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The University of Wyoming is continuing to expand its career readiness efforts. Learn how their undergraduate experiential learning and career readiness initiative, “UW SOAR”, has progressed, evolved and grown over the past 12 months.
UW continues to find ways to leverage Suitable's transformative web and mobile capabilities to personalize the student experience and build career-ready students.
Learn more about how they do it and how the newest department, the College of Engineering and Applied Science, launched its own SOAR program on Suitable.
The University of Wyoming, located in Laramie, Wyoming, is home to 13,000 students, 11,000 of whom are undergrads. The University of Wyoming offers a wide range of both undergraduate and graduate degrees and majors through its 6 undergraduate colleges and multiple interdisciplinary programs and departments.
With a small student/faculty ratio of 14:1, UW is home to the Wyoming Cowboys and competes in the NCAA Division I-A level athletics and as a member of the Mountain West Conference. UW provides a healthy-minded environment with the Half Acre recreation facilities, the Outdoor Program, UW credit for National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) courses, 19 club sports teams, and 45 intramural sports.
It was over 3 years ago when the University of Wyoming staff wanted to create a program that better prepared their students for the future, boosted engagement and tracked metrics that supported the UW Strategic Plan.
The plan included core competencies such as community service, civic engagement, diversity, global experiences and more. UW was seeking a platform that supported all these goals, was able to be personalized and made life easier for students and administration alike.
Thus, UW SOAR was born. UW SOAR is a competency-based program comprised of high-impact experiential opportunities that will engage, shape and prepare students to meet complex challenges in the future.
After the research and demos were complete, UW chose Suitable due to its unique gamification features, personalization capabilities and supportive, diligent approach to university success.
Since then, UW hasn’t slowed down. Between finding ways to leverage Suitable to personalize the student experience and growing campus adoption of UW SOAR - the team continues to scaffold career readiness, boost engagement metrics and improve the student experience.
UW SOAR features 7 core competencies.
The UW team has accomplished a lot over the past four years. UW SOAR began in 2018 and has expanded every year since.
The latest addition is the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences SOAR dashboard. The mission of this SOAR program is to provide students a place to prepare for and enter their careers successfully. CEAS SOAR focuses on hard skills used directly in the Engineering industry.
Tyler Grabner, Associate Director of Career Services at the CEAS Center for Student Success, and his team are working towards this mission with three types of badges.
Advising, Career, and Exploratory Studies Center Manager, Special Projects and Exploratory Studies, University of Wyoming
Since CEAS SOAR launched in 2021, employers have already started taking notice of students who are completing badges. Companies have requested reports of students that have completed certain badges and students have even gotten hired after getting the hands-on experience and education the badges promote.
Not only is this a great sign for future career readiness goals, but the CEAS SOAR initiative already has well over 2,000 activities completed and a 43% student engagement rate within less than 12 months.
The UW SOAR program has grown significantly over the past 4 years, and the team has no intention of slowing down anytime soon.
Some of the continued goals and expansions of UW SOAR include:
Within the next 2-3 years, the goal is that any new general education requirements that have an element of experiential learning are launched within SOAR.
In addition, the team is looking to house all student employment evaluations (self and supervisor) within the SOAR platform.