Osborn, D.S. (2016). Teaching career development: A primer for instructors and presenters (2nd ed.). Broken Arrow, OK: National Career Development Association.

Review by Amber Rayborn, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, [email protected]

As an academic advisor and an instructor, I am constantly searching for new and engaging ways to integrate self-exploration and career development into my interactions with students, both inside and outside of the classroom. Lucky for me, I stumbled across Debra Osborn’s (2016) Teaching career development: A primer for instructors, a comprehensive and practical resource guide aimed at providing principles and strategies to enhance the teaching and delivery of career development courses and presentations. This monograph guides readers through the process of planning, organizing, and implementing a course or presentation, discusses the intricacies of delivering career development information in various educational settings, and provides questions, quizzes, and activities along the way to keep the reader actively engaged.

Despite its title, Teaching career development is much more universally applicable than one might think, and much of its content would be relevant to anyone who teaches. Chapter 2 introduces the reader to the basics of Active Learning Strategies (ALS), followed by Chapter 3, which presents over fifty specific examples of Active Learning Strategies, many of which could be used in any course, regardless of the subject. Chapter 4 is a quick, yet comprehensive, step-by-step guide for how to organize and manage a course, from creating the syllabus to planning out the last day of class (and beyond), and includes helpful tips on motivating students, handling student complaints, and evaluating your teaching. The last two chapters of Teaching career development are particularly relevant to improving academic advisors’ every day advising practice, with Chapter 9 serving as a guide for developing professional presentations and Chapter 10 addressing the importance of preventing burnout.

One of the best features of Teaching career development is the emphasis on active learning. In addition to devoting two chapters to understanding and implementing Active Learning Strategies, Osborn goes a step further and reinforces active learning by including worksheets, checklists, and reflection questions throughout the text. Osborn asserts that “just because information is presented does not mean that participants understand or can apply that information personally or professionally” (p. 11), then actually provides the resources and step-by-step instructions to ensure that readers understand and are able to apply what they are reading. This is particularly refreshing as, all too often, we are inundated with information and ideas but are not provided the proper resources or support to actually implement those ideas.

One area of concern I have with the book is the heavy focus on career development education at the graduate level. Osborn admits early on that the book is based on her experience teaching graduate level courses and that it may focus more on teaching at that level than others. This is clear when reading the chapter on teaching graduate career development courses, as it is significantly more detailed and much longer than any of the other chapters. It would have been nice to see as much detail presented in the K-12 and undergraduate chapters or, perhaps, less detail in the graduate chapter, just for consistency's sake.

As Osborn states, “Being a better teacher/presenter is a never-ending pursuit” (p. 197), and I think that applies to advisors, as well. As such, although aimed specifically at instructors and presenters, this book is also well-suited for academic advisors. Many of the active learning strategies presented in the book can be incorporated into advising sessions to “facilitate problem-solving, decision-making, meaning-making, planning, and goal setting” in a more engaging and meaningful way (NACADA, 2017a). And, for advisors who teach courses (or hope to teach), the course planning aspects of this book serve as an excellent guide to creating or revamping a course. Overall, Teaching career development is a great resource for any instructor, presenter, or advisor who is committed to finding new and engaging ways to challenge, support, empower, and teach their students (NACADA, 2017b).



Osborn, D.S. (2016). Teaching career development: A primer for instructors and presenters (2nd ed.). Broken Arrow, OK: National Career Development Association.

NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. (2017a). NACADA academic advising core competencies model. Retrieved from https://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Pillars/CoreCompetencies.aspx

NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. (2017b). NACADA core values of academic advising. Retrieved from https://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Pillars/CoreValues.aspx


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