Connecting Students to Employers: Top Dog Talks

Another innovative program unearthed by the Innovation Pitch Challenge funded with a grant from Lumina Foundation, is Fresno State’s Top Dog Talks.

Next Stop:  Fresno, California

Photo Credit: Fresno State University

Still in the planning stages, “Top Dog Talks” will bring alumni who are leading employers to Fresno State campus to share their expertise and experience in a series of TED-like talks.  Fresno State’s “The Year of the Top Dogs” will feature multiple “Top Dog Talks” events presented live to audiences. President Joseph I. Castro will personally launch the event. The goal is for “Top Dogs Talks” to inspire and clarify what the alumni/employers, their companies, and their industry sectors need from Fresno State, right now, and heading into the future.

The Pool

The pool of “Top Dog” presenters is big because the alumni association has been honoring distinguished alumni as “Top Dogs” since 1953. “Top Dogs” are selected at both the university- and college-level, an important distinction because degrees at Fresno State are tied to workforce demands: we are a public, regional-serving institution. “Top Dogs” include a legion of regional and state leaders and professionals: educators, entrepreneurs, coaches, politicians, farmers, scientists, nurses, law enforcement officers, engineers, and more.

Metrics for Success

Success will be measured by the benefits to students as captured in their e-portfolios. Fresno State students will write reflections for their e-portfolios linking their thoughts on the “Top Dogs Talk” to their future careers and professional growth and identities.

The act of writing the reflection presents many opportunities for the student:

  1. to explore and deepen the knowledge gained

  2. to align their campus learning with the current state of the regional workplace

  3. to gain experience in career planning based on interaction with current regional employers

  4. to showcase their professional commitment for future employers

  5. to invite feedback from faculty and advisors on their professional reflections.

The reflections provide the university with multiple opportunities also:

  1. to assess and improve student learning as it relates to workforce development

  2. to assess and improve the use of the eportfolio as a career as well as an academic tool

  3. to strengthen the connection of employers to the student e-portfolios (

Are you doing something similar? Tell us about it? What other examples of universities better connecting to the labor market can you share?

Are you doing something similar? Tell us about it? What other examples of universities better connecting to the labor market can you share?

#AnchorInstitutions #LuminaFoundation #employment #TopDogTalks #universityengagement #FresnoState #careers #CoalitionofUrbanServingUniversities #HigherEducation

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