Assessment of 21st Century Professional Competencies of Undergraduate Students

Monday 1:45pm Northrop Hall: 340


Dave Gosselin, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Alison Creeger, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Ron Bonnstetter, TTI Success Insights
Business and political leaders are increasingly asking higher education to develop student's abilities related to "21st century skills" or "21st century competencies" because they are the foundation of individual and collective success in the workplace. These competencies include skills such as innovation, creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, self-management, among others. To assess the extent to which students are developing these competencies, the Environmental Studies program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has partnered with TTI Success Insights (TTISI), Ltd. to use their TriMetrix® DNA instrument to gain insights into the development of professional competencies among its majors. The Personal Soft Skills Indicator (PSSI), one of three parts of the instrument, assesses 23 skills in the context of what skills an individual has exhibited in their lives. A comparison of data collected from 90 students who took the assessment initially in an orientation course (pre) and then in the final senior thesis course (post) indicates a statistically significant (p<0.05) improvement in the student's ability to: lead others effectively (leadership); possess the desire to continue to learn (continuous learning); and utilize diplomatic methods to communicate and work with others (diplomacy). There were statistically higher scores for males (p<0.05) in their negotiation skills and ability to quickly and effectively make a decision (decision-making). Females had a statistically higher (p<0.05) ability to utilize diplomatic methods to communicate and work with others (diplomacy); and skills to effectively plan a schedule, meeting, or event (planning/ organizing). This exploratory, longitudinal study supports the conclusion that an undergraduate program that can have an impact on the development of 21st century competencies using pedagogical approaches and educational practices that promote student independence, self-directed learning, self-reliance, and interactions with the community.
Presentation Slides (Acrobat (PDF) 2.1MB Apr20 18)