Concordia Joining Institute Focusing on Career Preparation

The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) has selected Concordia College to participate in its 2022 Curriculum-to-Career Innovations Institute. The institute is co-directed by AAC&U and IBM.

Dr. Stephanie Ahlfeldt, Concordia’s associate provost, called the timing perfect as the college is currently reforming its curriculum to “engaged citizenship” and advancing its work initiative through the school’s strategic plan.

“We are very excited,” Ahlfeldt said. “The chance to bring our new curriculum and work initiative together into an institute where we are literally going to be at the table with the national conversation around career preparation is just an incredible opportunity for us.”

Throughout the Fall 2022 semester, a team from Concordia, along with 53 other institutions, will develop projects focused on cocurricular alignment, defined learning and skill development, and high-impact experiences, as well as assessment and change management strategies.

The teams will be able to consult with leading experts from higher education and industry who serve as institute mentors. There is a focus on design thinking, broad and inclusive interdisciplinary perspectives, collaboration across stakeholders, and commitments to equity that prepare students to seek purpose across an array of career paths.

“Our aim with this institute is to find the sweet spot between higher education’s ability to meet the needs of a rapidly changing workforce and the desire of each campus to supply that career preparation in a meaningful way that is authentic to its mission and context,” said Ashley Finley, AAC&U vice president for research and co-director of the Curriculum-to-Career Innovations Institute.

The AAC&U is a global membership organization dedicated to advancing the vitality and democratic purposes of undergraduate liberal education.

Concordia’s team will be comprised of Ahlfedlt; Dr. Michael Chan, the college’s new executive director for Faith and Learning; Kris Olson, director of the Career Center; Dr. Ken Foster, director of Community Engagement and chair and professor of political science; and Dr. Amy Watkin, professor of English.