Action Research Project Proposal - Career Resource Guide for Liberal Arts Students

Action Research Project Proposal - Career Resource Guide for Liberal Arts Students Michael Satterberg and Laura Smith Ramsborg

Background As Liberal Arts undergraduates, it was difficult and challenging to enter the job market to find an ideal position within a desired organization. Resources and career guides were predominantly geared toward students in the school of business; specific job hunt information for Liberal Arts students was not available. Job fairs did not seem to provide the valuable connections and experiences needed. Overall, a complete guide for navigating the job search process was missing.

Stakeholders and Desired Outcomes Our project, The Career Resource Guide for Liberal Arts Students, identifies with numerous key stakeholders that will benefit in the immediate or near future. Liberal Arts students will feel empowered to choose a major that matches with their interest areas, with the knowledge that career resources and support are available. Over time, the University of Minnesota and College of Liberal Studies will grow new partnerships with Twin Cities organizations to expand opportunities for Liberal Arts students, and organizations will benefit from the addition of creative thinkers with versatile real-world skills. Ideally, job placement rates for Liberal Arts students would be proudly promoted in University of Minnesota recruitment materials and website content. Alphabetical List of Key Stakeholders: • College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota • Future Liberal Arts students at the University of Minnesota • Graduate students in Liberal Arts programs • Liberal Arts undergraduate students at the University of Minnesota • Local Organizations in the Twin Cities metro area

Action Research Question What information is most valuable to Liberal Arts students to help them explore, identify and secure an ideal position within an organization that matches their skill sets and areas of interest, as well as to assert themselves in a competitive job market?

Action Research Statement We are developing a Career Resource Guide to serve as a comprehensive reference tool for Liberal Arts students to join the competitive job market in the Twin Cities metro area by promoting the value and versatility of their degrees.

Resource Guide and Contents Liberal Arts students can reference a comprehensive guide for planning their job hunt and securing an ideal role within a profit, non-profit or educational organization.

Table of Contents I. Job Titles, Descriptions & Career Paths for Liberal Arts Students II. Organizational Connections, Informational Interviews & Mentorship Program III. Competition Guidelines IV. Job Fair Pointers V. The Formal Interview VI. Local References

Project Criteria 1) Measurable results in two months (completion of the Resource Guide) 2) Initial feedback of some form from a University of Minnesota faculty member, student organization, focus group, etc. 3) Little to no cost to us (creators) or the users. 4) Include future steps for Resource Guide maintenance, updates and longevity. 5) Focus on partnerships between Liberal Arts students and organizations in the Twin Cities metro area. 6) Address a valid research question that will positively impact Liberal Arts students/the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts.

Challenge the Process: Research Strategies • Partner with the College of Liberal Arts to ensure this project will add value for Liberal Arts students and meet their needs. • Interview organizational leaders to gather specific guidelines for Liberal Arts students to promote their skills and make connections within organizations. • Interview University of Minnesota College of Liberal arts contacts to gain valuable insights. • Interview faculty and professionals from other universities to learn about options and uncover innovative approaches to our research project. • Research other sources of career information for Liberal Arts students and cultivate the best of the best for our project. • Develop and format a Lunch with Leaders mentorship program to help Liberal Arts students practice interviewing skills and build confidence in their abilities, while also gaining feedback on customary business etiquette. • Take a risk by attempting a new format for this information: in addition to a static, printed version, the completed Career Resource Guide for Liberal Arts students will be posted on Wikipedia and/or the University of Minnesota wiki.

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs