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NKU, Gateway experts join educators from across Ky. to bring ’employablity skills’ to college classrooms

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education recently convened experts from colleges and universities across the state who will work to ensure public higher education curricula includes essential skills such as critical thinking, effective communication, collaboration and quantitative reasoning. Nearly three in four employers say they have a hard time finding recent college graduates with the essential soft skills needed to succeed in the workplace.

“Understanding how to adapt to new environments, problem solve and communicate well is as important as job-specific knowledge since the needs of our economy are ever-evolving,” said CPE President Aaron Thompson. “Our statewide, cross-campus collaboration model will support skill-building opportunities at our colleges and universities that are intentional, accessible and built on proven best practices.”

The Kentucky Graduate Profile Academy is made up of three members from each of Kentucky’s eight, four-year public institutions and four Kentucky Community and Technical College System campuses. CPE will provide a $25,000 grant to each institution to support their efforts.

The Academy will base its work on the Kentucky Graduate Profile, which outlines 10 essential skills that have been identified by higher education and workforce organizations:

1. Communicate effectively
2. Think critically in order to solve problems and create new ideas and solutions
3. Apply quantitative reasoning skills to analyze and solve numerical problems
4. Interact effectively with people from diverse backgrounds
5. Adapt to changing circumstances while leading and supporting others
6. Perform professionally within their chosen field of study or occupation
7. Engage in civic life to improve society
8. Collaborate and work in teams
9. Apply academic knowledge, skills and abilities to their chosen career
10. Use information for decision-making

“Participants in the Kentucky Graduate Academy will work across campuses over a three-year period to identify and implement strategies with the goal of giving all students graduating from Kentucky’s public colleges and universities means to develop these crucial skills before they graduate,” said Melissa Bell, CPE vice president for academic affairs and student success. “To achieve that, these competencies have to be fully integrated into institutions’ academic offerings, co-curricular activities and work-based experiences.”

The Academy will have access to CPE data and tools to implement the Graduate Profile, including the employability scan, or EScan, a method for evaluating higher education programs based on how well they prepare students to succeed in a workplace.

Kentucky Graduate Profile Academy Members

Director: Janna Vice, CPE senior fellow for policy development and EKU provost emerita

Ashland Community and Technical College

Todd Brand, dean of academic affairs/chief administrative officer
Sara Brown, distance learning coordinator
Ashley Vanderpool, director of career services
Dale Queen (alternate), instructor, arts and sciences

Eastern Kentucky University

• Nicola Mason, chair of teaching, learning and educational leadership
• Chad Foster, associate professor, homeland security
• Starr Wentzel, director, first-year course
• Russell Carpenter (alternate), assistant provost

Gateway Community and Technical College

• Frannie Bennett, QEP director, English instructor
• Denise Fritsch, dean of institutional effectiveness
• Paula Barnes, workforce development liaison
• William Kirschner (alternate), coordinator of student activities and retention

Kentucky State University

• Frederick Williams, acting chair and professor, School of Criminal Justice
• Beverly Schneller, vice provost for academic quality, research and innovation
• Tonika East, assistant director, Office of Career and Professional Development
• Charles Holloway (alternate), vice provost for student success and retention

Madisonville Community College

• Felecia Johnson, coordinator of special projects
• Dr. Scott Cook, provost
• Cathy Vaughan, dean of student affairs
• Brittney Hernandez-Stevenson (alternate), Muhlenberg campus manager

Morehead State University

• Laurie Couch, associate provost for undergraduate education and student success
• Tim O’Brien, associate professor of mathematics and co-director of the quality enhancement plan
• Megan Boone, director of career services and director of the center for career development and experiential education
• Janet Ratliff (alternate), associate professor of management and entrepreneurship

Murray State University

• Ashley Ireland, assistant provost and director of online programs
• Firm Faith Watson, director, Faculty Development Center
• Peggy Whaley, director of student engagement and success
• Bob Pervine (alternate), associate provost

Northern Kentucky University

• Bethany Bowling, associate dean, College of Arts and Sciences
• Meg Hensley, unit director for student support
• Jen Cellio, associate professor of English
• Abdou Ndoye, interim vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs

Owensboro Community and Technical College

• Stacy Edds-Ellis, dean of academic affairs
• Meredith Skaggs, faculty and department head
• Andrea Borregard, dean of student affairs
• Nicole Ralph (alternate), director of experiential learning and Title III

University of Kentucky

• Katie Cardarelli, senior associate provost for administration and academic affairs
• Kirsten Turner, vice president for student success
• Beth Garvy, associate dean for biomedical education
• Anna Fiechter Chalfant (alternate), deputy chief of staff

University of Louisville

• Beth Willey, vice provost for UG education
• Gail DePuy, vice provost for engaged learning
• Bill Fletcher, director, University Career Center
• Douglas Craddock (alternate), provost’s chief of staff

Western Kentucky University

• Molly Kerby, assistant provost for institutional effectiveness, professor of sociology
• Marko Dumancic, director, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning; associate professor of history
• Molly Dunkum, associate professor, Colonnade co-director
• Jennifer Hanley (alternate), associate professor, Colonnade co-director

Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

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