Rateau, J. R., Kaufman, E.K., & Cletzer, D.A. (2015). Innovative Classroom Strategies that Prepare College Graduates for Workplace Success. Journal of Agricultural Education, 56(3), 52-68. doi: 10.5032/jae.2015.03052
In our increasingly competitive and rapidly changing world, it is critical that college graduates enter the workforce with the requisite skills for lasting success. However, recent studies suggest employers increasingly identify a workforce readiness gap in core applied skills, which must be bridged by company investment. Teaching strategies that develop applied skills will better prepare graduates for the workforce. The purpose of this study was to describe the classroom strategies of faculty instructors at Virginia Tech who received recognition for teaching excellence. Each participant took part in a semi-structured interview. After analysis, several themes emerged: (a) demonstration of enthusiasm for student learning; (b) willingness to experiment actively with new ideas for practice; (c) approaching teaching with a guiding mentality rather than directing; (d) fostering student ownership of learning; (e) keeping abreast of new developments and practices; and (f) investing the time and resources to overcome barriers to change. These themes signal an underlying trend: Instructors should focus on helping students become life-long learners by teaching how to prioritize and assess information, work in groups, solve problems, and understand divergent perspectives.