Preparing Students for Life After Graduation: Colleges Collaborate

2:00pm - 3:00pm EDT May 21, 2014

In UCLA’s 2012 national survey of college freshmen, 87.9% of respondents named “getting a job” as their top reason for going to college. While the economic climate has increased the pressure on all institutions of higher learning to demonstrate the value of a college degree, liberal arts colleges have been subject to some of the most intense public scrutiny. How might liberal arts colleges work together to address these concerns? (Times EDT)

Two colleges, Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) members Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, and the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia, are exploring this very question. Last year, Rollins and the University of Richmond drew on career programs they already offered and generated blended learning modules designed to develop and hone students’ skills in personal branding, professional networking, and interviewing. This innovative inter-institutional approach to preparing liberal arts students for life beyond graduation leverages the human, intellectual, and technological resources of both institutions. It also represents the first step towards a much larger initiative intended to deliberately and consciously link career and life planning-related resources within an existing network—the sixteen member institutions of the ACS. Currently, institutions within the regional consortium house and operate their own independent career-related service centers. And, while these offices maintain friendly working relationships with one another, there is no formal mechanism for resource-sharing and collaboration. Colleagues at Rollins College and the University of Richmond saw their pre-existing careers courses as a natural starting point for inter-institutional collaboration within the consortium.

Their initial goal was to link the courses—and, by extension, the student groups who populated them—through several blended learning modules on professional networking and interview practices. In doing so, they aimed to provide students with the opportunity to engage in career-related activities with peers at a sister institution, thus modeling and preparing them for the kind of collaborative, inter-institutional work they will be doing in their professional careers. Additionally, the institutions sought to create a way for students to expand their professional contacts with individuals at another ACS institution. They anticipated that building these networks would, in turn, help students further develop and hone their networking etiquette as well as significantly broaden the scope of their job searches. Since most ACS institutions currently do not have careers courses, Rollins and University of Richmond also envisioned their project serving as a portable course template that could be easily appropriated by other institutions.

Join Jana Mathews, assistant professor of English at Rollins College, Anne Meehan, assistant director in the Office of Career Services at Rollins College and Beth Chancey, assistant director in the Office of Career Services at the University of Richmond, as they share their vision of how inter-institutional collaboration can help colleges prepare their students for 21st-century careers.

Recommended Reading

Please review and explore these resources to prepare for active engagement with your fellow seminar participants.

Seminar Leader(s)

Jana Mathews is assistant professor of English at Rollins College. Dr. Mathews earned her Ph.D. from Duke University. Her research and teaching focus on digital humanities and the intersections between the Middle Ages and contemporary culture. A vocal advocate for career and life planning initiatives, Mathews was co-chair of the Career and Life Planning Committee and currently co-teaches (with Anne Meehan) career and life planning courses. In 2013, Mathews was awarded the Arthur Vining Davis Award. Currently, she holds the distinction of being the most junior recipient of the prestigious Cornell Distinguished Faculty Award at Rollins.

Anne Meehan is assistant director in the Office of Career Services at Rollins College. She earned her B.S. in Family & Child Development from Virginia Tech and earned her M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in College Student Personnel Administration from James Madison University. She has worked at James Madison University, Virginia Tech, University of Richmond, Stetson University, and Rollins College in both associate director and assistant director roles. Anne has developed and taught career courses at several universities, and she currently co-teaches (with Dr. Jana Mathews) career and life planning courses at Rollins.

Beth Chancy is assistant director in the Office of Career Services at the University of Richmond. She earned her B.A. in English from the College of William and Mary and earned her M.S. in Human Development, Counseling and Family Studies with a concentration in College Student Personnel from the University of Rhode Island. She has worked at Virginia Commonwealth University, the College of William and Mary, the University of Denver, and the University of Rhode Island. She has taught a career class at the University of Richmond for six years.

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College and university leaders interested in how inter-institutional collaboration can support blended learning careers courses utilizing technology to enhance students networking (LinkedIn) and interviewing (InterviewStream) skills should attend this seminar. Attendance by institutional teams is encouraged; individuals are also welcome to participate.

Please register online by Monday, May 19, 2014. Participation in NITLE Shared Academics is open to all active member institutions of the NITLE Network as a benefit of membership and as space allows. No additional registration fee applies.


For more information about this event, please contact Georgianne Hewett at

NITLE Shared AcademicsTM models a new approach to liberal education – made possible through strategic collaboration, driven by shared knowledge, and supported by emerging technologies. Campuses learn how inter-institutional academic exchange works by actively participating in it, building the knowledge and experience to re-architect liberal education.