believe that student employment success will not only help graduating students, it will also enable their colleges to attract greater numbers of exceptional students, faculty members and employees. They also know that this important change effort will be a test of their leadership skills. It takes a great leader to accomplish the things that a less competent leader would be afraid to try.




It should be clear that this challenge can not be accomplished with halfhearted efforts and luke warm support. Leaders must jump in with both feet and convince students, parents, faculty and employees that they are both serious and committed to the goal. Because successful leaders believe in what they are saying and doing, they demonstrate the ability to energize their college community and lead everyone into the new era. That?s why this endeavor is not for the meek. Breaking new ground involves risk, difficulties and pain.




In a tight labor market, students greatly appreciate college leaders who can help them learn about employment opportunities, especially those in their own field of interest. Because some college leaders are starting to see the need and feel the pressure, they are finally looking at The Student Job Identification Machine and other methods of identifying more jobs for students.




Fortunately, the prevailing complacency by colleges about their role in student employment is giving way to a new and more enlightened approach. College leaders who want to get ahead of the curve and are willing to challenge the old way of thinking are scrambling to shore up and expand their student employment efforts. They understand that when good students fail to obtain good paying jobs, the college has failed too.




Over time, everything changes. That?s why concerned students are eagerly awaiting visible signs that their own college leaders have recognized this paradigm shift and have gotten onboard. When things change, visionary leaders reinvent themselves, address critical needs, mobilize resources, overcome difficulties and lead their supporters to a successful result. Today, on every campus, students are waiting to see if their own college leaders will step up and embrace the shift or simply continue to sit on the sidelines and ignore their needs.