Independent Public Mission Schools

Georgian Court University Offers Success Prep for Life after College

Georgian Court University is taking steps to make certain students get additional professional insight—not just academic preparation—to be competitive after graduation. For example, GCU recently piloted a series of 1-credit and 2-credit courses to help students prepare for the world of work. “We launched Internship and Career Preparation, Career Paths for English Majors, Career Paths for Exercise Science majors, and held specialty workshops for students in other degree programs,” said Kathleen Brady, GCU’s executive director of Career Services, Corporate Engagement and Continuing Education. Often, she helps students translate their skills into selling points that are attractive to employers. One of the most interesting classes she taught, however, was offered at only three New Jersey colleges last year: “Professional Development and Disability was very well received,” said Ms. Brady, who taught the course with colleague Luana Fahr, who leads The Learning Connection and other academic development/support offerings at GCU. “The class was open to all students,” said Ms. Fahr, “including those with disabilities and those interested in supporting the employment outcomes of people with disabilities in the principles and practices of employment.” The course, which covered everything from ADA laws and the history of disability rights to disabilities etiquette and internship opportunities, may be taught again in spring 2018.

Attainment: Non-Academic Programs Play a Role

Georgian Court University student Chelsea Sikora never thought she’d be on television, sharing her perspective on what it takes to be a leader. That changed this summer when Chelsea, a 2015 psychology graduate, was interviewed by media personality Steve Adubato, Ph.D. “My leadership journey at GCU helped me tremendously—personally and professionally,” said Chelsea, who is earning her master’s degree in clinical psychology while working at a behavioral clinic and serving as a graduate assistant to GCU’s Women in Leadership Development (WILD) program. “The first lesson of leadership is that you can be one. A lot of people tell themselves they can’t do something and are held back by fear of failure,” she said. “They spend time wondering what will happen if something goes wrong. My advice? Stop wondering and go do it.”

Such frontline leadership opportunities make a difference at GCU, where dozens of students like Chelsea are learning those lessons through WILD, Emerging Leaders (which is co-ed), student government, and the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) program. And like Chelsea, many of them graduate with unique skills and experiences that resonate in the world of work. “There are some students who don’t include their EOF involvement on their resumes because they are fearful that it will be perceived negatively, but that’s not the case,” says Dr. Joy Smith, director of the GCU EOF program. “The reality is that the EOF alumni community is comprised of over 40,000 NJ college graduates—many of them eager to hire other EOF alumni. Nationally, EOF is viewed as a model opportunity program because of the work that we do with our undergraduate students and because our alumni association works with students to prepare them for the professional world.”