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Career planning will be part of the timetable for Humanities students

Students at the Faculty of Humanities need to pay greater attention to their careers while studying. Therefore, lecturers in a number of education programmes will now be equipped to link the theory from the textbooks with knowledge about managing careers and the job market.

By Stine Charlotte Saltofte Hansen, , 11/23/2020

In a pilot project, two lecturers have worked on career learning as part of their teaching. Now the Faculty of Humanities is ready to roll out a new course. The ‘Teach the teacher’ course makes sure the lecturers are equipped to teach students to link academic knowledge with practice in the job market. 

Lecturer and Head of Studies of Philosophy, Esben Nedenskov Petersen, has participated in the pilot project. He thinks it makes a lot of sense to work with career learning in teaching. 

‘Focus is on giving students the opportunity to work in their fields when they have completed their education. It’s about bringing their philosophical competencies into play, and our task is to help them with that’, says Esben.


Empathy with cognitive muscle

Career counsellors from SDU RIO are responsible for the Teach the teacher course. Here, the lecturers are introduced to literature on career learning. In addition, they gain knowledge about how workplaces work and what competencies they demand from their employees.

Esben Nedenskov Petersen had to choose which competencies he wanted to strengthen through his teaching, and he decided to train the students’ ‘empathy with cognitive muscle’. 

‘Empathy is about listening and putting yourself in other people’s place. By cognitive muscle, I mean that the students, based on their professionalism, must work systematically with the perspectives they encounter. In that way, they learn to spot places where they can help the company’, says the lecturer.


Employability and Career learning

  • Employability is the ability to succeed in the job market and an awareness of your career, which means that you bring yourself into play – not just for the first job, but also the next time you change jobs.
  • Career learning is about passing on/gaining an increased understanding of managing your own career and bringing your professionalism into play in the job market. 

Working with students’ career mindset is by no means a new thing for the faculty. For several years, all students have been taught Career Management Skills in the third semester of their Master’s degree programme. This subject prepares them to apply for jobs and trains them in seeing where they can use their knowledge. 

What is new is that management at the Humanities has decided that career learning will now be integrated as a natural part of the timetable.

Students must be career-minded 

‘When we introduced the subject Career Management Skills a few years ago, it was controversial among both lecturers and students at the Humanities. I’m pleased to say that attitude has changed since then. We can’t live with sending out graduates who are much delayed in starting their careers’, says Vice Dean for Education Lars Grassmé Binderup.

‘Some of the graduates get a shock when they leave university. We can see this in our studies. We can see that the vast majority over time get good careers, but we want the transition from education to job to be faster than it is today. The new thing is that we now to a greater extent want to include career learning in the subjects taught to the students – integrated with the academic content’.

A whole new dimension to the studies

SDU RIO’s career counsellor Kim Bæksgaard Hansen has helped create the Teach the teacher course. He believes that it’s a good idea to get career learning even closer to the students’ everyday lives.

‘When lecturers link theory with practice, students gain an increased understanding of the theory and the purpose of the subject. They become better at seeing how they can apply what they learn to a workplace. It gives a whole new dimension to the studies’, explains Kim Bæksgaard Hansen, who, together with colleagues, is responsible for retraining the lecturers. 


We know the world needs philosophers, but we just have to find out where they are needed.

Esben Nedenskov Petersen, lecturer and Head of Studies at Philosophy 

Lecturer Esben Nedenskov Petersen has made career exercises with a team of philosophy students who are in internships. Among other things, each student had to talk to someone from their internship site about how they see the organisation’s goals and values. 

Career learning is a supplement to professional competencies

In that way they practice listening to different voices in an organisation where employees and management may speak in different ways and have different perspectives. The lecturer sees career learning as a hugely important supplement to professional competencies.  

‘The students have already learned a lot about philosophy, and they are really dedicated to their field. We know the world needs philosophers, but we just have to find out where they are needed. In this connection the conversations help the students because they ask the world what it needs. Then the world can tell them where philosophers are needed’, he explains. 

Five education programmes will work with careers

Esben Nedenskov Petersen can see that all students have been more confident in their deliberations about the philosophical assignment they have to hand in at the end of the semester. So the exercise has not only opened their eyes to the possibilities in an organisation – it has also made them sharper academically.  

After the first experiences in the pilot project, the management at the Faculty of Humanities has decided that, to begin with, ten lecturers from five programmes will be upgraded in the Teach the teacher course. The first lecturers will begin the course in December.

This is explained by Vice Dean for Education, Lars Grassmé Binderup, who sees the course as a prerequisite for the lecturers to get off to a good start.
‘Our lecturers are very skilled in their academic fields, but they need to be upgraded when they are to link their academic knowledge with practical exercises in how the job market works. Typically, they don’t have any experience in that’, he says. 


Facts on career learning in the Humanities

  • For a number of years, the Faculty of Humanities has collaborated with SDU RIO’s career counsellors to create employability activities for students at the faculty. 
  • Among other things, in the form of career events and the ECTS-based subject Career Management Skills, a career learning subject, taught by the career counsellors from SDU RIO. 
  • Teach the teacher is a new course that SDU RIO and the Humanities have created together. During the course, the lecturers will be equipped to use career learning in the individual subjects.
  • The purpose is twofold: The students learn to link their field with job market practice. Career learning contributes to students’ understanding of the theory.
  • In the pilot project, lecturers from the programmes Philosophy and Design Theory have tried to integrate career learning into their subjects.