Research project: VBP Project & the T-shaped Professional
Lead researcher: Jennifer Mobley, Assistant Dean for Service-Learning and Chair of Department of Communication and Visual Arts at the Grove City College, PA.
I see the VBP Project as a shining example of what it means to educate our students to become a T-shaped professional - one who possess deep disciplinary knowledge along with a keen ability to communicate across social, cultural and economic boundaries. I would like to propose a study in which we look further into the work of T-shaped professionals and the VBP Project. I contend that the VBP Project exemplifies the boundary-spanning competencies that are required for a T-shaped professional: communication, project management, teamwork, critical thinking, networks, and perspective. These "T-shaped professionals" are in high demand for their ability to innovate, build relationships, advance research and strengthen their organizations. I see potential for an exciting collaboration between others who do work in this area, most notably IBM and Michigan State University.
This proposed study could incorporate two perspectives:
1) Employer perspectives: As a former associate director of career services, I am interested in researching employer perspectives on a variety of issues, and I would like to look further into the intersections between the VBP Project and employer perspectives on virtual collaboration. I think it would be interesting to interview employers regarding the benefits and challenges of virtual collaboration with a particular eye to what employers believe that undergraduates should know or experience when they enter the workforce. We could also make a contribution to the literature on T-shaped professionals by collecting rich qualitative data to illuminate how and to what extent T-shaped professionals are able to innovate, build relationships, and strengthen their organizations. This data could provide a richer and more nuanced context than employer surveys which has typically dominated that area of study.
2) Longitudinal perspectives: I would be interested in following the career trajectories of students who participated in the VBP Project and who are now in their first (or perhaps second or third) job. It would be particularly interesting to interview former VBP Project students who are now working in a role that involves virtual collaboration. A longitudinal perspective could also provide a richer and more nuanced context than the current literature on T-shaped professionals.
Please contact Jennifer directly at JAMobley@GCC.EDU if you are interested in collaborating on the project.