A program related to students’ experiences outside of the classroom has been revived at SUNY New Paltz after failing to launch about five years ago.
The Co-Curricular Transcript (CCT) is now ready, with the help of Web-based resources, to reboot and assist students in keeping a “record of all their co-curricular experiences on campus.”
“We brought in Computer Services and last spring we laid out a cost analysis, ‘[asking] what type of resources it would take to make it happen,’” said Mike Patterson, director of Student Activities and Union Services. “One of the caveats, it had to be completely web-based.”
It was implemented last summer and officially launched this fall semester, according to Patterson.
Besides having an academic transcript and a work-related resume, students with a CCT will have the opportunity to show potential employers or graduate school admission boards this third “document” that captures another side of the student. Patterson said one that reveals, for example, what it was like to manage a budget, or activities that challenge a student’s moral and ethical reasoning.
To begin the CCT, students must be in their second year at New Paltz and attend what an Office of Student Activities and Union Services CCT pamphlet calls an “enrollment workshop.” Patterson said at these workshops, he can register students on-site at my.newpaltz.edu, to gain access to and start building their CCT immediately.
“As we proceed to program through, we’ll add more [students] as they approach graduation,” Patterson said. “That way, hopefully students are entering their experiences as they complete them.”
He also said things must be validated by a “stamp of approval” from a college official, this process would make it hard to go back several years and validate past students’ experiences.
Tonda Highley, director of the Career Resource Center (CRC), said that although it’s web-based, it’s at these workshops, orientations and registrations where students interact with professionals. This step can’t be ignored.
“My staff [assists] on how to utilize internship and job searches or [how] to apply to graduate school,” she said. “[It’s a] very important educational piece that can’t be done online.”
That’s not to say Highley doesn’t believe the Internet is necessary for the program to succeed. She said it “streamlines the process” and makes it more accessible “where everyone can participate.”
“Technology is going to make it work this time,” Highley said.
The CRC has teamed up with the CCT to discern the 19 most desirable skills employers seek in students. Patterson said none of the 19 stands out in particular, but that he wants students to consider all of them, as each speak “the employer’s language.”
Some of the 19 skills from the CCT pamphlet include fiscal management, verbal communication, teamwork and writing skills.
Still, Patterson is working on getting faculty and staff to understand that this program exists and that it’s a “great tool.” He said his office sent out a campus-wide e-mail, educational workshops have been created and announcements were made at faculty and staff meetings.
“The faculty I’ve heard back from think this is a wonderful program,” Patterson said.
Currently there are 240 experiences in the system, from the student affairs division that were prompted to enter their information over the summer. Patterson believes the system will receive 1,000 requests “at some point.”
“The next step is getting the rest of our academic units, and other units on campus to submit their experiences,” he said.