Career Readiness

The Liberal Arts Advantage

CLA Undergraduate Education has been working diligently towards the Readiness goal of Dean Coleman's Roadmap, which states that "CLA alumni will be the most desirable graduates available."

To accomplish this, we are defining career readiness as the acquisition of ten Core Career Competencies. Nine of these competencies represent the very essence of liberal arts education - and the competitive advantage it represents in today's uncertain and dynamic economy. Career Management, the tenth competency, gives students the necessary tools to seek and obtain the careers they desire. 

The Core Career Competencies also provide a common language for all CLA staff and faculty to engage in an ongoing conversation with CLA undergraduates about their education and their career goals. In addition, we will provide students with the tools, skills and guidance to engage in academic and co-curricular experiences to develop these competencies. Ultimately, CLA graduates will articulate the value of their liberal arts education and successfully apply their competencies in their future career, and in life.


This college-wide effort has been underway since 2015, and we can report that significant progress has been made, as can be seen in the CLA Career Readiness Projects milestones reported so far.

We asked employers what they most valued in recently-hired and experienced employees. We also asked alumni what made them successful in their careers. We researched articles and reports to discover best practices in career readiness.

Overwhelmingly, they reported that it was the liberal arts education generally, and competencies such as thinking critically, communicating clearly, and solving complex problems, specifically. They also told us that the core competencies are more important than specific undergraduate majors.

In other words, these employers are telling us is that a liberal arts degree, with its emphasis on a well-rounded education, is the foundation for a productive career.

“An education in the liberal arts is a springboard to lifelong career success”
- Dean John Coleman

Compass Team

Christine Anderson, Learning Abroad Center
Judith Anderson, Career Readiness
Lisa Beecroft, UGE Communications
Angela Bowlus, Advising
Colin Delong, Office of Application Development
Julie Ann Edin, Advising
Andy Gammons, CLA Recruitment
Erica Giorgi, CLA Alumni Relations
Nanette Hanks, CLA Curriculum & Instruction
Maggie Heier, CLA Career Services
Ascan Koerner, Career Readiness
Amy Lohmann, UGE Communications
Colin McFadden, LATIS
Leah Milojevic, Advising
Les Opatz, Advising & Student Support
Paul Spangle, First Year Experience (FYE) Program
Gabriela Sweet, CLA Language Center
Paul Timmins, CLA Career Services
Simone Vuong, Office of Application Development


Ascan F. Koerner

Faculty Director
Career Readiness Initiative
Professor & Director of Undergraduate Studies, Communication Studies
Johnston Hall #106
(612) 301-1606

Judith Anderson
Career Readiness Coordinator
Johnston Hall #106

Ana Eliason
CLA Internship Coordinator
Bruininks Hall #411