Florida governor grills presidents over grad employment rates

Says schools need to ramp up career services

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) wants to improve employment outcomes for graduates of popular majors at public universities, Josh Logue reports for Inside Higher Ed.

Scott grilled public university presidents Thursday over career services for students in the two undergraduate majors with the highest enrollment statewide, which are psychology and political science.

Survey: The five most employable majors

In his "Ready, Set, Work " initiative, Scott challenged public university presidents to get 100% of alumni from popular majors employed or in graduate school within one year of earning their bachelor's degree.

Mixed reviews from presidents

Some presidents praised parts of the plan and said they agreed with Scott's goal.

"There are costs, but the goal of having full employment for our students is something I support," says University of Florida President Kent Fuchs. He noted, however, that he wants "to increase employment opportunities for all majors."

Others worried that the plan will put too much pressure on professors, who are supposed to be providing a well-rounded education, not guaranteeing a certain career.

"I guess the part that scares the faculty, including me, is the idea that we're kind of responsible for so many young adults and for their outcomes," says Jeffrey Cassisi, chair of University of Central Florida's psychology department.

The American Psychological Association recently updated its undergraduate curriculum guidelines to encourage professional development that prepares graduates for different career paths. For instance, the guidelines point out that a psychology degree is a liberal arts degree applicable to a range of fields  (Logue, Inside Higher Ed, 1/20; Curry, Gainesville Sun, 1/16).

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