Date of Submission

Summer 7-21-2017

Embargo

5-9-2017

Degree

Doctor of Education

Department

Education

Advisor

Dr. Paula Brook

Examiner

Dr. Melody Viczko

Examiner

Dr. Kathy Hibbert

Examiner

Dr. Lauri Johnson

OIP Defense Chair

Dr. Elan Paulson

Keywords

generic skills, transferable skills, soft skills, community college, program mapping, curriculum matrices

Abstract

The pressure upon post-secondary institutions in Ontario to address the persistent gap between the employability skill sets of their graduates and the changing needs of the modern workplace has never been greater. Forces such as the complexities of participating in a globally competitive economy, and advancements in information and communication technologies have shifted workplace expectations. Parents, students, and employers want to be assured that a diploma is indicative of the full range of skill sets necessary to achieve entry into a chosen occupation. The case method of analysis was used to examine one college’s quality assurance strategies for teaching and assessing Essential Employability Skills (EESs). Concerns with the validity for some of the EESs and the resulting issues with the reliability of curriculum mapping matrices were identified. Fink’s Integrated Course design (2013) is proposed as a strategy to address the gap between the employer expectations and what is taught and assessed in a community college. The establishment of a campus-wide working group to advance the EESs agenda, increased collaboration with Program Advisory Councils, and increased training are some of the solutions proposed. This problem of practice is considered through Bolman and Deal’s Four Frame Model (2013) and examines the pragmatic obstacles that thwart post-secondary efforts to equip their graduates with these employability skills. This Organizational Improvement Plan utilizes Cawsey, Deszca and Ingols’s Change Path Model (2016) as a guiding framework.