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The use of guest speakers in college classes is a well-accepted pedagogical practice, but the academic literature has generally been based on instructor or event organizers’ anecdotal reflections about particular experiences. Moreover, research based upon students’ considerations of this practice have been especially sparse. The purpose of this study is to explore student perceptions of guest speakers to determine what value students find in them. One-hundred fourteen students participated in a qualitative survey, answering questions about their prior experiences with and expectations of industry guest speakers. The results showed that 86.1% of respondents who had previously been enrolled in a college class that featured an industry guest speaker visit liked the experience, especially if the guest currently worked in a field related to course content, spoke enthusiastically and honestly, and answered questions. In particular, participants appreciated hearing insider information about the speaker’s day-to-day work life, as well as advice for their own career path. Recommendations are provided to university educators as guidance for improving student experiences and engagement with guest speakers, especially those from the fashion industry.
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