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It’s about much more than a job
The feature article “Will it get me a job?” (November
2010 issue) highlights a pressing question for university
students and prospective students. With the commitment
of both financial and time resources to a university degree,
it’s reasonable to hope for, even to want, certainty that
this commitment will pay off with something tangible:
money, prestige, a promising career. But a university
experience is much more than putting a person through
a training factory for a job, and it seems to me that the
article glossed over the larger, less tangible benefits of
higher education that university applicants discover
once they start their university career, such as broader
global and community understanding. A job is impor-
tant – but it’s not all about the job, nor should it be.
by Virginia Galt Photo by Dan Ehrenworth
The two partners behind the research marketing
firm Academica tell us what today’s students are looking
for in a university education
ken steele – researcher, marketer and“recovering academic”– spends three
weeks out of four on the road, delivering a message to university faculty and
administrators that they don’t always want to hear: Student expectations
have changed dramatically,with scholarship taking a back seat to careerism.
“Outcomes are becoming more important,” says Mr. Steele. “‘Can it get
me a job?’ is the question now, more so than ‘Will it look good on my wall?’”
While no one is suggesting that universities should capitulate to
every whim of the marketplace, Mr. Steele and his business partner Rod
Skinkle say the status quo is no longer an option, either. The structures
and traditions that have served universities so well for generations are
now under pressure from “unprecedented political, economic, social and
technological change,” asserts Mr. Steele.
KenSteele(left)andRodSkinkle, seenhereintheirofficesat AcademicaGroup,saystudents todayhaveamorepragmatic attitudetowardstheirstudies.
Ms. Hanington is an undergraduate student in history at Vancouver Island University. Her opinion piece that expands on her views
(“Undergrad education, who needs it?”) can be read online at www.universityaffairs.ca/who-needs-undergrad-education.aspx.
Reviving our country’s languages
we need absolutely to view indigenous languages
as a natural resource and a critical tool to regener-
ate a healthy communal fabric of meaning and
belonging (“The fight to revitalize Canada’s indi-
genous languages,” December 2010). Universities
also have a role to play. By teaching more indi-
genous languages, we can raise awareness in
the general population around the specificity
of indigenous culture. All Canadians, not just
aboriginal Canadians, will be greatly impover-
ished if indigenous languages are allowed to perish.
Dr. Scott is an associate professor in the department of German
language and literature at Queen’s University.
What’s NEW Online! www.universityaffairs.ca / Nouveautés en ligne! www.affairesuniversitaires.ca
Deputy editor Léo Charbonneau
opines on trends and happenings
in Canada’s university sector.
4 / www.universityaffairs.ca / January 2011
Scholars explain how the practice
can improve your career options
inside, outside and beside the academy.
Search vs. browsing
Our Bibliotech podcaster discusses
why you shouldn’t confuse academic
browsing with Google searching.
Réussir à se faire publier
Deux experts expliquent les étapes
à suivre pour faire publier son ouvrage.