Publication Date

Fall 2020

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Kirk Atkinson (Director), Dana Cosby, Kristie Guffey, Iris Phillips

Degree Program

Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


This qualitative study explores student skill preparedness for the work force through semi-structured interviews and focus groups with current college students, faculty members, and employers. Responses from study participants were transcribed, coded, and thematically organized into the following four categories of skills that employers seek in recent college graduates: critical thinking skills, resiliency, workplace skills, and discipline specific skills. The findings include participant perceptions of the importance of these skills and whether higher education effectively prepares recent graduates for the workforce. As part of this discussion, design thinking is presented as a bridge between these groups and as a solution for the problem of workforce preparedness of recent graduates.


Higher Education | Human Resources Management | Work, Economy and Organizations