The Board of Regents on Monday approved its annual condition report that recommends ways to connect K-12 to higher education to careers. The board voted unanimously to finalize the report barring a handful of edits and additions members sought. Because the final report requires additional work, it is not yet ready for release.
Assistant Deputy Chancellor of External Relations Charles See said the "Pre-K to Jobs: Higher Education's Role in Developing Students for Careers" report from the board contains information on how institutions advise students to "bridge" education and career, such as through student advising and use of co-ops and internships.
It also discusses how institutions develop and maintain infrastructure and processes support in curriculum revisions, related to the economy and careers. And the report delves into education preparation programs to help teachers in the K-12 setting prepare students for higher education and the workforce, he said. "I think the Board of Regents did a good job in analyzing issues regarding workforce and higher education - it's such a huge topic," BOR Chancellor John Carey said in an interview. "The challenge is to present it in a concise way and cover everything that needs to be covered, and I think they did a good job of doing that. There's just a lot of challenges for state government to participate as well as higher education and even for the business community to communicate more with our education institutions."
Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering), an ex-officio member, said during the discussion she was concerned about the lack of information on K-12 efforts given the state has put an emphasis on connecting the two systems. "It's certainly a very important topic...to the legislature, the governor and obviously the Regents," she said. "My only concern is that we make sure it's an aligned process."
Under the PreK-12 teacher preparation category, the report recommends collaboration between prep programs and K-12 schools to align the needs of learners with the requirements on schools in Ohio, BOR Associate Vice Chancellor of P-16 Initiatives Rebecca Watts said. It also recommends the chancellor enhance program standards for the various licensure preparation programs to include delivery of content, access to information resources, instruction in careers, education-to-career pathways and business and industry engagement strategies.
Working with the superintendent of public instruction, the report calls for the chancellor to collaborate to hold a career counselor conference for teachers, faculty, staff and leaders. "In our schools we know that we have counselors. How they are deployed is often as a testing coordinator...and so one of the things that's important in a leadership preparation - so the principal and the superintendent programs - is to talk about how do you deploy the resources that are available to you and we're not just always talking about money," Ms. Watts said. "If in fact you have a counselor in your building but you're actually not using them to the highest, best use for which they were trained, instead you're having them count test packets or you're having them coordinate scheduling, or you're having them do some other things that really are not the most effective use of their time, so we think that's an important thing in the preparation of principals and superintendents is that they have the skills and knowledge they need to most effectively use that expertise that's in their buildings."
The document additionally recommends the chancellor and superintendent of public instruction continually review education standards, school operating standards - both of which are under the purview of the State Board of Education - and educator preparation program standards - which fall under the chancellor's authority - among other things. "To make sure that we are aligning those requirements so that what's required for schools and teachers in the field are also embedded in our preparation program standards and the reverse so that we make sure as we're bringing new requirements and new standards...into what's out there for the existing practitioners," Ms. Watts said.
Regent Patricia Ackerman said she was disappointed the report does not touch on the history of career education in K-12. "We once had a network of career educators who were employed by school districts for the express purpose of doing many of the things this report talks about being done at that level," she said via videoconference. Ms. Watts said that topic reached beyond the state of education preparation and goes more into the K-12 side, which is why it is not contained in the report. Regent Elizabeth Kessler, who led the subcommittee that created the report, and Mr. See agreed the history element could be added to the report as one of the final edits before publishing the document.
Other areas where tweaks will be made to the report include a suggestion from Regent Timothy Burke, who called for clarity on what recommendations apply to public institutions and which apply to privates as well, such as the teacher preparation suggestions. Ms. Kessler agreed to the addition of some clarifying language. At the recommendation of Chairman Vinny Gupta, the report will include some conclusion sentences on next steps or implementation strategy. It will also recommend that although students can be taught to use social media to find jobs, they should also be informed what not to do through those outlets that could harm their chances of employment. Other Recommendations: Assistant Deputy Chancellor of Economic Advancement John Magill touched on recommendations in the Co-Op/Internship section. He said the report suggests diversifying the student populations participating in internships because minorities and women are underrepresented, which could be because of the disciplines in which internships are often offered. Engineering is a popular subject where internships are offered, but institutions should expand the majors and degrees that have internships programming, Mr. Magill said.
Cheryl Hay, deputy chancellor for Higher Education Workforce Alignment, said the Skills Gap section has three recommendations. They are: envisioning strategies to build ongoing, systematic mechanisms to "infuse" curriculum with industry-identified skills and knowledge needs; exploring the National Network of Sector Partners' work to inform efforts to create a workforce delivery plan for institutions; discussing expansion of institutional support and leadership roles to back state economic development and workforce joint goals.
The report also delves into recommendations for position career services as a "strategic advantage." Among the nine proposals is to explore the possibility of an academic requirement for student engagement with career services, studying the feasibility of adding a performance metric to the performance funding formula for student engagement, expand the collection of and reporting of employment data.
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