uConnect and the University of Connecticut partnered up to put on #CareerEverywhere, a day long event focused on embedding career throughout the entire student journey. Career services and student success leaders from all across the Northeast came together for an inspiring and empowering day filled with insightful presentations, great conversation, and lots of food. For those of you who weren’t able to join us, I’m here with a recap. I promise it’s worth a read, because it’s chock full of important information and key takeaways, and not just a vehicle for inspiring FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). 😎
For your perusal, here is a page where you can find copies of the presentations delivered at #CareerEverywhere.
Now let me walk you through the day.
1. Kicking things off, Jim Lowe, Assistant Vice Provost and Executive Director for the Center for Career Development of the University of Connecticut, accompanied by Lisa Philpott, Director of Marketing at uConnect, welcomed guests to #CareerEverywhere.
2. Next, uConnect Founder and CEO David Kozhuk delivered a morning keynote, Career Everywhere - Embedding Career into Every Aspect of the Student Journey: Increasing transparency of career pathways to inform admissions, persistence, and meaningful outcomes.
Key Takeaway: 86% of students cited career advancement as the primary factor in their decision to enroll in college, according to the 2017 Strada-Gallup College Student Survey. Bringing visibility and accessibility to student outcome data, career resources and information helps students to enroll and persist with a purpose. Career becomes part of the students journey right from the start of their experience.
3. In the first breakout session, Kerry Spitze of Ithaca College discussed Practical Strategies to Engage Underserved Populations.
Key Takeaway: Employ both technological and non-technological strategies. Use technology to support your on the ground work. Involve your community, have conversations with students, meet 1-on -1 with faculty, and engage your employers. Everyone must work towards a common goal of reaching all of your students.
4. Meanwhile down the hall in the Husky Heritage Sports Museum, Alli Pierpont, uConnect’s Onboarding & Client Success Lead, delivered a session for uConnect partner schools on Best Practices for Building and Managing Digital Career Communities.
Key Takeaway: Digital Career communities are a uniquely powerful tool to promote curated resources to your users. More than a webpage - communities are built on a powerful tagging structure that simultaneously creates filters for deeper exploration of content, and sign up tags, so that students can receive tailored updates on content of interest to them. Arguably as important as content, is the actual presentation. uConnect provides forward thinking content design, to attract more engagement with your content, and facilitate a comfortable, credible, and intuitive experience to the modern student user.
5. Then it was lunchtime. As we indulged in ice cream sundaes from the UConn Dairy Bar (they have their own herd of dairy cows!), we listened to Stephanie Marken, Executive Director of Education Research at Gallup, deliver a fascinating and and insightful presentation on The College to Career Workplace Connection.
Key Takeaway: Career services remains integral to the college experience but it needs to happen throughout the ecosystem and not exclusively within the career services office. Some of the most helpful advice will be delivered by faculty and staff members outside of that career services building.
6. Next, two more breakout sessions: Rick DelVecchio, Director of Career Development at Quinnipiac University College of Arts and Sciences, shared secrets to Mobilizing Faculty to Support Career Planning and Outcomes - How QU Redesigned Faculty Advising with Career at the Core.
Key Takeaway: Within a faculty advising model, leverage the strong relationships between faculty ad advisees to improve student engagement with the career development process. Don’t assume faculty would not be interested in taking on a more significant role in career advising. At Quinnipiac, most were found to be willing, if not eager, as long as they were comfortable (meaning they were provided adequate training and support) and in control (meaning few “top down” mandates, ongoing faculty input into process and resources, and faculty were given some level of flexibility for implementation).
7. In the Museum, Director of the Center for Career Development at UConn, Nancy Bilmes, presented Building a Foundation: Branding Career Services to Improve Awareness & Engage Campus Stakeholders.
Key Takeaway: To implement a successful #CareerEverywhere campus you need to lay the foundation with consistent and effective branding, engagement with internal stakeholders, and online programming that provides career information everywhere and anytime. With that foundation laid, when a student is ready to begin engaging with career services, they will know where and how to begin the conversation.
8. In the third breakout session of the day, Emerson College’s Anders Croft discussed Starting Early: Marketing Career Services to First Year Students.
Key Takeaway: The conversation around careers must be contextualized to your students' experiences. Your best strategy for increasing engagement and education with your students is to meet them where they are with relevant, industry-focused information.
9. Meanwhile Champlain College’s Director of Career Education and Employer Relations, Tanja Hinterstoisser, delivered a presentation on Expanding Your Offering and Your Impact: Integrating Career and Personal Finance into the Core Curriculum.
Key Takeaway: One small, private College addresses the issue of higher education affordability through a required, co-curricular, multifaceted career education program. To achieve its goal, the program's focus is on collaboration and real world impact.
10. And in a the final breakout session, Monica Clem, Executive Director of Career Development and Experiential Learning at Edinboro University, told The Story Behind a Shift to an Institution-wide Approach to Career Services.
Key Takeaway: Edinboro University Career Center developed strategic solutions to common institutional pain points like recruitment and retention through an ecosystem approach, helping to shift the institutional culture around career education.
11. While in the Museum, Cece Carey-Snow (yours truly) gave a session for partner schools on Best Practices for Engaging Campus Partners to Scale the Impact of Career Services.
Key Takeaway: Effectively engaging and promoting campus partners is a vital step in the crucial transition from a service model to a community model of career services. uConnect is your ally in this process, and has developed methods for scaling and expanding the work of career services through the engagement and promotion of community partners.
12. Wrapping up the educational portion of the event, uConnect’s David Kozhuk and Lisa Philpott guided an active learning session: The Career Ed Tech Stack: Design Your Stack: Why you need to identify your technology stack and how to communicate it to key stakeholders.
Key Takeaway: This fun activity helped career services leaders identify their office's career services tech stack. The result was a one page graphic, visualizing the technologies used to support students that can be shared internally with the career services team, as well as with admissions, faculty, student leaders and other campus partners. The goal is to raise awareness of important career resources and services, and to empower key stakeholders to evangelize them when approached by students with career-related questions. With a clearly defined career services tech stack, attendees can now make more informed decisions about procuring new technologies, and scale the impact of the tools and technologies they already use to support students.
13. Celebrating the end of a great day, we enjoyed hors d'oeuvres, drinks, and some healthy competition with a uConnect Four tournament.
Thank you to everyone who came out and made #CareerEverywhere such a huge success. We're already looking forward to the next one! If you have any thoughts or questions on what was shared at #CareerEverywhere (or anything else!) never hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We always love to hear from you.