You've heard the Chinese proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
At Wake Forest University, they're not teaching just their own students to fish, metaphorically speaking. They're also teaching other colleges how to teach their students to fish.
In "Rethinking Success: A Roadmap for Transforming the College-to-Career Experience" (.pdf),Wake Forest VP Andy Chan lays out seven points that colleges can use to help prepare their graduates for life after college. (Sadly, he goes easy on the fishing metaphors.)
"It’s now time for us to fulfill our respective missions and truly prepare our students to lead lives of meaning and purpose — and be employable for life" writes Chan, Wake Forest's vice president for Personal & Career Development. "We cannot afford to wait any longer — and our students cannot afford for us to wait either."
The paper, published Wednesday, came out of a conference Wake Forest hosted in April 2012. The "Rethinking Success" conference got business and higher ed leaders together to talk about careers and the value of a liberal arts education. The keynote speakers were former U.S. Secetary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley.
The roadmap starts on page 20 of the report I linked above. The most interesting stuff: The specifics on the 20 previous pages. Elon and Wake (of course) are among the colleges highlighted.
Elon is big on networking. Elon students have set up something called "The Elon Network," a one-day event in the spring where students tell other students about their experiences getting and taking part in internships. The university has developed a program that connects recent graduates with alumni who live in New York City and Los Angeles.
Wake Forest starts personal development programs during freshman orientation and doesn't let up during a student's time on campus. The university also has raised more than $10 million to make its career services office larger and much more dynamic. The approach is working: Wake estimates that 95 percent of its class of 2012 has a job or is in grad school within six months of graduation. (The national average is about 64 percent.)
A lot of colleges wouldn't let others know where the fish are biting. A tip of the (fishing) hat to Wake for sharing.
Update 2:10 p.m.: Did a minor edit to restore a couple of dropped words.