I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and New Year’s celebration with family and friends. After a short break, I am excited about the start of a new semester and the opportunities it brings. At the UA we welcomed all of our students back to campus just a few short weeks ago. We are also preparing to present an update on our strategic academic and business plan, Never Settle, to the Arizona Board of Regents and working to finalize an Academic Affiliation Agreement with Banner Health.
With classes well underway, one of our focal points remains the importance of preparing students for a successful career and fulfilling life after graduation. Our students face unique challenges today, as employers have come to expect a diverse skill range that often goes beyond the single disciplinary competency traditionally represented by a college degree. For this reason, students are discovering that they must apply their knowledge outside of the classroom before they graduate in order to go through the cognitive process of applying knowledge in new settings and new situations, which helps to ensure that they have the flexible set of skills and abilities needed to be successful.
The need to prepare students for this reality is one of the reasons why the UA has implemented its 100% Engagement initiative. As The Chronicle of Higher Educationreported, a recent survey from the Association of American Colleges and Universities indicates a large gap between the expectations of students and those of their prospective employers after graduation. To close this gap, our focus on 100% Engagement will ensure that every student who graduates from the UA will have had at least one experience translating and applying their knowledge beyond the classroom.
As part of the initiative, the UA is creating a framework to identify curricular and co-curricular engagement activities that will encourage UA students to apply their knowledge in transformative experiences with lasting impact on their professional and personal lives. Through the leadership of our Student Affairs and Enrollment Management/Academic Initiatives and Student Success division and our Academic Affairs division, the UA is defining 100% Engagement broadly to include a variety of activities designed to develop competencies ranging from civic responsibility to global and intercultural comprehension. Importantly, these activities and competencies will enhance student success by streamlining the process of approval for credit-earning engagement experiences.
Another important step forward is the Institute for Career Readiness and Engagement, which, with the support of the Office of the Governor, will allow us to connect our students with experiences and employers like never before. The UA is also finalizing the details for a Signature Graduation with Engagement notation, which will provide engagement designations on transcripts, empowering UA students to better represent their accomplishments and diverse skills to employers.
You can read more about these efforts in this month’s insert, as well as a wonderful example of how UA students and faculty are reinventing the internship in line with 100% Engagement. My most recent blog post discusses these issues in more depth with some great examples of student engagement. I encourage you to read it to find out the many ways that the UA is preparing the next generation of business leaders, scholars, artists, and scientists.
With these and other efforts in place, the UA has a bright future of student success. Thank you for your continued support.