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What information competencies do employers need from recent college grads?

Monday, May 13, 2013

A newly released paper tackles one of the thorniest issues in higher education: What competencies make today's college graduates hirable?

The paper, co-authored by Project Information Literacy's (PIL's) director Alison Head, iSchool doctoral students Jordan Eschler and Sean Fullerton, and California Maritime Academy librarian, Michele Van Hoeck, appears in this month's Library and Information Research's special issue on workplace information literacy and lifelong learning.

Findings are based on 23 US employers and focus groups with a total of 33 recent graduates from four US colleges and universities. Employers said they recruited graduates for their online searching skills but once graduates joined the workplace they rarely used the traditional, low-tech research competencies that their employers also needed. Graduates said that they used skills from university for evaluating and managing published content; yet most graduates still needed to develop adaptive strategies to save time and work more efficiently.

A preliminary model compares information problems in the university with those of the workplace. Opportunities are identified for preparing students to succeed beyond the academy in the workplaces of today and tomorrow.

PIL's ongoing research study is founded and directed by Dr. Alison Head and Dr. Michael Eisenberg. Head is a Fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society and an Affiliate Associate Professor in the iSchool. Eisenberg is a Professor and Dean Emeritus of the iSchool. The study was funded by an IMLS Planning Grant during 2011-2012.

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