Undergraduate Experience

An early dimension of this important work involved interviewing students from a diverse array of backgrounds and life experiences, including non-traditional and under-represented students, first generation students, and direct admits. They told us that while they appreciate the vast range of options available to them, the complexity of IU Bloomington can be overwhelming. Many are uncertain about how to access resources and opportunities, and few are taking full advantage of all the College has to offer, including career coaching and academic advising.

Critical pillars of student success

We’ve identified four pillars of the undergraduate experience that can be more intentionally designed as central to the College student experience. This model could be transformational for our students, taking the guess work out of the student success equation, and improve our ability attract and retain students. We want to ensure that every student—not only those with the cultural and social capital to seek them out—has the opportunity to realize the fullest potential of the education we offer in the College of Arts and Sciences.

We will scale up the already established Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Experience (ASURE) so that as many students as possible are able to engage in meaningful undergraduate research and/or a creative learning experience during their first year, within a cohort setting under the guidance of a faculty mentor. This small group setting will help students to build a community earlier in their academic experience.

We will pilot a career course that uses design thinking principles to teach students a structured, but flexible, process for intentionally designing their undergraduate pathway. The course will help students  develop awareness of which kinds of opportunities engage and energize them most and how these impactful experiences might translate to satisfying career options. We plan to eventually scale this course to include all College undergraduates.

We will develop new tools and advising/coaching structures that will help ensure that every student in the College can engage in sustained experiential learning through immersive activities such as overseas study, participation in the arts, internships, work in collections and archives, an honors thesis, community service, co-curricular engagement, and/or laboratory research.

We will utilize a competency model developed by College faculty to make the real-world applications of what our students have gained during their undergraduate experience more legible and understandable. This will help students track their acquisition of both technical and foundational skills with the help of career coaches, academic advisors, and custom software.

In connection with this, we will pilot a second 1-credit career course in which students learn to tell their liberal arts and sciences story to potential employers, family, and friends in a compelling way. They will gain experience constructing a resume, writing letters of application, and preparing for job interviews. Eventually we plan to scale this model to include all College undergraduates.

Initiative updates

Career Fellows Program

Through extensive research on career readiness, work with the National Association of Colleges and Employers, discussions with faculty spearheaded by a special working group, and dialogue with a host of employers, the College of Arts and Sciences has identified twelve competencies that are taught throughout our curriculum.

The College is using funding from Eli Lilly to establish a Career Connections Fellowship intended to help faculty make students more aware that what they are learning in the classroom will be of great use to them in post-college careers. The fellowship is designed to offer long-term faculty the opportunity to workshop—in a cohort setting—a course that they already teach or would like to teach, paying special attention to elevating the awareness of how what they teach reaches beyond strictly academic settings. On the most basic level, the Career Connections Fellowship is designed to aid faculty in helping their students better recognize the far-reaching value of their education and experiences. Interested faculty can learn more and apply to become a fellow on the College’s Undergraduate Curriculum and Policies website.