School of the Environment offers a Workshop on Marketing Critical-Thinking Skills to Employers

Monday, February 22, 2016 12:15:00 PM



 Students in STEP Workshop
Undergraduate Environment students participating in the School of the Environment’s STEP workshop in January 2016. From left to right: Zhen Kai Lin (4th year, Specialist in Biology and major in Environment and Health), Hiba Alam (3rd year, major in Environment and Health), Tsz Lam Vivien Yeung (4th year, major in Environmental Studies), Madeleine Crist (4th year, major in Environmental Studies) and Ashwati Michael (4th year, majors in Environmental Studies and Sociology).

For the second year, the School of the Environment held a workshop on Marketing Your Critical Thinking Skills for approximately 20 third and fourth year Environment students, on Saturday January 16 and 23, 2016.  It was offered in conjunction with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ STEP Forward program. Led by workshop facilitators Rachel York-Bridgers and Dorothy Gordon, the objective was to help prepare students for pursuit of a career through the provision of tools and strategies to market and present themselves effectively to employers. Interactive sessions were used to help students gain:

·       a better understanding of the importance and shortage of critical thinking skills in the workforce, and the high employer demand for these skills;

·       an understanding and awareness of the critical-thinking skills that students have acquired during their undergraduate students, and a review of what these are;

·       an understanding how employers and graduate schools assess and review critical thinking skills, and how to present them during the entire selection process from resume screening to the face-to-face interview.

Students in STEP WorkshopStudents in STEP Workshop 
TOP PHOTO, from left to right: Madeleine Crist, Tsz Lam Vivien Yeung, Hiba Alam, and Ashwati Michael.  BOTTOM PHOTO, from left to right: Hiba Alam, Tsz Lam Vivien Yeung, Madeleine Crist, and Ashwati Michael.

On January 16, workshop facilitator Rachel York-Bridgers reviewed why employers value critical thinking skills, and explained how to utilize them in developing a career path, apply them to professional, personal and community development, and create a professional profile or narrative to develop and present them.  Dr. York-Bridgers holds a doctorate from OISE/UT in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning and completed the School of the Environment’s graduate Collaborative Program in Environmental Studies, and currently teaches English and Critical Thinking at Southwestern Community College in Sylva, North Carolina.

On January 23, workshop facilitator and human resources specialist Dorothy Gordon demonstrated how to incorporate and present critical thinking skills in the application cover letter and resume, and in telephone screening and face-to-face interviews. She also provided guidance on interview skills and strategies, which the students put to the test in mock interviews.  Ms Gordon is a Human Resources Professional who has more than 25 years of private and public industry experience in this area.

One of the student participants, Christelle Broux (Honours BSc, majors in Environment & Science and Physical & Environmental Geography, and a minor in Environmental Studies), offered these comments on the value of the workshop:

I would highly recommend this unique workshop to any student looking to expand their knowledge on the applicability of critical thinking skills in the workplace. Both instructors were excellent at engaging participants, and I learned valuable information on how to market myself as I seek employment after graduation. They were also really helpful in providing feedback on how to tailor a resume and cover letter, while also providing the class a chance to reflect on the many aspects of interviewing and demonstrating your skill set.” 

A second student participant, Hiba Alam (Honours BSc, major in Environment & Health, and minors in Geographic Information Systems, and Physiology), stated

 “The workshop clarified how critical thinking skills developed in university are sought after by employers because it translates to a higher level of decision-making, communication and problem-solving skills.”

 

For more information on the School’s STEP workshop, please contact David Powell, Undergraduate Student Advisor, david.powell@utoronto.ca.