Through its work with Upskill Orlando, Seminole State College worked to “skillify” its curriculum to help students gain skillsets that are most-sought-after by employers.
In Spring 2020, Seminole State College convened a task force to reimagine and refresh college-wide Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs), which represent skills Seminole State graduates acquire and master as they complete their coursework. The task force consisted of faculty and staff members from across the college including both Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. The goal of these efforts was to create SLOs that are faithful to those established by the State of Florida Department of Education, representative of a holistic student experience from application to graduation, and more reflective of the marketable skillsets that are so important for students to excel in the workforce.
It’s regularly noted that, as employers evaluate the effectiveness of their employees, the desirable skills that consistently rank highest include those like communication, teamwork/collaboration, creative/critical thinking, and cultural awareness. While these types of skills are routinely established and reinforced throughout a student’s college courses and co-curricular activities, they are not always explicitly stated in program/course descriptions and syllabi. The College’s emerging relationship with Orlando Economic Partnership and its work in skills-based hiring and “skillifying” the curriculum provided additional context to our discussions.
“Our engagement with the Orlando Economic Partnership has enhanced our focus on “skillifying” our curriculum. We are identifying the work-relevant skills that the faculty already teach and making explicit those to students and employers.”Dr. Georgia Lorenz, President, Seminole State College
What resulted from the task force’s deliberations were the following seven SLOs and accompanying visual icons:
Information Literacy – Discovering, interpreting, evaluating and using information appropriately in creating new knowledge and practicing life-long learning.
Effective Communication – Actively listening and respectfully exchanging ideas in verbal, non-verbal, and written formats with consideration for audience and context.
Application of Knowledge – Working individually or collaboratively to think critically, generate new ideas and formulate solutions to problems through quantitative and qualitative reasoning.
Creative Thinking – Giving expressive shape to ideas and gaining an appreciation for innovation and creativity.
Cultural Competence – Understanding cultural identity, valuing diversity and committing to equity through the continuous pursuit of the knowledge, awareness and skills needed to effectively engage in cross-cultural interactions and foster inclusion.
Ethical Reasoning – Assessing values within a broader social context to recognize and analyze how different perspectives can be applied to ethical dilemmas.
Civic Responsibility – Developing an increased awareness and actively participating in addressing civic, social, environmental and global issues.
During Spring 2021, departments in Academic Affairs and Student Affairs mapped their courses and student experiences to the new SLOs, with each course having designated primary, secondary and tertiary SLOs on which to focus. Doing so ensures students gain mastery as they move through their academic programs. As of Fall 2021, the seven new SLOs were included in the College catalog and in all course syllabi.
“As we move into the future, our goal is to help students better tie the skillsets they are gaining in their courses and across all their college experiences to the marketable skills that are sought after by employers.”Dr. Stephen Summers, Associate Dean, Seminole State College
About UpSkill Orlando
Made possible through the generous support of JP Morgan Chase & Co., UpSkill Orlando is a regional, skills-based talent strategy driving a pathway to Broad-based Prosperity™. UpSkill Orlando works to create upward mobility opportunities by working together with local employers and educators to create skills-based career pathways.