PULLMAN, Wash.- An innovative new course at Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication is preparing students to secure job opportunities when they graduate.
Called “Launchpad,” the course’s mission is to provide the foundational tools and training every Murrow College student needs, according to Rick Boyce, course creator and Murrow College graduate. Boyce started the Murrow Mentor program in 2012 and drew from his experiences mentoring students to develop Launchpad.
Students begin the course by defining their career objectives and describing the roles they seek in their upcoming job searches. Additionally, Boyce teaches them to maximize the time before graduation to build their resumes and find and fill the gaps between past experiences and the duties described in the job descriptions that interest them.
“Rick’s work with our mentor program has allowed him to master the role of mentor,” said Sara Stout, director of Murrow Student Services. “The Murrow Launchpad curriculum is a direct result of his success as a mentor. He is passionate about this role as mentor, and the Launchpad seminar is allowing him to reach a larger audience in helping to prepare Murrow students for the career search.”
Boyce, a member of the Murrow Professional Advisory Board, will guide a cohort of 14 highly motivated Murrow College students through 10 class sessions this semester. The one-credit course is part of the college’s Career Ready programming and is designed to be light on lectures and heavy on hands-on learning opportunities. Boyce provides one-on-one coaching outside of class to support each student’s individual development. They refine the student’s career objective statement, create a purpose-driven resume geared toward a specific job, develop a compelling LinkedIn profile, conduct a targeted job search, and prepare outreach strategies for establishing a dialogue with their target companies. Murrow College provided a class application to all juniors and seniors with a major in Strategic Communication or Communication and Society.
Boyce plans to study how to effectively expand a single mentor’s influence from a one-to-one ratio to one-to-many. An exciting challenge, he said, is that each student’s journey from college to career is very personal and each experience is unique, which makes office-hour meetings with students essential to provide the requisite one-on-one coaching to accompany the classwork.
A month into the course, students are embracing the class and Boyce said he is impressed with how quickly they are creating action steps to achieve the careers they want. Students link their experiences to the requirements of their ideal future job. By understanding the requirements of their potential future employers, the students are better prepared for interview conversations, Boyce said. They know exactly what the employers are looking for and are able to describe their experiences within the framework outlined by those employers in their job postings.
“I’m excited to continue to refine this program with the support of the Murrow College,” Boyce said. “Clearly there is an interest and need for students to enhance their career readiness and I’m looking forward to scaling this curriculum to a broader community of Murrow students in future semesters.”