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Championing career development with tailored support

The 2nd annual Queen’s Psychology Careers Conference held on March 22, with approximately 100 students attending. From left: Andrea Labelle, Undergraduate Assistant in Psychology; Stephanie Manuel,  Department Student Council Co-President; Meghan Norris, Undergraduate Chair; and Megan Herrewynen,  Department Student Council Co-President. (Supplied Photo)

Meghan Norris, Chair of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Psychology, is creating tailored career supports and teaching students how to apply academic knowledge to future careers.

“The discipline of psychology is both broad and deep; students learn rigorous research methodologies and data analytic techniques in tandem with learning about the subtleties of complex behavior,” says Dr. Norris. “As a result, our students are uniquely suited to lead initiatives aiming to solve many global challenges, yet it can be hard for them to identify how to translate their training into their next career steps.”

Dr. Norris has implemented a number of new initiatives including a career conference, a new course and a new open-source textbook.

The 2nd annual Queen’s Psychology Careers Conference held on March 22, had approximately 100 students register, with faculty and alumni in attendance. They spent the morning engaging in professional development training with Career Services, had a keynote luncheon with guest and alumni Michael Seto, and they spent the afternoon discussing traditional and non-traditional career options in the field of psychology through small group mentoring with industry professionals. The day ended with a larger networking session with industry professionals.

The new course, PSYC 204: Applications and Careers in the Psychological Sciences, teaches students to take action and think about a variety of career options. To support this course, Dr. Norris assembled a new psychology textbook focused on how psychological sciences are applied in practice. The Canadian Handbook for Careers in Psychological Science was written by experts across Canada, and is open-sourced, which means it is free to access, and will be available online at eCampusOntario this summer.

“Students receive training in the skills most desired by employers but, despite this, students sometimes have a hard time seeing the relevance of this training ,” says Dr. Norris. “By integrating lecture, active-learning, and guest speakers, this course strengthens student awareness of the link between the content they are learning and the many ways that this knowledge can be translated into a broad range of applications and careers.”

Through the development process of these initiatives, Dr. Norris took advantage of the consultation services of Career Services, who can help with creating tailored career support, including forming learning outcomes and designing activities to help students explore career options and articulate the value of their university experience. Miguel Hahn, Head Career Counsellor, then contributed to the conference and the course with customized career workshops, and also to the textbook with a chapter on career development.

“Dr. Norris’ initiatives are all great examples of how faculty can champion career education on campus,” Hahn says. “Bringing career education into the classroom is a crucial component in developing student career readiness before graduation. By meeting student’s needs early on, they are supported in exploring career options, reflecting on who they are, and making plans towards meaningful career goals.”

To explore opportunities and resources for creating tailored career supports, contact Career Services.