Fostering employability skills through the t-shaped student in science, mathematics and medical science

Chris Tisdell


We report on a case study on how employability skills can be embedded within science, mathematics and medical science students. Our cohort involved two courses and almost 500 first-year students at a large, research-intensive university. The approach was to redesign the curriculum within these courses to form a T-shaped student experience by focusing 50% of class contact time on employability skills and teamwork activities within an active learning space; while the other 50% of time is spent on discipline knowledge.
Our results show positive perceptions from students regarding their learning in these courses through: collaboration; active learning engagement; and professional development. We suggest that starting the T-shaped student experience within the first year of university has the benefits of enabling depth and breadth of knowledge to naturally develop throughout the university years, as opposed to a capstone course which endeavours to add these skills at the end.


employability skills; T-shaped student; active and collaborative learning; active learning spaces

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