soft skills

Helping Today’s Students Become More Engaged Learners

What does it take to engage today’s students? How can you, as an instructor, motivate them to develop the skills, attitudes, and behaviors that help them achieve success not only in your own classroom, but throughout college and into the world of work? In “College is Not High School: Bridging the Engagement Gap,” a presentation offered during the 2013 Course Technology Conference, Beverly Amer provides insight into the expectations held by many of today’s college freshmen. She starts by examining current research that reveals students’ attitudes toward education-related behaviors such as studying assigned material, participating in class, managing their own Read More…


Identifying Appropriate Guest Speakers for Career-Focused Class Sessions

As an expert in your field, you’re more than qualified to offer students insight into the opportunities, challenges, and required skill sets of your discipline and profession. But in the interest of providing students with the broadest possible perspective on potential career paths, you may also see the benefit in allowing them to hear from individuals whose experiences, skills, or work environments differ from your own. If this is the case, you may consider inviting a guest speaker to address career-related topics or current professional issues during one or more of your class sessions. By virtue of your own expertise and Read More…


Assisting Students in Connecting College Studies to their Careers

Beyond wanting your students to soak up all of the course-specific knowledge you endeavor to instill in them every day, you likely also work hard to equip them with skills that will benefit them as they grow throughout their time in school and move beyond it, not only to a workplace, but to a career. In this recorded virtual event, titled Career Readiness and Transferring College Skills to the Workplace, leadership coach, author of (among others) the Master Student series, educator, and philanthropist Dave Ellis encourages you to consider what you can do to help your students make the Read More…


Helping Students Develop a Positive, Success-Focused Attitude

Without a doubt, we need the pertinent professional skills to get where we need to go career-wise, but beyond that, our attitudes can define our path in a powerful way. By maintaining a positive–yet realistic–mindset, we can remain persistent and keep going when we might otherwise be tempted to give up. These discussion and activity ideas from the Instructor Guide for Lauri Harwood’s Your Career: How To Make It Happen, Eighth Edition can help your students frame their knowledge, skills, and achievements in the most positive light. By participating in these activities, they’ll learn to express their accomplishments in concrete terms and Read More…


Activity: Minimize Stress and Avoid Procrastination

Maintaining a healthy balance between the things we have to do and the things we want to do is often a goal we overlook in the interest of getting things done at work and being successful. However, ensuring that you make time to do the things you enjoy can be an important step toward being more successful at work, and to lowering stress and avoiding procrastination. The activity below, included in Richard L. Daft and Dorothy Marcic’s Building Management Skills: An Action First Approach, First Edition can help you reflect on where you’re spending your time, and Read More…


Don’t Let the Tech Take Over: Master Mindfulness

Does this scenario sound familiar? You’re in a department meeting. As you lift your eyes to listen to the department chair, you look around the room and see that everyone has their eyes fixed on the screens of their electronic devices, with fingers busy typing, scrolling, or swiping. Two minutes later, your own phone buzzes to alert you about an incoming text message – and you can’t get your mind off of it. Clearly: everyone at this meeting is physically present, but where are their thoughts? Now, picture yourself having a lively conversation with a friend over a meal. You’re literally Read More…


Tips for Students: Planning Tomorrow’s Career… Today

Thankfully, we have seen some signs of improvement in the economy and employment opportunities. However, today’s graduating students continue to face a job market that presents many challenges, including relatively high unemployment rates, the potential for underemployment, and the possibility of returning to their parents’ home for financial (rather than familial) reasons. All is not lost, however! With preparation, dedication, and a willingness to squarely face today’s realities, it’s still possible for graduating students to find jobs that get them started down a viable career path. During Cengage Learning’s 18th Annual Course Technology Conference, Jeff Butterfield offered a special session Read More…


Tips for Students: Leadership Qualities — Staying On Target

Though certain people may seem to have that je ne sais quoi that inspires others to follow their lead, the ingredients of true leadership aren’t really a mystery. Many people have researched and studied the qualities that leaders possess, and they have observed many commonalities. If your students are aspiring to take on a management or leadership role in an institution or organization, or if they simply wish to have more influence in their circles of friends and classmates, encourage them to begin building the characteristics of a leader today. Andrew J. DuBrin has identified many of these characteristics in his book Read More…


How to Lead Meetings Effectively (and Efficiently)

It’s clear that meetings are a regular part of your professional life. But just because they’re inevitable doesn’t mean they need to be inevitably awful. With some thoughtful planning, a meeting can be a positive, productive event. To get yourself on the road to running an effective meeting, consider the principles outlined in Mary Ellen Guffey and Dana Loewy’s Essentials of Business Communication, Ninth Edition, summarized below. Before the Meeting

    Establish your purpose for calling the meeting. Are you hoping for a fruitful discussion of an issue or initiative, or will a simple message to relevant individuals adequately communicate your point? If the latter,
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Being Mindful of Your Social Media History

As we’ve discussed this week, social media can be leveraged to engage students and expand your own social network. However, many of us also use it for personal reasons, and the line between personal and professional can begin to fade. There is a certain level of privacy lost by displaying personal information online, and it’s important to be mindful of the history you’re leaving behind as you post. This can be particularly important for job seekers and for your students who are starting their quest for employment. In New Perspectives: Portfolio Projects for Soft Skills, author Beverly Read More…