Dominican Experience

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A new national study reveals that business executives want to hire students with skills associated with the liberal arts — the very skills Dominican develops and showcases through its unique model for successful student engagement, The Dominican Experience.

The new study, conducted on behalf of the Association of American Colleges & Universities, summarizes selected findings from two parallel national surveys — one of 501 business executives at private sector and nonprofit organizations and another of 500 hiring managers.

When hiring recent graduates, employers place a high priority on demonstrated proficiency in a variety of skills and knowledge areas that cut across majors.

Among the key findings:

  • Executives and hiring managers agree that desired college learning outcomes include oral communication, critical thinking, ethical judgment, working effectively in teams, written communication, and real-world application of skills and knowledge.
  • Internships and apprenticeships stand out as the applied learning experiences most highly valued by employers: 93 percent of executives and 94 percent of hiring managers say they would be more likely to hire a recent graduate who has held an internship or apprenticeship.
  • Completion of applied and project-based learning experiences give a recent graduate an advantage in the hiring process.
  • Business executives and hiring managers find ePortfolios (digital portfolios) more helpful than college transcripts and resumes alone when evaluating and hiring recent graduates.

The Dominican Experience — underpinned by an ambitious set of institutional learning outcomes  that are a match for the outcomes identified in the AAC&U study—supports the personal and academic success of students in all majors.

Students engage in four cornerstone experiences: integrative coaching, community engagement, signature work, and digital portfolio development. Together, these practices integrate knowledge with hands-on experiences, the curriculum with the co-curriculum, and the liberal arts with the professions. Students gain and practice the skills executives and hiring managers seek in future employees.

Integrative Coaching
Integrative Coaches begin mentoring students before they step foot on campus and continue one-on-one academic and personal support all four years. With guidance from an Integrative Coach, every student crafts a digital portfolio; develops an education plan and a career plan; hones college and life skills; and pairs with a Peer Mentor and a Career Mentor.

Community Engagement
Through service-learning, global learning, internships, clinicals, fieldwork, or community-based research, students tackle real-world problems in collaboration with Dominican’s community partners. These hands-on experiences deepen students’ learning while helping them hone communication and critical thinking skills, collaborate across disciplines, and work as part of a team. For example: Jason worked with local youth and young mothers to mount a community art installation through a service-learning course. Katherina and Haley collaborated with a community hospital in Uganda through a global learning course. Lilly and Zhanna interned at San Rafael-based cosmetics company Juice Beauty, putting their marketing and public relations skills to work. Gina, Jessy, Crisha, and Brad won top prize in a teamwork challenge to innovate solutions to real-world problems using a 3D printer. Sheridan and Luz performed community-based research on elephant seals at the Point Reyes National Seashore.

Signature Work
Theses, capstones, and senior projects are types of signature work, intended to integrate every student’s classroom learning with applied, real-world experience. Student inquiry and personal interest drive every original project, be it written, illustrated, or performed. Students present their work at Dominican’s annual Scholarly and Creative Works Conference and publish it in our digital repository, Dominican Scholar. Examples of signature work reflect the diversity of Dominican’s academic offerings.  Avni studied the effects of decreased pH on intertidal shore crabs. Jack analyzed the use of social media in a presidential election. Megan examine teaching strategies for including special needs students in the elementary school classroom. Jesse created his own style of dance.

Digital Portfolio
Every student crafts and refines a digital portfolio –– essentially, a personal website –– to showcase reflections on their learning, milestone assignments, an education plan, and a career plan. Integrative Coaches or Peer Mentors provide technical and content support from day one. Students and alumni own their digital portfolios to share with prospective employers. Sayra included reflections and photos from her Panetta Institute Congressional internship. Amelia posted videos of her dancing and a professional resume. Gareth set personal goals to accomplish on his way to becoming a nurse. Patricia published original lesson plans for the elementary school classroom.

Dominican Alumni Stories

  • Brittany is now applying her experience last summer as Graduate Assistant for Student Engagement at Dominican to her new job overseeing first-year student programs in the Dean of Students Office at Harvard University.
  • Newly promoted at LinkedIn, where he began working as an intern between his junior and senior year, Jake continues to draw on the skills he developed at Dominican.
  • Kelsey's experience as a Biological Sciences major and volleyball player at Dominican served her so well that she is in pursuit of her doctorate in Physical Therapy.
  • A love of sports led Dr. Anthony to Dominican, and now a love of sports has led him to fellowship in sports medicine at the Kerlan Jobe Orthopedic Clinic.
  • Justin works at the “First and Finest” United States Navy hospital in the country, thanks to Dominican’s nursing program.
  • Casey's student-athlete experience at Dominican led him to Northeastern University to Harvard to Wake Forest University and now to the University of Colorado in Boulder where he has accepted a position as Assistant Director of the Buff Club.

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