Purdue launches ‘World Readiness’ program, names Jennifer Dobbs-Oates as organization’s inaugural associate vice provost

Last updated: Nov. 1, 2023

pictured: faculty members from across purdue university gather for teaching excellence awards

When members of the Boyer 2030 Commission issued an updated report last year about advancing equity, student success and excellence in higher education, they opened their recommendations with “World Readiness for All.” World readiness, they wrote, broadens the scope from preparing students for their first post-college job to preparing students for citizenship, life and work throughout their lifetimes.

This idea resonated with Jenna Rickus, vice provost for Teaching and Learning. While reading the report, she knew Purdue had long been ahead of the curve in terms of providing transformative experiences inside and outside the classroom. But in terms of preparing students for life after college, Rickus also knew there was room to grow.

To boost the prominence and effectiveness of these types of experiences, Purdue is bringing several existing offerings under a single World Readiness division, which will be embedded in Teaching and Learning. The reorganization will bring the following offices under one umbrella: Office of Experiential Education, the Office of Undergraduate Research, Service-Learning and Career Success (which includes the Center for Career Opportunities and Pre-Professional Advising). Jennifer Dobbs-Oates, formerly the director of the Office of Experiential Education, will oversee the new division as its inaugural associate vice provost.

“Jen became a critical team member during the COVID-19 pandemic when we were trying to facilitate experiential education in a safe but equally impactful way,” Rickus says. “We recognized early on that she was a natural leader and able to build incredible relationships across campus. We had this opportunity to integrate a variety of student experiences that contribute to the concept of world readiness, and Jen was an obvious choice to lead the department.”

Dobbs-Oates says this change further positions Purdue as an innovative leader in the space of world readiness.

“We’re breaking new ground by expanding our definitions of success to include how students contribute to their communities after they graduate — not just for that first job after college but throughout their whole lives,” Dobbs-Oates shares. “This underscores our commitment to help students prepare for life and career at the same time, so they can go out and have a hand in shaping our world.”

Pictured: Purdue University students collaborate together in a lab space

She adds that all four units in World Readiness will continue to offer the services, programs and expertise they do now; this reorganization will simply create new opportunities for collaboration and growth.

“We’ll be better equipped to explore and scale up the ways Purdue is already preparing students for full, successful and rewarding futures beyond their college experience,” Dobbs-Oates notes. “We know that professional outcomes, leadership opportunities and civic engagement all contribute to satisfaction and a complete life, so we’re re-aligning our efforts to put energy and focus in that direction.”

World Readiness Website
headshot of communications director Andrea Mattingly

Andrea Mattingly

Director of Communications for Teaching and Learning, andrea@purdue.edu 

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