Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Beth Rous

Second Advisor

Dr. Amanda Potterton


College graduates need to be equipped with career and employability skills that are necessary to be meaningfully and gainfully employed in their future. These skills consist of self-management, career-management, essential-employability, and discipline-specific skills. More responsibility is being placed on college and university academic programs to ensure that students are graduating with these skills when they enter the workforce. However, students are growing less likely to participate in out of course career development activities and resources. Integrating these skills into program curriculum can be an effective way to ensure that all students have the ability to develop these necessary skills.

While there is research to support the integration of these skills into the undergraduate education experience, identifying the appropriate developmental time to introduce, apply, and reinforce these concepts is important. This dissertation is a report of the mixed-methods action research study that explores the career and employability skills that are necessary for undergraduate students and at what stages the students should be exposed to those skills. Research was conducted within the context of the Equine Science and Management program to identify skills already being taught, what areas could be improved, what areas should be shifted to alternative years, and where gaps within the program exist. After an analysis of the skills was conducted, a proposed framework for career and employability skill integration was developed and evaluated. This framework features a yearly approach to the career and employability skill development of undergraduate students. The framework was evaluated based on the feasibility, usability and likelihood that other programs within the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment would implement this framework. The final recommendations and implications of this research are included in this dissertation.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)