VOLUME 30, NUMBER 33 THURSDAY, May 20, 1999

UB 202: new course developed to help students explore career options

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News Services Editor

Undergraduates who are undecided about what career path to follow soon may have an easier time figuring it all out, thanks to the new "UB 202" course to be offered in Fall 1999 through the university's Office of Career Planning and Placement.

Decision-making strategies, identifying career options, finding an internship, resume writing and interviewing skills are examples of some topics students will explore in "UB 202."

Developed by staff members of the Office of Career Planning and Placement, the new course targets sophomores as a follow-up to the freshman "University Experience" course, "UB 101," but is open to all undergraduates. However, unlike "UB 101," which is a one-credit pass/fail course, "UB 202" will be a graded, three-credit course.

"We are trying to reach students at an earlier stage of their undergraduate career," said Daniel Ryan, director of the career planning and placement office and "UB 202" instructor. "Students often wait until their senior year to start planning for their future. We want to expose them to their options earlier and give them the tools to research those possibilities so that they can make an educated decision."

Ryan will be teaching one of the initial three sections to be offered in the fall. The other two sections will be taught by Steve Harvey and Sandra Handy, career-planning-and-development associates.

"Students often get information about careers from the popular media, which results in false notions about what certain professionals actually do," explained Ryan. "For example, most undergraduates think they have a good idea of what lawyers do, but they have absolutely no concept of the research or the business side of it."

He cited the television shows "Ally McBeal," "ER" and "The Practice" as contributors to students' unrealistic, or glamorized, image of some careers. He added that an important component of "UB 202" will be to provide students with more realistic information about careers they may be pursuing.

Students also will study such important topics as economic trends for the 21st century, workplace-equality issues, work environments and using the Internet as a career resource.

Ryan added that the class size will be kept small to ensure that each student receives individualized attention for a more meaningful experience.

Course goals, as listed on the syllabus, are to understand that the components of career choice include career, personal and educational awareness; to recognize that a career is a lifelong process that involves continuous evaluation and reprioritizing of values; to identify personal interests, skills, and values, and compare them with several career options; to learn the skills involved in researching and acquiring a job, and to learn how to make decisions and set short- and long-term goals.

Students also will be required to take the Strong Interest Inventory and Myers-Briggs personality tests to help them determine careers that best match their interests and personalities.

"Students usually have some idea about what they want to do, but they don't have the breadth of experience that we want them to have when it comes to exploring and developing these interests," explains Ryan.

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