Last Friday we held our first college advisory board meeting of FY13. Thanks to those who participated in the day and in its planning. There are a couple items that struck me during the day that I wanted to share with each of you.
One, our board members were continually impressed by how our college has come together over the last 6 years. Many have been on our board since day one and each time we meet they find new and interesting things to be excited about. That is a testament to each of you and I thank you for your hard work and dedication in that combined effort.
Two, when I asked the group what they need and look for in the graduates they hire today, almost unanimously, they said good communication and leadership skills. They said graduates could have a stellar portfolio, but if they were unable to communicate confidently and strategically, they would be passed over in favor of someone who could. They discussed how they've seen career trajectories level off far too quickly if those employees didn't have the necessary leadership skills. They talked about their experiences on the front lines of the "everyone gets a trophy" syndrome that has increased over the last decades.
As a design school, I think we're uniquely suited to ensure that our graduates don't follow this path. Our history of public presentations and critiques help build the right foundation for our students' careers off into the future. However, that doesn't mean we can't do a better job in getting more of these qualities firms and corporations alike look for in employees out of our students.
As a College, we're looking at ways to better highlight growth opportunities for students in these areas. I'd also welcome any thoughts any of you might have on this issue.
Lastly, we are quickly approaching the end of the Community Fund Drive on October 31st. As you know, we are very much hoping to pass last year's numbers and every dollar makes a difference. To contribute, please visit www.umn.edu/cfd. The entire process takes less than 2 minutes.
As always, thanks again for all that you do, and have a good week.
Professor and Dean
College of Design