Impact of Instructional Practices on Soft-Skill Competencies

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  • Source:
    Research in Higher Education Journal, v40 May 2021.
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    Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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    • Abstract:
      Soft-skill competencies are essential for successful careers. Yet, research shows that graduates often lack soft skill competencies. Reasons may be there is no set list of soft skills, soft skills are subjective, and they are challenging to teach and assess. Historically, there has been inconsistent funding for soft skill training in the U.S. for primary and secondary education. Therefore, students arrive to higher education settings with fragmented training in soft skill competency development. This research examined recent graduates of health administration programs to gain a better understanding of soft skill competency training and development. One hundred eighty-six recent graduates of undergraduate and graduate health administration programs that attended a predominantly White institution [PWI] in Michigan and a historically black college and university [HBCU] in Florida participated in the survey. The online survey was developed with input from 20 health administrators in the Midwest that participated in a Delphi technique. The administration period of the online survey began summer and concluded fall of 2018. Findings showed that soft-skill competencies were rarely taught in health administration settings. Yet, recent graduates' self-perception of soft-skill competencies ranked high in comparison to how often soft-skill competencies are taught. There is a striking influence of attending a HBCU on the development of soft skill competencies. Employers look to higher education to prepare students for the workplace. To do so, more research is recommended to unpack the nuances of soft skill competencies and development in students as well as the salient factors in HBCUs that foster soft skill competency development.
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    • Education Level:
      Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
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