Northwestern Polytechnic University Peter Hsieh Discusses Educating a Silicon Valley Workforce

Northwestern Polytechnic University Peter Hsieh, President of the university, discusses the importance of working with employer partners to ensure that Northwestern Polytechnic University graduates are ready to hit the ground running upon graduation. We also discuss how NPU’s degree programs provide students with a platform for leadership and quality teaching skills that prepares them for the high-tech workforce.

Hsieh: For us at Northwestern Polytechnic University, it’s really about the ability of our students to get hired. To get hired quickly and to be able to move up quickly in their organizations so that they can have a lifetime career, rather than just go for a job or two. And so, it is actually doing business with employers. It is being close enough to them where they can actually help us develop a curriculum that meets their needs. And to ensure the students coming out of Northwestern Polytechnic University have the right skills to meet those needs. So it’s a very close partnership with employer partners and ensuring that we’re meeting their needs from an educational perspective from a skill set perspective.

We also look at things like how do we structure our programs. So, if they’re all internships as part of the curriculum, is there a way to partner with employers and receive credit so they can graduate faster? Are there ways to allow them to move through the program faster because they have those real-weighted experiences? And then they’re moving into jobs quickly once they graduate.

It’s really about making sure that we’re meeting the needs of the employers where our students are frequently called talent pipelines for these companies because they have that exposure to them early on in their academic careers. And then they come out being ready to hit the ground running and start this lifelong career and be able to move up in these organizations. And in reality, that’s the endgame goal for anyone seeking a higher education, isn’t it?

So, we’re trying to do that at Northwestern Polytechnic University by making sure we have very close relationships with employers and ensuring they’re involved in the entire process of developing curriculum, hiring faculty, recruiting students so that all of it is aligned with them. And then, once our students graduate, making sure they have a great experience, so we do a lot of focus groups and exit interviews with our students to find out what they felt about their educational experience at Northwestern Polytechnic University. How was the curriculum? Was it relevant to them once they got into the workforce? And then how were they treated when they went for an interview? Did they feel like their resume was well represented? So there’s a lot of focus on the post-graduation experience as well. And they are working with employers here in Silicon Valley to ensure that we have those close relationships and ensure that all of our students are getting a great job upon graduating from Northwestern Polytechnic University.