ON DEMAND: Using Career Case Studies in Your Curriculum (15 mins)
The Career Case Study project is a semester-long series of assignments in which students are asked to identify someone to interview about his or her career. Drawing on course concepts (e.g., the impact of family/social background on career, job fit, setbacks/challenges), students interview their case person five times throughout the semester and write short reports (500-750 words) summarizing their findings in the context of course readings and classroom discussions. Students are given questions to ask at each interview but are encouraged to adapt the questions and ask follow-ups as appropriate. This assignment can be easily tailored to address different course content and student populations; I am currently using it in a mixed-majors course in the Honors College, but it was adapted from a graduate-level assignment. The assignment has multiple strengths. It helps make course concepts real to students, as they hear how the concepts play out outside of academic readings. It also facilitates in-class discussion of concepts, as students can make connections to things that came up in interviews. Students tend to have very positive reactions to the assignment and often find it very meaningful. Many students interview someone they already know well (e.g., a parent), and the formal structure encourages them to ask questions they have never asked before and listen actively. This often leads students to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the interviewee. Many students have also reported that the interviews are very meaningful to the person that they interview.