Career Frontier

Career Center
February 21, 2014

Here’s another reason to love the liberal arts at Denison. The college has joined forces with a few of the best colleges in the country to further strengthen career prospects for its graduates. The initiative is called Koru. It’s all new, and it’s part of the way Denison continues to rise to the challenges of the 21st century.

As a complement to high-quality undergraduate education, particularly programs in the liberal arts, Koru runs employer-embedded programs for current students and graduates, enhancing their skills, experience and connections that are needed to land jobs that make an immediate impact at today’s leading companies. This direct connection with employers also greatly increases the probability of receiving a job offer from one of Koru’s employer partners, including Amazon, Nordstrom, Microsoft, and REI.

Denison President Adam Weinberg states, “Our partnership with Koru is part of a much larger process we are developing, which takes a fresh look at how we help students build bridges between Denison and the professions. Denison students have always succeeded post-college,” he says. “But as the global economy changes, we must sharpen, broaden and deepen our support. This will be a major priority for us over the next three to five years.”

Denison students have always succeeded post-college. But as the global economy changes, we must sharpen, broaden and deepen our support. This will be a major priority for us over the next three to five years.

Of its founding partner colleges, Koru states, “These institutions are leading the way for higher education to explore innovative approaches to ensure graduates land on the career path they’ve worked toward throughout college.” Koru also stated that it partnered with these colleges “because they are prioritizing the college-to-career transition and already have initiatives underway on their campuses.”

The full list of Koru founding partners is Bates College, Brown University, Colorado College, Connecticut College, Denison University, Georgetown University, Mount Holyoke College, Occidental College, Pomona College, University of Southern California, Vassar College, Whitman College, and Williams College. 

Koru’s leadership team is experienced in education innovation. CEO Kristen Hamilton spent years developing experiential and technology learning programs within study abroad programs, companies and nonprofit organizations. Chief Learning Officer Josh Jarrett spent the past seven years developing and guiding the higher education innovation work for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Already, others are noticing this groundbreaking initiative, both because of the innovative approach it brings to career preparation and because of the reputation the participating schools hold as leaders on the landscape of higher education.

In a recent article about Koru, The Chronicle of Higher Education discusses the national trend of college graduates facing increasing early-career employment challenges. “With the hardships graduates face in getting started in their careers, ‘the burden has been raised onto colleges like Denison,’ said its president, Adam Weinberg. ‘It’s our responsibility to make sure that they hit those on-ramps.”

The Chronicle continues, “[President Weinberg] said Denison would encourage its students to consider Koru and, for those in need, would use some of its own money to aid them with the cost.”

“We are delighted to be working closely with this group of forward-thinking colleges and universities,” says Hamilton. “They are individually and collectively committed to providing new options for their students to launch great careers – and we share that commitment to serving their students.”

The corporate world is excited about the new initiative, too. “Koru allows us to see what someone can do far beyond what we can learn from a resumé and an interview – and to have confidence that they could contribute to our organization from day one,” says Colleen McKeown, senior vice president of human resources at Zulily. “Two or three years from now, I expect the Koru grads will be the ones I’m seeing on the fast track at Zulily.”

Denison’s partnership with Koru complements other career programs and partnerships already in place, including the Liberal Arts Career Network (LACN), which is a consortium of 31 top liberal arts colleges and universities that collaboratively maximize technology and position students and graduates for a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.

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