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Facing the job market with a multimedia portfolio
Putting a résumé on a CD is nothing new. PLU, however, has taken the idea a step further. It's called a Multimedia Digital Portfolio (MDP) and includes video testimonials, in addition to a résumé.
The MDP program logo
"Companies that hire our graduates want evidence that they have the skills and abilities that enable them to solve problems and help satisfy customer needs," says business Professor Thom Sepic. "In other words, that they possess the skills to perform up to company expectations."
He adds, "The MDP shows that our students are knowledgeable in the liberal arts and that they also understand the importance of skills such as critical thinking, leadership, communication, team effectiveness, and how to manage change. It shows that they have global awareness, and discipline-based knowledge and that they also have mastered technology."
Sepic, whose background includes working as an employment interviewer for a national food service company, knows what employers want. Working with Layne Nordgren '76, Lindsay Tomac '98 of Media Services, and Kirk Isakson, director of multimedia productions, Sepic explored ways to demonstrate to prospective employers that a student was competent as well as knowledgeable. The MDP team also included PLU President Loren J. Anderson, education Dean Lynn Beck, arts Dean Kit Spicer, and business Dean Don Bell.
A list of competencies (skill sets), used as a guideline for MDP content, was developed for the Schools of Business and Education. A set of multimedia competencies was developed for students who use technical skills in their PLU classes.
"Ideally," continues Sepic, "as first year students work through the curriculum, they will rate their classes against these competency guidelines, and evaluate how their classes fit into the overall knowledge and skills they take with them when they graduate."
Twenty-five students from business, education and physical education took part in the initial workshop last fall. "During the year-long seminar, students learned to write scripts, videotape their assessors, and create Web pages to highlight their competencies, each for a different audience: school districts, corporations and graduate schools," Sepic said.
At the same time, a multimedia lab was assembled. "Since the April 14 opening, word about the project has spread and more students have asked about the process," Isakson says.
This summer, Sepic, at the invitation of Jerry Berberet of the Association of New American Colleges, presented the MDP concept to member institutions in Ithaca, N.Y. In addition, he presented the program at PLU's faculty fall conference earlier this month, "to start a cultural revolution to change the nature of the educational process at PLU," he says.