Industry, Faculty, and Students' Perceptions of the Opportunities and Constraints Regarding the Implementation of Professional Skills into Technical Education Programs
Committee MemberCalvert, Ann
Drefs, Michelle A.
Kowch, Eugene G.
Nowell, Lorelli S.
Education--Adult and Continuing
Education--Curriculum and Instruction
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AbstractLittle has been written about the inclusion of professional skills in a two-year technical college program and the connection between stakeholder’s perceptions in defining the skill sets graduates need to be successful in industry. This mixed methods research study explored participant’s perceptions of the opportunities and constraints regarding the integration of professional skills in a technical two-year diploma. For the purposes of this research study, professional skills, also called broad-based skills and soft skills, consisted of a set of 17 predetermined skills that three stakeholder groups—industry, faculty, and students—assessed for personal relevance and as a representative of their respective stakeholder group. Data was compiled through a questionnaire completed by faculty, students, and industry member representatives; analyzing job ads, learner exist surveys, and employer satisfaction surveys; followed by conducting focus groups with 56 participants in total. The significant findings from this study encompassed the following aspects. First, the recognition that professional skills are highly regarded, but not always intentionally taught in two-year technical diploma courses. Second, there was a deep-rooted value attached to the identified skill set, but that the barriers to identification and inclusion were different for each participant group. Finally, the notion of inclusion of professional skills in a two-year technical education was encouraged, but that a concerted effort by faculty, industry, and curriculum designers would need to be made in order for student learning of professional skills to be successful.
Werklund School of Education