Gift encourages broader development of valuable career skills – The Brock News

Note: This story is part of a series highlighting the impact of the late Stephanie Mitchell’s $2.7 million gift in 2020 in honor of her husband, Gerald Mitchell. The gift has since created the Gerald B. Mitchell Center. Excellence in Career and Experiential Education at Brock University.

Stephanie Mitchell dreamed of breaking down barriers and helping students of all backgrounds succeed after graduation.

That desire is being realized at Brock through the Gerald B. Mitchell Center for Excellence in Career and Experiential Education, which was established in her husband’s name following a legacy gift to the University.

Although new college graduates have the basic skills needed for the job market or for further education, they often struggle to translate their skills into these landscapes. This creates a perceived skills gap for graduates, which is actually just a skills translation gap, says Laura Fyfe, Skills Translation Coordinator at the centre.

Since joining the University in 2018, Fyfe’s work has focused on developing and integrating Brock’s 10 career readiness competencies across campus. The initial goal of the project was to help students translate their experiences, knowledge, skills and attributes into language used and understood by the workforce on and off the job, and has since led to Brock being recognized as an innovative leader throughout the postsecondary space. national and global stage.

Today, the ‘Brock Competencies’ have become an integral part of the University’s career curriculum and are embedded in all aspects of the centre’s work. Students entering their first year are introduced through workshop content, class presentations, career resources, and are offered throughout both curricular (such as co-op and experiential education courses) and co-curricular (such as Med and Law Plus) programming. .

By starting skills conversations early, students are prepared with a shared language when it comes time to engage with employers and community partners. When students use the skills as a basis for self-assessment and reflection in experiential learning, they are able to articulate their skills and knowledge and translate those moments in new and meaningful ways.

“Helping students understand and articulate the skills they are acquiring gives them a sense of ownership over their skill development and their career path,” says Fyfe.

“That ‘ah-ha’ moment when a student sees their role in a group project as ‘collaboration’, their essay writing as ‘effective communication’ and their original argument as ‘innovation’ is the moment students see its tremendous benefits .skills they’re learning here at Brock.”

As external interest in Brock Competencies grew throughout academia, so did interest within the University.

Most recently, Fyfe has been working with Brock’s Faculty of Humanities to establish specific departments that align with the Faculty’s Strategic Plan and the University’s original 10 competencies.

Recognizing that each student will experience and approach Brock’s competencies differently, expanding the idea to department-specific competencies will yield more tailored outcomes for students and teachers.

“The best teaching is always deeply, relentlessly self-reflective, as faculty work to adapt their practice to meet the changing needs of students and communities,” says James Allard, associate dean, Undergraduate Student Affairs and Curriculum, College of Humanities.

“The work of articulating the translation of competencies and skills is a crucial part of these efforts for two related reasons. First, it requires a necessary ‘step back’ to examine what we as teachers really want our students to know, beyond subject matter and course content, and therefore requires the critical self-reflexivity that drives the best teaching,” he said. “Second, Faculty of Humanities departments already bring together truly committed professors, the best way to work as a team and for our students to acquire the skills and competencies that are at the heart of our disciplines.”

The team at the Gerald B. Mitchell Center of Excellence seeks to establish specific career-ready skills in collaboration with each of Brock’s seven Faculties moving forward.

Brock’s ability to grow skills translation programming and improve the skills model is made possible in large part by a legacy gift from Stephanie Mitchell.

With no formal education of her own, her husband, Gerald B. Mitchell, was able to translate his experiential education into valuable workplace skills. His legacy will live on in all Brock students who engage in meaningful co-curricular and co-curricular experiences as they gain the ability to articulate and translate these skills and abilities that prepare them for the future of work.

Those interested in learning more about the Gerald B. Mitchell Center of Excellence and Brock’s competency and skills translation programming for Experiential Career Education can visit the center’s website or contact Fyfe at

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