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  • How Today's College Grad Has a Resume That Stands Out

    by LearnEd

    Young adults sitting in line

    Grads Starting a Step Behind

    "All of us in education are concerned about better preparing students for the workplace," says LeeAnne Fisher, Assistant Vice President for Associations, Government, and Career Pathways at Pearson.

    "Employers—even the statistics—tell us that there is a major skills and training gap," she says.

    Consider the burgeoning field of sustainability—for undergraduates and graduates.

    "Many four-year public colleges have already recognized that courses in sustainability across a variety of disciplines is a necessary component of academics," LeeAnne says.

    Students Quote2

    "They understand its importance for students to apply the concepts to business, the trades, the hospitality industry, the culinary arts, even healthcare," she says. "Even companies now understand that sustainability is not just a socially positive movement, it's also profitable for the bottom line."

    One study says the number of "green jobs" in the U.S. could reach 4.2 million by 2038—that's five times today's total count. (The study, commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, was conducted by Global Insight in 2008.)

    "But students taking courses in sustainability still graduate without the professional readiness to have an impact right away in the workplace," LeeAnne says.

    A Smoother Employment Pathway

    That's different for students at Everglades University in Boca Raton, Florida.

    The school already had a robust sustainability program.

    Now, through Pearson's partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the University now offers courses approved by the USGBC that offer successful graduates a foundation in the field of sustainability.

    "And with over 700 business partners associated with the USGBC in Florida," LeeAnne says, "we've also paved an easier pathway to employment for these graduates."

    A Bigger Coursework Footprint

    "When we first started talking with our colleagues at Everglades University," LeeAnne says, "they figured they would apply these courses simply to their curriculum in construction.

    "Over time, they decided to make sure ALL their students would take an introductory course in sustainability—from the construction management programs to environmental policy and management to business and alternative medicine," she says. "It's now a general education requirement."

    Monika Kondura is a course instructor at Everglades who says "the content provided a nice foundation."

    "The material was comprehensive, up-to-date and no student seemed to have problems understanding the content," she says.

    An Easier, Better Way

    "If you don't have a program like this in your college or university," LeeAnne says, "then a student has less options and preparation to step into the growing number of green jobs requiring sustainability education, training, and certification."

    pathways

    "Today's students know that they need better pathways to employers," LeeAnne says. "Grades don't carry the weight they once carried. Students—and employers—are looking for something that can set job applicants apart, like a professional certification."

    Many students are looking for green jobs with social impact (according to Net Impact and the Wall Street Journal).

    "Pearson can be the bridge between schools and these associations like the USGBC," says Pearson's Erin Smith who works with Pearson as  Learning Business Partner.

    "We're acting as the binding agent behind organizations, certifications, and students."

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  • Starting in the Classroom, Men and Women Learning to Avoid the Blame Game and Work Better Together

    by LearnEd

    Adults in a classroom

    We have previously posted about GENDER INTELLIGENCE in this LearnED story: "Great Minds Think Unalike: Creatively Teaching Gender Diversity in the Workplace."  Pearson has been working with the experts at the Gender Intelligence Group to create an online curriculum that teaches male and female colleagues about gender differences in the workplace called Be Gender Intelligent.


    ask kids-01

    At Work, Blaming Men or Fixing Women

    "In the past, our efforts to address gender differences have often been too focused on blaming men or fixing women," says Kendra Thomas. "That approach has not resulted in sustainable change."

    "The truth is, this isn't about blame—it's about leveraging differences," she says.

    Kendra is Pearson's Vice President and Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion.

    "Rather than blaming or fixing," Kendra says, "the point to all of this is that there is a benefit to learning about the differences between how men and women engage with on another and with their jobs."

    Be Gender Intelligent is designed to address a spectrum of workplace challenges. It tackles everything from gender intelligent performance reviews to office interactions to client work to promotions to team collaboration.

    "This learning is different," Kendra says, "It is underpinned by neuroscience and borne in of very practical ways at work."

    Kendra says this process helps people get "unstuck."

    She wrote in recent blog post:

    (Gender inequity) is a reality of where we find ourselves as modern workplaces, a problem that is complex and intricate, a quandary that neither men nor women alone can solve. It is also a challenge that no one company can fix, no matter how large, no matter how well-intentioned, no matter how gender intelligent. It is a collective problem, and we're working to help offer a collective solution. 

    Learning that Pays Off

    The Gender Intelligence Group, led by Barbara Annis, reports that learning about gender intelligence actually helps a company's bottom line:

    "A leading credit card services company saw collections increase by 85-percent through changes in the way its call center approached clients."

    "A west coast technology company increased the percentage of women on their sales team and saw the revenue with their small and medium size accounts grow by $850 million."

    "A well-known financial services firm saw increased retention of female clients through using more gender intelligent language."

    Behaviors That Begin in the Classroom

    "The research into gender intelligence is not just about men and women at work," Kendra says. "It's also about how boys and girls learn in a classroom setting."

    "A boy student might be staring into space, looking out a window," Kendra says. "Teachers might respond negatively to that this might just be his brain recharging. He may need that time to look out the window so that he can learn more effectively."

    Advice to Parents

    "It all begins with the understanding that our brains are different," Kendra says. "Ask kids about how they're thinking and feeling, as opposed to expecting them to see or behave in the world the way you see or behave in the world."

    "It's about not trying to force young students into a tight box—and making our learning for them as flexible and agile as possible."

     

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  • One Son Took a Gap Year, the Other Didn't: Mom Says 'They're Both Fine'

    by LearnEd

    Various travel items on a desk

    Two Boys, Two Pathways to College

    Amanda Murray has two sons:

    Christian is between his Masters and PhD in bioinformatics and computational chemistry. (We had to look it up, too. Here's a link to his undergraduate program at the University of Toronto.)

    Nicholas is a couple of months away from graduation at the University of Toronto with a degree in political science.

    Years earlier, Christian went straight to college out of high school.

    Nicholas—after visiting a few colleges as a high school senior—told his parents one day: "I don't think I'm quite ready."

    read himself

    Talking About a Year Off

    From her Pearson office in Toronto, Amanda recalls being skeptical at first.

    "Neither his father nor I were on board," she says. "We were worried that he wouldn't ever go back to college."

    "But after talking to him," Amanda says, "we began to understand that he had a plan. He was able to read himself better than us."

    More Prepared for College

    Nicholas had been a standout tennis player in high school. He'd even been offered a tennis scholarship to attend college.

    "He wasn't sure if he was ready to dive in to tennis like he'd been doing," Amanda says. "He wanted to take some time off, work on his SAT scores, and think things through."

    "He worked during his time before college and realized he'd rather coach tennis than play tennis," Amanda says. "So with new aspirations to study education and political science, he managed to get in to a great university and really apply himself in a way that I thought he never could."

    Students Needing Clarity, With No Time to Find It

    "There's such inertia for high school students to go to college," says Abby Falik, founder and CEO of Global Citizen Year. The organization offers high school graduates a solution to the inertia:

    "It’s called a bridge year, a Global Citizen Year, which is an international immersion designed to give high school graduates perspective, confidence and purpose prior to college. A bridge year is a real world classroom – no walls, no textbooks…just life through a global lens."

    care about

    "Without an experience like this," Abby says, "so many students have no time to pause and reflect and understand who they are and what they care about."

    "They get to the end of college," she says, "and they're still unclear about what to do next."

    The Global Citizen Year Approach

    "I hate the term 'gap year,'" Abby says. "It's not a gaping hole in someone's life. We need to reframe the metaphor to better reflect what the year, when used constructively, can be: a 'bridge year' or a 'launching pad.'"

    "We all have a comfort zone," Abby says. "We have a panic zone as well. In between the two is the 'stretch zone' where real learning happens."

    "For a lot of kids, being stretched is simply getting out of the classroom which inevitably leads to questions about who we are and who we're becoming," she says.

    "The unifying theme for our programs is that kids get the most out of their bridge year if they start with the end in mind," Abby says. "What are the questions they want to answer at the end of the year?"

    "And at the end of the year," she says, "we want them to arrive at a whole new set of questions to guide their college education—and beyond."

    Bundling Bridge Years Into College Degree Programs

    Abby hopes that this kind of approach to bridge years can be a part of re-thinking higher education.

    "I'm convinced my kids will not go to a traditional four-year college," she says.

    "How can we integrate deep experiential learning into higher education?" Abby asks. "Can the concept of a bridge year be bundled in to what leads up to a college degree?"

    Abby says this approach has to be designed to address traditional criticisms about access and privilege.

    "That's why 80-percent of our Fellows get financial aid and a third of them are given full, need-based funding," Abby says. "

    "The whole system has to benefit all kinds of students."

    found the time

    Needing Time to Grow Up

    For Amanda Murray, she's equally proud of both her sons.

    "Don't think that Nicholas' brother, Christian, didn't have his own zig zags along the way," Amanda says. "They've both been successful even though they've done things very differently."

    "Both of them needed—and found the time—to pause and grow up in their own ways," she says.

    "And I needed to learn how to trust them."

     

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  • A Pioneer in Re-Designing Higher Education

    by LearnEd

    Small crowd talking to each other in a big hall

    Pearson CEO John Fallon delivered the commencement address to this year's graduating class of Southern New Hampshire University. In the following excerpt, John highlights the groundbreaking work SNHU is has done in re-defining higher education.


    Pearson CEO John Fallon talks with Southern New Hampshire University graduates after giving the commencement address at the Verizon Wireless Center in Manchester, N.H. Sunday, May 15, 2016. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Pearson)
    Pearson CEO John Fallon talks with Southern New Hampshire University graduates after giving the commencement address at the Verizon Wireless Center in Manchester, N.H. Sunday, May 15, 2016. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Pearson)

    last century

    New Century, New Challenges

    "The vast majority of colleges are still offering an education designed a long time ago to meet the challenges of the last century. The challenges of this century are different, but most colleges are finding it difficult to respond."

    "Many of them are still telling students what they have available, and students have the choice of taking it or leaving it."

    "But this university is a pioneer. It doesn’t decide for you what you’re going to get; it asks you what you need. Based on your answers, you and your university are re-designing higher education together."

    A New Kind of Excellent Education

    "You are keeping the best parts of the old model and experimenting with promising new approaches and technologies. You are finding creative ways to meet the challenges of this century—the challenges that you face in your day-to-day lives."

    "You are the ones who said, Wait! I have eyes. I see a way to connect my education to my career path. I can be interested in earning money and in indulging my curiosity, in enriching my knowledge, in learning more about the world around me."

    relevant

    "You are the ones who said, Wait! Why do I have to sit in a specific room in a specific building for a specific amount of time? I have the guts to use new tools to learn in more convenient and dynamic ways—and, by the way, I’ll finish when I’m actually finished, not when the clock runs out."

    "You are the ones who said, Wait! I don’t have to go into debt for the rest of my life to get an excellent education. I can afford to take care of my responsibilities now and train my mind for the future."

    'A School is Where People Learn'

    "I called you pioneers, because what you are doing is daring and new. But it’s more than that. You are not off on an island being different by yourselves. The world is paying attention, and starting to follow your example."

    "So you are pioneers—and you are leaders, too. You are leading us to a new future in which a high-quality education is affordable, convenient, and relevant. And in which it is more personal, too ... not every student learns in the same way, and we need to bring learning to people, not people to learning."

    "A school, a university, is not a building, it is a place where people learn."

    John Fallon Commencement
    Pearson CEO John Fallon during the commencement address to this year's graduating class of Southern New Hampshire University.

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