Freed-Hardeman has long embraced the idea of character and career education. The motto created in the 1950s is still just as relevant today: “Teaching How to Live and How to Make a Living.”
That commitment is poised to continue well into the future, thanks to a series of innovative courses starting at Freed-Hardeman this fall. Amy Sewell will begin teaching a series of three courses, Work:Life, to help students prepare for the transition to life and careers beyond graduation. Designed for sophomores, juniors and seniors, these single-credit-hour courses will challenge and equip students, as they explore taking ownership of their career journey, money and life.
Sewell brings a wealth of experience to her new role. She began her career in Washington, D.C. as spokesperson for a member of Congress before later serving as media relations director for a business trade group in New York City. For the last 16 years, she has owned a public relations consulting business, representing retail and consumer brands on national and regional television.
Her FHU teaching career began this spring with speech communication and personal and professional branding. She is excited to add these new Work:Life courses to that portfolio under the leadership of Dr. Jason Brashier, FHU Dean of the College of Business and Associate Vice President for Innovation, Planning and Assessment. Although housed in the College of Business, the courses are designed for students from all majors across campus.
“Throughout my years in government, corporate work and in my business, I’ve worked alongside students and graduates from universities across the country. I’ve loved engaging with them during these formative phases of their careers,” Sewell said.
“To prepare for these courses, we’ve held multiple focus groups and one-on-one interviews with students and employers to ensure we’re targeting the right topics for today’s students and tomorrow’s young professionals,” she continued. Students described the intense pressure they feel to make smart choices regarding their careers, finances and other aspects of life beyond college.
“That’s really what excites me about these classes,” Sewell said. “Most students are, at times, anxious and uncertain of how to get started. I want them to start by tackling practical next steps. Action leads to confidence.” Sewell’s goal is to help students develop a growth mindset toward work and life. “Life and careers don’t just happen,” she said. “Students have more control than they may recognize.”
Leveraging innovative design thinking techniques from the corporate world, the course features a highly interactive, participatory class format. Individual classes will initially be limited to 15 students to maximize engagement. Within the class, students will form even smaller pods for guided discussions and group projects around the topic or concepts of the day, before coming together and building on each other’s work.
“I am not giving anyone the answers because the actual answers to career choices and next steps are highly individual,” Sewell said. “The only wrong answer would be to not get started on this adventure.”