The QA Commons is mindful of the dramatic and transformational impact COVID-19 is having on all institutions of higher education. As an organization, we are adapting our services to support preparing graduates for the workplace that is now changing more precipitously than ever.
Murray State University now boasts eight Certified programs across campus, the most from any institution nationwide.
Most recently certified are Agricultural Sciences and Organizational Communications. They join six other programs from diverse disciplines, inclusive of both liberal arts and pre-professional fields of study. “The institutional commitment to employability at Murray State is evident,” said Mason Bishop, President of QA Commons. “Students are calling for education aligned to employment, and employers are calling for graduates to show up prepared with an understanding of the workplace. Murray State is taking these calls seriously.”
According to Dr. Tony Brannon, Dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture, “Murray State Agriculture has a long-established tradition of being ‘distinctly different’ in the recruitment, retention, graduation, and employability of our students. We pride ourselves in providing students the opportunity to ‘get an education instead of just a degree’ by not only providing training for essential skills in the industry of agriculture but also supporting each student’s engagement with value-added training in leadership, service, employability skills, and career readiness. Simply put, we take students from where they are to where they need to be… and that is different for every student. We are so pleased that each of the Agricultural Sciences and Animal Technologies areas within our Hutson School of Agriculture has achieved independent recognition of our efforts through the QA Commons intensive review process leading to certification verifying the Essential Employability Qualities (EEQ) within our programs.”
The Review process found an incredibly rich set of practices for embedding the eight Essential Employability Qualities into the curriculum within the Organizational Communication program, arguably the best of which QA Commons has seen to date. This is particularly noteworthy given that the program also directs the Racer Oral Communication Center, providing services available to any student at the University. “Org Comm” was awarded provisional certification as it works on strengthening its employer engagement practices. Supplemental evidence will be provided to QA Commons in the fall of 2022.
The Agricultural Sciences program provides students with opportunities to engage in various hands-on, work-related courses, events, and activities. Additionally, students participate in Cooperative Education and Internship Courses through which employers evaluate the work performance, employability, and employability qualities of students.
“One of the most exciting things about this endeavor is that it is, in fact, a recognition of programs linking to the world of employment,” said Provost Tim Todd. “Bottom line, we are trying to explicitly bridge the perceived gap between the world of work and baccalaureate degree holders for overall employability skills. We want to show that Murray State’s academic programs place a distinctive focus on employability. EEQ Certification is marketable to students already enrolled, new students/families, employers, and advisory board members across all disciplines. The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky funds a large portion of higher education.”
QA Commons grants EEQ CERT™ after a rigorous external and independent review process. It signals to employers and the public that educational programs prepare students with the employability skills critical for workers looking to build and advance in their careers. A list of certified programs is available here.
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