What is Career Connect?
In September 2016, the University of North Texas (UNT) selected UNT Career Connect—hereafter referred to as Connect—as the Quality Enhancement Plan for the 2016 to 2020 school years. Based on the experiential learning framework of John Dewey (1916), Kolb (1984) and Kuh (2010), Connect works collaboratively with UNT faculty, staff, and community partners to enhance, assess, and showcase UNT students' marketable skills by engaging them in high-impact, experiential learning, reflection, and ePortfolio activities in and outside of the classroom.
Career Connect “connects” UNT faculty, staff, students, and the community in mutually beneficial partnerships through, for example, internships, volunteer work, or study abroad. Career Connect (1) encourages UNT faculty, staff, and students to think intentionally about the job skills students learn within UNT curricular and co-curricular activities and (2) provides students opportunities to work and learn in “real-life” settings and use their UNT ePortfolios to target, evaluate, and showcase their skills in written and oral communication, critical thinking, and teamwork.
Kuh, G. D. (2008). High-impact educational practices: What they are, who has access to them, and why they matter. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Enhance, assess, and showcase UNT students' marketable skills by engaging them in existing or new experiential learning, reflection, and ePortfolio activities provided by UNT faculty, staff, and community partners.
Dr. Lauren Eutsler’s (Assistant Professor, Teacher Education and Administration) research focuses on using portable technology to support children’s literacy development and training pre-service teachers to effectively use portable technology to motivate, enhance, and improve children's literacy learning. At UNT, she teaches reading and elementary education courses in the undergraduate program. For example, she is currently teaching a Career Connect course that examines theoretical and practical aspects of emergent literacy and focuses on practices that foster motivated, strategic readers and writers.
Dr. Lauren Cross (Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Art and Design Studies) serves as a core faculty member for the Interdisciplinary Art and Design Studies program. Her research addresses interdisciplinary topics within the visual arts and design, including critical theory, social practice, art entrepreneurship/arts administration, curatorial studies/museum studies, multiculturalism, and women's and gender studies.
Dr. Laura Keyes (Lecturer, Public Administration) teaches art history and art education. Her students have worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters, at their request, to assist them in growing their volunteer recruitment, volunteer retention, and marketing strategies. Students applied the concepts from the class as it relates to organization management and volunteer mobilization to help the organization. Students completed surveys, analyzed the data, created formal proposals, and eventually presented this directly to leadership from Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Dallas. Sharma.
Dr. Rachita Sharma’s (Lecturer, Rehabilitation & Health Services) research interests include a focus on transition issues faced by Veterans in Higher Education, use of complementary and alternative medicine techniques in mental health treatment, resilience, positive psychology, mental health counseling, mindfulness, provider self-care, and multicultural competencies in counseling. She is currently teaching a Career Connect course that provides students with supervised practical experience in appropriate rehabilitation settings and emphasizes the application of course concepts and principles, and applicable skills.
Doryce Judd (Lecturer, Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation) has taught a variety of courses from undergraduate English to Accounting, Math, and Kinesiology at UNT. She is currently teaching a Career Connect course that involves the planning, implementation, and evaluation of a comprehensive worksite health promotion program in a corporate setting. The course includes the role of the health and productivity manager in developing worksite health promotion programs within a corporate setting. Ms. Judd’s research interest include a focus on Intention of exercise for at-risk and sedentary populations.
Dr. Talia Weltman-Cisneros (Assistant Professor, Spanish) teaches Spanish for Social Services and had students partner with United Way of Denton and partner organizations to help with translation and to welcome clients when they come in for tax preparation. Students benefited by communicating in Spanish in real-life situations and by better understanding the role of these organizations within the community. Dr. Weltman-Cisneros also required students to write reflections on their experience in Spanish throughout the semester, easily bringing together curricular goals with the service-learning experience.
James Thurman (Associate Professor, Studio Art) is a 2018 Distinguished Connect Partner and led a large multi-section course (ART 1450) with instructors and had students work with different thrift stores in Denton to obtain supplies students could up-cycle. Students were given an objective, for example, to design a costume. They used scrap materials to create something meaningful and valuable. Once the project was complete, students returned their finished product to the source. They submitted their products to the ePortfolio with their design process while recognizing the role of being able to return their upcycled product back to the community.