09/01/2022

Mapping the Future of Undergraduate Career Education: Equitable Career Learning, Development, and Preparation in the New World of Work

Book review by Lisa Novack

Buford, M., Sharp, M., & Stebleton, M. (Eds.). (2022). Mapping the future of undergraduate career education: Equitable career learning, development, and preparation in the new world of work. Routledge. 286 pages.


 

Book ReviewMapping the Future of Undergraduate Career Education: Equitable Career Learning, Development, and Preparation in the New World of Work is a comprehensive text that introduces readers to the emerging landscape of career services in higher education. As the career services profession has experienced rapid change over the past few years, this book is timely and full of ideas for how practitioners can best support the career development of students of all identities. Edited by Melanie Buford, Michael Sharp and Michael Stebleton, three experienced Ph.D. Educators, authors and practitioners, the book's seventeen chapters are divided into three sections and authored by 21 additional experts.


The authors in the first section of Mapping the Future provide an overview of how the career counseling profession has evolved to focus on creating scalable services, which represents an expansion of the type of support students can expect to receive from career services. This section also highlights an emergence of new education/skills needed for practitioners in the field. Additionally, this section provides an in-depth review of the unique career needs of Generation-Z (the majority of traditional age college students today) and shifting expectations of employers and job seekers as workplaces navigate lasting impacts of COVID-19.


Inclusion and Equity in Career Education

In the second section of Mapping the Future, authors outline the unique career needs of diverse student identities including: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), international, first-generation, and students navigating mental health concerns. The authors present well-researched data around the career needs of each population and share tangible strategies career practitioners can employ to support students of all backgrounds. The detailed information in this section empowers career educators with current knowledge and clear take-aways to deepen their awareness of and ability to serve students of all identities and nudges career practitioners to leverage their relationships with employers to enact broader, transformative change in systems of employment.


Paradigm Shifts in Career Education

Mapping the Future’s third section contains emerging trends in career education theories and philosophies. The authors denote that society is experiencing disruption from many places (economic, technological, pandemic, etc.), which has changed the future of work and impacted how career educators can prepare students. The authors in this section present a variety of theoretical approaches including design thinking, integrated models of career development, multipotentiality, the challenge mindset, and narrative approaches to career counseling. Perhaps most impactful and encompassing is the strategy to infuse career into the academic curriculum to both scale resources and reach, as well as support students’ decision making.

 

Experiential Learning in Career Education

The final section of Mapping the Future includes research and best practices related to the impact of experiential education on career development, with particular focus on internships, co-ops, undergraduate research, and technical skill development. The authors acknowledge both the steep challenges (cost, staffing, logistics, curriculum integration) of requiring such experiential education, while also presenting a strong case that the benefits outweigh these costs. Throughout this section, the authors acknowledge that equitable access to experiential learning is a concern and strategies for increasing access for certain identities, such as in STEM fields, are carefully presented.


Context for Consideration

Throughout Mapping the Future, multiple authors ask career development educators to expand their skill set and scope of work. Examples of such recommendations include becoming “content creators” to scale and broaden reach to more students, looking after the mental health of students, increasing advocacy for employers to create more inclusive workspaces for students of all identities, and more. While all of these are indeed needed and timely recommendations, compiled together, the career services profession is being asked to do a lot. Future versions of this book may include advocacy to recognize the profession’s evolution and expand on ideas presented that career development responsibilities must extend beyond career practitioners.


A Useful Toolkit for Future Directions in Higher Education

Despite acknowledging the above points for future consideration, this publication overall offers a wealth of knowledge from both practitioners and scholars on the current and emerging landscape of career services in higher education and beyond. Three aspects of the book stood out as especially strong:

  1. While the book was grouped into central themes and tied together with an introduction and conclusion, each chapter presented ideas from various authors- representing the perspective of many identities, backgrounds, and fields.
  2. Tangible “recommendations for practice” were included at the conclusion of each chapter, making the take-aways clear and easily implementable.
  3. Issues of equity and inclusion were woven throughout the entire text, versus a standalone chapter, representing the belief that that advocating and supporting students of all identities is paramount throughout all aspects of our work as career practitioners.

 

The authors assert, “career education is everyone’s business – not solely the business of those employed in career services offices or divisions” (Buford et al., 2022, p.4). As such, this book could be used in a variety of settings: formal graduate education of future career and student services professionals, current practitioners looking for both emerging trends and proven best practices, and academic administration aiming to benchmark and understand the broader landscape of career education. As the world continues to change at a rapid pace, students, scholars, and practitioners must consider how factors outside of higher education influence and impact the career development of the students we collectively serve, and this book is a strong foundation for such learning and exploration of future possibilities.

 


Reference

Buford, M., Sharp, M., & Stebleton, M. (Eds.). (2022). Mapping the future of undergraduate career education: Equitable career learning, development, and preparation in the new world of work. Routledge. 286 pages.

 

 


Lisa NovackLisa Novack (she/her), MA, is the Director of Student Engagement & Career Development in the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. In this role, Lisa leads a team that supports students of all identities at all points in the development process through 1:1 career and engagement coaching, transition programming, leadership development, and instruction of two required courses: Design Your Life and Design Your Career. Lisa has coached thousands of students and taught various career, internship, and leadership courses, both domestically and abroad. Lisa was named the 2021 Career Services Supervisor of the Year by The Hire Big 10+ Consortium. She can be reached via LinkedIn or at [email protected].

 

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