This is the time of the year that college students and soon-to-be graduates are actively ‘hitting the pavement’ looking for internships and jobs. As an employer, I am deeply troubled by what I see coming out of most colleges and university. Here are specific issues I have:
- Most collegiate curricula has not changed over the past 30 years, whereas the professional workplace has changed dramatically.
- Academia requires you to major… with no focus on industry. Yet the real world cares about the industry focus with your major being secondary.
- Students are being taught by academics, many of whom have never worked in an industry or workplace.
As students and parents of students who are paying the equivalent of a modest home for a college degree, I believe it is time to challenge academia. You are a customer. It is the job of the service provider, the colleges and universities, to prepare you or your child for the workplace. If the content (curriculum) is outdated and in many cases irrelevant, the modality of learning is outdated, the people providing the services are outdated, how can you possibly expect yourself or your child to be ready for the changing 21st Century? You would never accept this kind of service from any other place. Outside your home, spending on your child’s college tuition is the second largest investment you will make. Why not demand more? Why not demand for:
- Professors who spend part of their time in the workplace.
- Curriculum that is aligned with the industry and matrix of the workplace.
- Multiple modalities of learning (not just in a classroom).
- Schools that have heavy investments in continuous learning, alumni networks, Junior and Senior year internships, and external mentoring programs.
The abundance of human knowledge and easy accessibility to it now makes knowledge transfer a commodity — which is what academia has traditionally been selling. What schools can provide is real-world like simulation for four years that can allow our kids to learn, grow, mature, and be primed to be the most empowered generation in our history. Demand more… send letters to college faculty, staff, fellow parents, and urge them to change. Demand more — you are the customer, and a very high paying one… they have to listen or become irrelevant… which is the first step towards becoming extinct.