Is SOC doing enough to teach our students leadership and professionalism skills?

Is SOC doing enough to teach our students leadership and professionalism skills? Are we adequately preparing our students to find jobs when they leave AU?

            When our students graduate, they face challenges that go beyond what we teach them in the classroom.  They need to take initiative and be tenacious. They need to network and create partnerships.  They need to be able to negotiate, listen, coach, and raise money.  In the real world, technical know-how (such as storytelling, cinematography, and editing) is not enough.

These necessary skills all require leadership and professionalism.  Unfortunately, unlike business schools, SOC does not explicitly teach either.

Specifically, leadership requires entrepreneurial skills, delegation, time management, listening, and critical thinking skills. A leader must be ready to think big and boldly. Team building skills, mentoring, and coaching are also vital. Perhaps the most important characteristics of a leader are the ability to take initiative and to have a moral compass.

Professionalism involves civility, courtesy, a solid work ethic, balance, networking, and strong communication skills. Professionals acknowledge and learn from mistakes, act as team players, consistently give their best effort, always treat others with respect, and keep their promises. Professionalism includes resilience, resourcefulness, ambition, integrity, tenacity, kindness, self-discipline, and determination.

SOC could do more to teach these crucial skills through classes, workshops and outside speakers. We could offer courses specifically focused on leadership, entrepreneurship, and professional behavior (or encourage students to take relevant courses in the business school, if offered).  We could encourage more group projects so they learn how to get along with others to accomplish a common task.  We could provide students with more opportunities to manage their own projects from start to finish.  Students could also gain professional experience through more internships with actual companies and filmmakers.

The above are just a few ideas.  My hope is that they will help to start a conversation about how we can better prepare our students for the challenges they will undoubtedly face in the real world.