MC Works helps students make career inroads

 

Maryville College Works is a new program that ensures that every MC student is connecting career with education from their freshman year forward. Although the program is focused in academics, it took the combined efforts of many Maryville College groups to upstart the program. Dr. Karen Beale, Associate Professor of Psychology at Maryville College is the Director of Maryville College Works.

“The idea of Maryville College Works started about four years ago in a strategic planning meeting of the board in which they talked about some of the things they really wanted MC to focus on,” Beale said.

One of those focus goals was career prep. Beale said that the liberal arts have not always been linked to practical application in a job, so the board at MC identified that as one facet to focus on. Another facet is community partnerships.

A committee was then put together on campus to work on the program for one year to put together the building blocks. After a year of planning, Beale and Susan Schneibel, at the time, the Division Chair for MC’s Languages & Literature Department, worked together to put the “finishing touches” on the program, including writing it up for accreditation approval.

“The program was approved with flying colors, and we did a pilot year. This year is the first that the freshman class will experience all four years of the program,” Beale said.

MC Works is a four-year program that is mandatory of all MC students except those who transfer in with forty-five credits or more or those who are in a 3-2 program like engineering.

“I haven’t seen any other school in the country with a program like this that is mandatory. A lot of other schools have programs in place, but they are voluntary. This one embeds it into the core curriculum and their major curriculum and all throughout through their senior year,” Beale said.

MC Works starts off for each student in their freshman year in seminar classes, FYS 100 and 110. The students will do things like start to create a resume, practice basic interviewing skills, complete a strong interest inventory to help them identify their strengths and begin thinking about careers that match those strengths.

Then, once they have declared a major, they move into their major and think about what kind of grad schools would be appropriate for that major, how to look and apply for jobs that would work well with that major, what would look good on a resume and start thinking about their “significant practical experience,” which will happen for most students during their junior year.

“Significant practical experience (SPE) is a buzzword used by Maryville College, and may be better recognized in terms such as internship, practicum, research experience… the SPE encompasses all of those things,” Beale said. “First, the students identify goals that they want to accomplish, and in one-on-one meetings with the MC Works Division Rep in their department, they will figure out what the best way is to meet their goals. The SPE will be tailored to what each individual student wants to accomplish. Some specific examples of a Significant Practical Experience would be an internship with a non-profit, research experience in a lab, or a study abroad trip. We want students to have a practical experience that will land them a job they want.”

Then senior year, there are online modules for the students that include lessons on what to wear to an interview and interview etiquette. Seniors will also be required to submit a final resume that they will have been working on all four job interviews. The final piece of MC Works is a final essay that reflects on how the process of this program has affected the student’s college experience and how it has helped them connect their education and career.

The long-term goal of MC Works is for Maryville College graduates to be more employable than anyone else on the market said Beale.

“We want our students to get jobs when they leave here, or to get into grad school. I feel like the students’ success is our success. We want you all to go out and achieve your dreams. Another long-term goal is for Maryville College to build strong community partnerships,” Beale said.

For more information on MC Works, contact Beale or the Center for Calling and Career.

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