• Hamline Initiative for Professional and Academic Liaisons (HIPAL)

    Mission Statement: HIPAL (Hamline Initiative for Professional and Academic Liaisons) is a growing program at Hamline University aiming to provide interdisciplinary liaisons between Hamline students, faculty, staff, alumni, and workplace partners to strengthen educational and professional development, cooperative research, and service.

    It is a four year professional development program for students seeking BS/BA degrees in the natural sciences, designed to help them be “first day ready” for professional school and careers. HIPAL prepares students with weekly seminars, short courses, chances to network, international study, volunteer experiences, and other activities to help them understand opportunities, responsibilities, and attitudes of professional life. The ultimate goal is for all HIPAL members to be accepted to graduate/professional school or professional positions of their choice BEFORE graduation.

    History of HIPAL

    HIPAL accepted its first cohort of students in spring 2013. However, the concept of HIPAL was formulated many years before that when a number of Hamline faculty and staff partnered with business professionals, alumni and friends alike, from a variety of disciplines. These individuals received a grant from the National Science Foundation under the GOALI program (Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry) to catalyze development of teaching and learning models at Hamline that would better prepare science students for the challenging responsibilities of the technical profession. Over the duration of the grant, a number of curricular developments took place and partnerships with industry were strengthened. Hamline University invited twenty-seven professionals from twenty-five different industrial, business, and private organizations to clarify those characteristics which are valued by employers in the world outside the university. It was imperative, in the employer’s view, that evidence of these abilities and skills be provided during the application and interview process by job applicants.

    An article by Professors Sylvia Kerr and Olaf Runquist titled Are We Serious about Preparing Chemists for the 21st Century Workplace or Are We Just Teaching Chemistry?, published in the Journal of Chemical Education in 2005, included this list of the Valued Characteristics of Graduates. One conclusion from this liaison was that students would be well advised to prepare a portfolio which can be presented to a prospective employer embodying their experiences related to these characteristics. It was also concluded that additional support must be provided to students to learn and develop these valued characteristics.

    In the years that followed the grant, Professor Emeritus Olaf Runquist envisioned a 4-year program for science students that would help them develop these characteristics, generate professional materials, gather professional and culturally relevant experiences, and connect them with business professionals to build their network. He recruited Professors Deanna O’Donnell and Melissa Skeate to serve as co-directors of this new program which he called Hamline Initiative for Professional and Academic Liaisons (HIPAL). The list of valued characteristics below provided the foundation for all HIPAL programming and activities. To develop the program and illustrate proof-of-concept, a pilot group of 18 natural science students were selected as charter members in spring 2013 and taken through the 4-year program. 

    Valued Characteristics of Graduates

    Evidence that the student:  

    • Possesses cultural competencies
    • Communicates well (written, oral, computer)
    • Exemplifies a strong work ethic: is a “self-starter,” an independent learner with an entrepreneurial attitude
    • Demonstrates proven team-working abilities and knowledge of group dynamics
    • Presents a reflective and aware attitude (what is wanted in life and how education, interests, and work can, and should, mesh)
    • Understands organizations
    • Exhibits passions and enthusiasm
    • Demonstrates technical and intellectual ability
    • Has successfully completed an internship
    • Participates in volunteer/extra-curricular activities
    • Provides evidence of broad-based education
    • Possesses interpersonal skills, including flexibility and ability to work with a group
    • Demonstrates competence in problem solving and critical thinking
    • Shows leadership qualities and conflict resolution experience
    • Possesses computer-based quantitative data analysis skills
    • Actively pursues further education/training
    • Presents a mature, responsible, and productive outlook
    • Comprehends the concept of total quality