LEGO & The Career Architecture Framework

Doug Miller

A post by Guest Blogger, Doug Miller, faculty member and New Media

Douglas Lee Miller – Chicago, IL | about.me On Twitter:@douglasLmiller

 

 

Presenters: Anne Scholl-Fiedler and Jim Salvucci, Stevenson University

What is the career architecture model?

It mentors students through a process of learning

1)who they are at their best (personal direction)

2)what they are learning (discipline expertise) and

3)how they will apply their skills (professional know-how.)

Tag line: “dream about your future-design your career.”

The first year seminar is housed in academic units and led by faculty but is heavily facilitated by career services. It culminates in a massive competition amongst teams of freshman students who undertake a project to represent – in LEGO bricks – what career architecture means to them on their own terms.

Functionally, the program begins with the students being given Holland assessments of interest and skills. This guides the faculty in creating teams whose individuals will perform functions related to the idea generation, design, and ultimately the build process of their LEGO creations. Working in three dimensions with elements familiar from childhood, the students soon find themselves involved in a meta-discussion about Career Architecture as a framework.

783 students participated in one year's Lego challenge. The whole process is engineered to reflect the form and structure of the Career Architecture Framework itself, full of learning objectives. The LEGO project itself is judged based on the successfulness of its representation; how well does the plastic physical model represent the three more ephemeral ideological elements of the career architecture framework? That's what they are judged on. Each major's representation is highly unique and specific to their field despite starting from the same point. There is a high degree of symbolism to the lego models much like with something like parade floats.

After the event, a full array of assessments are deployed in person and personalized career architecture plans are developed.

Salvucci's working theory is about the transactional nature of or common interactions with students in higher education as juxtaposed against a more transformational learning model. Both aspects are at play in the interactions and both are necessary but there may be value according to Salvucci in focusing on the transformational nature of a student's exposure to higher education characterizing the transactional as “the descent” vs. “the ascent” – purchase of the transcript vs the birth of an enlightened being.

How, you might ask, is this done from a curriculum development and approval point of view? Salvucci as the Dean works very closely in tandem with Scholl-Fiedler in Career Services.

Most English programs are content driven; fthe challenge is to create measurably attainable graduated skills – like problem solving – but they also tie them to career. They work collaboratively within the divisions to tailor the capstones toward career.

English, psychology, theatre and film-video are all modeled here. All require internships. Many have career track courses.

Psychology has three 1 credit courses on career development.

“Quad stories” was deployed to gather career stories to keep people from thinking careers are linear. Their objective with this tool? “Creating a culture of personal narrative.” Using personal narrative to determine skills and interests.

They have Industry liaisons in their office to help meet those goals

In the end, they see themselves as brokers of knowledge not just spinners of information.

Bloggers thoughts: As an avid fan of LEGO, learning outcomes, ideological frameworks, and personal narrative, I took a host of ideas and inspiration from this fascinating session. The only caveat offered about working so closely with faculty for this amazing strategic construct and series of events echoes common refrains I hear in my own position. “It's great that you have someone at your institution like you – but what if that key component is missing at our school?” Anne Scholl-Fiedler and Jim Salvucci both represent Stevenson University well and it is clear this kind of innovation and freedom could not exist were either of them the type to not be open to collaboration. Salvucci sees the need for collaboration as obvious. My caveat to other schools? Some results may vary.

 

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