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Schools Quickly Pivot to a Virtual World

July 31, 2020 College of Arts and Humanities

2 women shake hands at a career fair

New initiatives with students in mind adapt on the fly.

By Gregory J. Alexander, Contributing Writer | Baltimore Sun Education Section

Launching a large-scale initiative at the onset of a world-wide pandemic may not be what the University of Maryland’s college of arts and humanities had in mind as far as timing goes. However, the college’s Be Worldwise, Get Worldready initiative’s goal of integrating career development into education to better prepare students for life after graduation may be happening at the ideal time of global economic uncertainty.

“We’ve always produced students with skills that are adaptive to changing workplaces, economies, what’s trending and how employment opportunities develop, so it’s appropriate to prepare students to be able to clearly articulate their skills, values and knowledge that they would bring to the workplace,” says Bonnie Thornton Dill, dean of the college of arts and humanities at University of Maryland.

The college of arts and humanities’ Be Worldwise, Get Worldready initiative (https://arhu.umd.edu/academics/career-initiative) is a multi-faceted one that involves strategic career preparation, curricular innovations and capitalizing on UMD’s regional and alumni partnerships.

“Our career readiness component is unique due to faculty engagement. We intentionally integrate career advisory into the academic curriculum.Also, we have incredible access to internship opportunities and alumni networks due to our location’s proximity to Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Annapolis. Many of our alumni stay in the area and are willing to give back to our students,” Thornton Dill says. “Our faculty engagement is what sets us apart, especially in the college of arts and humanities. We like to say that we are like a small liberal arts school with access to the resources of a major research university.”

Part of the Be Worldwise, Get Worldready initiative included retooling some existing majors and launching new majors and minors. For example, the English major was retooled with a focus on civic and cultural engagement and the launching of areas for students to specialize in – literary and cultural studies, language, writing and rhetoric, media studies, and creative writing – that allow for broader career options.

Read more in the Baltimore Sun Education Section.