Introducing new CMU Gold Path

Career-readiness program helps students build a resume of cocurricular experiences

| Author: Ari Harris

Employers want to hire graduates with important professional skills, such as teamwork, communication, leadership and problem-solving. While many of these skills can be learned in the classroom, students also gain them by participating in hundreds of events and activities at Central Michigan University each year.

Now there’s a new way for CMU students to explore their interests, track their involvement on campus and reflect on the skills they build along the way: CMU Gold Path.

Campus involvement builds career readiness

Jennifer Drevon, program specialist for CMU Gold Path, said participating in campus activities offers students a wealth of benefits, such as developing a greater sense of community, having fun, earning better grades and even developing skills that can lead to the start of a great career.

Campus leaders began meeting about two years ago to discuss the link between professional skills and cocurricular activities, Drevon said.

"The National Association of Colleges and Employers publishes a list of employers' most-desired skills," Drevon said. "We know that students who participate in cocurricular activities are able to articulate those skills and are more desirable candidates, but we found that parents and students often did not see the connection between involvement and career readiness."

From those discussions, a small group called the Engagement and Employability Research Initiative emerged, composed of representatives from many of the offices in Enrollment and Student Services. Their research led to the creation of CMU Gold Path.

Starting the path

Cocurricular experiences are programs and activities tied directly to CMU’s academic mission and skill competency areas. Examples include participating in cultural heritage celebrations, attending leadership conferences, volunteering with community organizations, joining registered student organizations tied to academic interests and more, Drevon said.

“CMU Gold Path is a tool that allows students to design their journey with cocurricular experiences that fit their schedule and interests and then reflect on those experiences and learn how to showcase what they have learned on their resume and in job interviews.”

Over the summer, CMU launched a new student involvement platform called Engage Central, where students can find Gold Path events and activities. Incoming students are automatically enrolled in the program and can access their paths through the platform, but participation is optional. Current students also can opt in to the program through Engage Central.

The Gold Path can be completed in three phases: explore, engage and apply. In each phase, students will discover their strengths, narrow the focus of their interests and, hopefully, find their passions.

Campus involvement

Drevon said several campus events and activities are already approved for Gold Path, starting with IMPACT and Leadership Safari this month. Others can easily be added, Drevon said.

And she hopes faculty and staff will choose to add events to Gold Path.

"All programs that are part of CMU Gold Path are developed and led by CMU faculty and staff. We want to capture those events. Creating and tracking events in Engage Central is easy, and the Office of Student Activities and Involvement is eager to help. Faculty and staff also can email to get started."

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