This week, Dean Jarley wrote a blog about “super-sizing” our curriculum (http://pauljarley.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/super-sizing-the-curriculum/). In it he referenced a young lady who didn’t want to get more education for the same price because she already had a job. In other words, she was happy having to put forth the minimum effort. Our Dean rightly prognosticated that her employer, “would not rejoice.”

If you’ve paid any attention to this blog (and I hope you have!) you should know two things by now; we are making some significant changes particularly in the services offered by this department, and I’m very…um…”direct” in my opinions about the changes. My feeling is that since over 3/4ths of you will seek employment after graduation and since you are paying us a significant amount of money to prepare you for that, we owe it to you to do the best job possible. And if that means telling you things that you don’t like or making you do things you don’t want to do, it’s ok as long as it’s in your best interest. Because you are saying you want to go to work after graduation, we’ve brought in employers and working alumni to tell us what we need to do to prepare you. The operational changes to the Office of Professional Development and addition of Career Professionalism classes come from two years of group and individual research into why graduates can’t find jobs. We can’t fix a sluggish economy, but we can make sure that you are prepared for what you’ll find!

They young lady the Dean references in his blog represents one of the reactions I’ve noticed to our addition of four, one-credit career development classes to the undergraduate curriculum. Denial and pining for the easy way out. This is the “Private Benjamin” reaction. In the movie, Goldie Hawn tries to explain to Eileen Brennan that she, “didn’t sign up for this Army.” She was expecting something much different and wasn’t happy that it sounded harder.

Private Benjamins are looking for the path of least resistance. They liked not having to show up for class. They liked getting four hours of credit for classes that our faculty recognized could be worth three. In most cases these are the same students who have no idea what they want to do after graduation or are just here because someone said, get a degree in business. They have no rudder; no desired destination. Effort, therefore, is unfair because when they signed up, things were easier.

The other reaction I’ve seen is what I’ll call the “Whopper.” Many years ago Burger King ran a commercial starring Meadowlark Lemon of the Harlem Globetrotters where he creates this huge stack of Whoppers to show how you can, “have it your way.” Burger King was competing with McDonalds on choice. If you want your Big Mac without pickles, be prepared to wait. But if you want your Whopper without pickles, you can have it your way!!

Whoppers say they like the concept, but they just don’t need it. In their opinion, they already know what to do because they are: already working, older, more mature, already professional, have experiences no one can imagine, can leap tall buildings in a single bound, etc. Some are polite in their push back. Most are not. One student said he was already professional and then tried to hit on the Career Coach. Yes, I know his name, yes he is in my class, no I won’t forget him… Others chose to spew expletives at the student working at the desk as if she had enacted this change on her own and was the one responsible for this perceived miscarriage of justice. Yes, I know their names, yes they are in my class, no I won’t forget them! And I can cuss WAY better than them…

So what are your options? For students in a previous catalog year who haven’t taken all the core classes that were changed to accommodate the new classes or changed their major and now have the new classes added to their audit because they are in the new catalog year, come see a member of our Advising Team. We can probably come up with a solution that won’t require you to postpone graduation. We won’t waive the new requirements, but we can work on the schedule with you taking into consideration what you need to do to satisfy graduation requirements. Total credit-hour requirements for graduation have not increased so these changes won’t cost you more money or make your program longer. You will however, have to come to class and you may have to work harder. Complain to your boss about that and see how much sympathy you get.

For students entering the college, this is what we offer; the opportunity to work hard and differentiate yourself despite being a student in one of the largest Colleges of Business in the nation. If that isn’t what you want that’s ok. If you prefer online classes or a different curriculum or making up your own program or easier work, there are educational opportunities available to you in other UCF colleges or other institutions outside of UCF. Make an informed decision and pursue that choice with passion and energy. If you choose to stay, we are glad you are here. We want you to be engaged. We want you to learn how to make good decisions, take risks, and move out of your comfort zone. We want you to be motivated and self-sufficient. We want your degree to be respected and valued in the business community that will someday hire you. But mostly, we want you to be successful and proud of what you DONE when you’re grown up!

Lonny

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