Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The After the Degree, Now What?" Conference - Our Fall 2009 Service-Learning Event

I am so proud of my students! Recently, my wonderful students sponsored a service learning event titled, The "After the Degree, Now What?" Conference. The idea for this conference was conceived last summer when I read a wealth of articles pertaining to the amount of Texans with four-year degrees that were facing layoffs. In addition, since I teach undergraduate students, I was very concerned with our students gaining employment (that they are passionate about) after graduating from our university in next few months. Then, I contacted another professor in the Communication Department and the Career Services Department and the idea became an actual event. 

We wanted our COMS 101 students to present the sessions, because the students would provide a service for the community and learn more about public speaking at the same time. My Interpersonal Communication class and her Small Group Communication class planned the ENTIRE CONFERENCE!

These wonderful students developed the title, added items to the backwards plan, and worked the entire conference. In addition, our beginning public speaking class (COMS 101) presented most of the sessions. The only session that they did not present was the "Panel Discussion of Professionals", which featured panelists from the graduate school, career services department, small business development center, financial management division, and the Texas Workforce Commission.

Here is a list of our sessions -

We used Google Docs to collaborate amongst ourselves and this proved to be a wonderful resource! As a result of our hard work, over 90 students attended the sessions and over 95 students presented the sessions. These students represented each of the five colleges on campus and over 20 different majors.

This was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I had the pleasure of working with the students who I teach in class every week. The students had the chance to know me outside of the classroom and I had the chance to see their true personalities. The students took ownership over the conference and made it their own. More importantly, I am very excited to offer a class project that will help the students develop their resume with service learning and job-related experiences.

I cannot wait until next year!

Dr. J. Edwards


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