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Program Elements

We don’t just talk about work — we enable students to get deeply involved in work in its many forms.

Grounded in the liberal arts, Purposeful Work is a mission-based initiative designed to help Bates students identify their strengths and interests, and position themselves for success in life and work.

Dr. Voot Yin '96, Assistant Professor at MDI Biological Laboratory, right, reacts while speaking to students in Assistant Professor of Biology Larissa Williams' molecular biology classroom during a Purposeful Work themed class session on April 2, 2018.

Purposeful Work Internships

Purposeful Work internships are designed to help students explore interests, build skills, develop networks, and complement their studies with real-world experience in a broad range of industries.

  • 454 students received Bates-funded Purposeful Work internships since 2015
  • 125 students comprised the summer 2018 cohort of Purposeful Work interns
  • 51% of the 2018 cohort were awarded funding through the Purposeful Work Internship programs; the remaining 49% were paid by core employers or had an unpaid internship

Purposeful Work Infusion Courses

Through the Purposeful Work Infusion Project, faculty members explicitly connect course content to discussions of meaning, purpose, work and/or careers.These courses help students draw connections between what they’re learning in class with career, purpose, and meaningful work. Purposeful Work Infusion courses are designed to explicitly address the question, “so how does this relate to the world beyond college?”

Purposeful Work Infusion courses include three elements about the connection between course content and meaning, purpose, work and/or careers:  1) a class discussion that comprises at least one class session; 2) a reading assignment; and 3) a self-reflective writing assignment.

Fall 2018 courses included:

  • Global Change
  • Health Psychology
  • Environmental Economics
  • Teaching Through the Arts
  • Gender Matters: US Women and Politics
  • Islamic Civilization
  • Hydrogeology

Many infusion courses include alumni guest speakers discussing how Bates coursework shaped their career aspirations, while others offer students hands-on practice in fields of interest.

Job Shadows

The Purposeful Work Job Shadow Program offers an opportunity for students to participate in a one- or two-day experience, hosted by Bates alumni or parents, at their place of employment. Job Shadows are open to students all four years and do not require any previous work experience. Matches are made based on the level of interest and the impact the experience will have on a student’s career exploration.

  • 249 students participated in 348 job shadow experiences in winter 2018
  • 394 alumni and parents offered 1,214 opportunities in winter 2018
  • 55 local opportunities provided, and 33 states were represented

Practitioner-Taught Courses

Innovation and experimentation have always been the hallmarks of Short Term at Bates.  Practitioner-Taught Courses offer opportunities for students to explore more practical and applied areas of study than are available within the core liberal arts curriculum.

Practitioners-in-Residence, often Bates alumni, teach applied knowledge and skills in their field of expertise. Students explore worlds of work, add to their practical skill set, and expand their professional network, contributing to their career exploration and preparation for future work.

In 2018, 65 students participated in Practitioner-Taught Courses (PTCs), which offered the opportunity for creative experimentation in a broad range of career fields:

  • The Business of the Arts
  • Private Equity: Corporate Financial Decision Making, From IPOs to LBOs
  • Filmmaking and the Creative Process
  • Journalism in the Age of Media Explosion
  • Digital Innovation
  • Music Production, Recording, and Mixing

Enrollment patterns and student feedback show a strong and growing enthusiasm for PTCs.

  • 98% of students said their PTCs provided them with skills they could use in future work
  • 98% of students agree that the PTC program is a good addition to the curriculum
  • 100% of students agree that PTCs are valuable and should be offered again

Are you looking for a meaningful experience?

Getting involved with Purposeful Work at Bates is simple. Sign up for one of our mailing lists, or contact us directly at:

Bates Center for Purposeful Work
146 Wood Street
Lewiston, ME 04240
Media Inquiries
Bates Communications Office

Learn more about Purposeful Work

Sign up to learn more on how you could can get involved with Purposeful Work during your time at Bates.