C olleges and universities are a powerful force for the advancement of Indiana and its residents as they educate the next generation of citizens and employees. To achieve their potential, however, the schools must adapt to rapid changes in technology and the economy and in both employer and student expectations. How to meet those challenges was a central focus of a conference at the Indiana State Museum in October 2017 under Lilly Endowment’s Round III – A Call to Action.
The Endowment brought together representatives from the 39 Indiana colleges and universities participating in the Endowment’s Initiative to Promote Opportunities Through Educational Collaborations. For nearly 15 years, and through three rounds of grants totaling more than $122 million, the Endowment has encouraged Indiana’s higher education institutions to develop programs to improve the job prospects of college graduates in the state. The gathering focused on how the schools can keep up to date on the changing dynamics of employer needs and the skills graduates will need to succeed in the workplace.
Sara B. Cobb, the Endowment’s vice president for education, urged the college and university representatives to be intentional about what abilities and skills their students will need to succeed in the future and be open to adapting their programs and services to address changing circumstances. She encouraged them to monitor on an ongoing basis the employment experiences of their graduates and to pursue strategies to sustain the successful programs that have been launched or expanded with Endowment support under this initiative.
Keynote speakers at the conference addressed change and urged the colleges and universities to support game-changing practices in career development and community and economic development partnerships that will make Indiana an attractive place for college graduates to live and work.
Among the messages:
Throughout the day, college and university representatives were offered break-out working sessions on sustainability and table discussions on topics such as faculty engagement, employer-partners, regional issues, curriculum changes, internships and marketing.
The Initiative to Promote Opportunities Through Educational Collaborations has included three rounds of grants since 2003. With this grantmaking effort, the Endowment is encouraging Indiana’s higher education institutions to develop activities and opportunities that will improve the job prospects of Indiana’s college graduates.