Findings presented to the Academic Affairs Committee last Wednesday have shed new light on job prospects facing recent UTM graduates, with more than half of 2014 graduates surveyed fully employed. The committee also discussed the results of departmental external reviews,  unveiling sexism present among UTM’s English and drama department.

The career findings presented at the meeting were results of a study conducted by Career Centre director Felicity Morgan and assistant director Anne Gaiger, who surveyed 347 of the 2117 students in the graduating class of 2014 during the summer of 2015.

Among graduates surveyed, 59 percent found full-time employment, with half earning between $30,000 and $50,000, while only 29 percent reported earning more than $50,000. Among graduates not doing full-time work, 35 percent are engaged in volunteer activities, and 32 percent went on to professional and graduate school studies.

Feedback received also pointed to the importance of students taking ownership of their career trajectory early rather than while in their final years of study, while survey results also found that 50.8 percent of employed respondents acquired employment through networking, cold calling, or using networks from previous employers.

The presentation also offered steps and recommendations that department members and professors could adopt in order to enhance the career planning and development of students in their classrooms. Recommendations include departmental office hours dedicated to advising students on careers and the organization of departmental networking events for students to interact with professionals in their prospective fields, among other proposals.

Also presented during Wednesday’s meeting were results from an external review of various departments and programs, presented by interim VP academic and dean Kelly Hannah-Moffat.

According to the review, the English and drama department has had “student sexist behaviour in classrooms”. UTM equity and diversity officer Nythalah Baker is working with the department to address the issue.

Strategies being used to respond to the issue have been mentioned as “train[ing] faculty members in creating safe spaces, while communication lines with students have been opened to ensure reporting of future incidences”.

Another issue brought to light was the perception of gender inequalities among female faculty members. According to the presentation, diversifying faculty remains a priority.

The presentation, available on the Office of the Campus Council’s website, also noted, “Some comments on gender equality were not specific to UTM, where eligible female faculty members have all been promoted or are under promotional review and most new hires are women.”

Additionally, recommendations within the department pointed to the diversification of literature and playwriting to include Canadian and Aboriginal content.

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