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Mid Month Memo: July 2021

July's Mid Month Memo is all about collaboration! Read on to see how one university connects with their campus and learn a new way you can too! 🎉

CLIENT SPOTLIGHT

With your uConnect platform, you can incorporate aspects of your campus that go far beyond just traditional career development resources. The University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (UMass SBS) is one such institution that has a holistic and experiential approach to career featured across their uConnect platform, SBS Pathways

We spoke with Carol Sharick, Director of Career and Professional Development for Undergraduates at UMass SBS, and asked her to share her perspective on their approach to career development and to broadening student perspectives beyond just their major. Through UMass SBS' use of a wide range of content types on their Communities, including Classes and Organizations, as well as through faculty & advisor involvement in the platform, they've created an engaging and inclusive platform experience. Read on to hear more from Carol!

UC: Why did you create both Academic and Career Communities?

"Our college takes a holistic view of the undergraduate experience, which includes academics, experiential, and professional development.  On the ground, both academic and career advising are based in the SBS Pathways Center, with academic advising also happening in departments.  It made sense that the website should be a comprehensive tool – not just for career advising, but encompassing all three parts of the students’ SBS Pathways. The uConnect platform provides a one-stop shop for our students, as well as for advisors, staff and faculty, to find the information and resources they need to best support our students as they explore their pathways...the industries we selected in our Career Communities [are] based on the fields that our students have historically been the most interested in, and where our alumni work after they graduate.  We also looked at similar schools’ models to see where they were focusing their efforts. We will continue to refine and/or expand these options as time goes on."

UC: How were academic advisors and faculty involved in the creation of these Communities and how do they contribute their perspective? 

"Directors of Advising in each department contributed to content on the major community pages and the connections created between our uConnect site and their departmental webpages. Through a series of one-on-one conversations with all ten program leaders, we were able to accommodate the particular needs of our various sized-majors and educate departments about the useful elements of the website platform. These conversations also helped us learn about additional resources that could be helpful to students.  We wanted to make sure that academic advisors felt that the platform was a tool that was useful and user friendly in their work with students, and that it makes their work easier."

UC: How do you encourage users to explore the platform and to use both the Academic and Career Communities? 

"We just launched the website in late April, so this is a work in progress, but we’ll be doing a big social media and email campaign in the fall, advisors will be showing students the site and encouraging them to select their preferences, and we’ve been working with advisors and peer advisors to make sure they are involved and aware of what is available to them, to assist in their important work.  Additionally, students receive the newsletter on a regular basis, and that puts the site into their inboxes."

UC: How did you decide which content types to feature on the Career Communities, particularly, why did you choose to feature classes and how did you select those classes? 

"In the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, most of our majors don’t have a direct professional path.  Some students like this, while others find it very confusing, and they struggle to understand what direction to take.  Prior to partnering with uConnect, we had developed our own tool that gave students examples of what alumni were doing in particular fields, and what they had done while they were students to prepare themselves for the work they were doing. One of our goals with that tool was to show students that they didn’t have to major in a particular subject to work in a particular field.  As part of that effort, we wanted to show that, for example, someone wanting to go into film could find relevant courses not just in communication/film studies, but in journalism, in anthropology, in political science, sociology, and more.  To find these classes, we went through the course catalog and checked with advisors, and continue to update the list regularly. 

For the same reason, we chose to feature clubs and organizations relevant to the specific Career Communities. This helps students begin to make mental connections between how they spend their time on campus and what they hope to do after they graduate."

UC: Are there any other thoughts that you’d like to share?

"UConnect has exponentially boosted our ability to provide students with the resources we think they need, and with the information that is most in line with their interests.  We’re a large college with a small advising staff, and in order to meet all students’ needs, we have to offer these digital resources in a way that meets students where they are without overwhelming their inboxes or hosting myriad workshops that are often poorly attended."

Thank you for your partnership Carol and the entire University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Social and Behavioral Sciences team! You can explore the SBS Pathways platform here.

UCONNECT DIY

Do you have campus offices or centers leading fantastic work with your students? We're here to help you to highlight them! Read on to learn how to feature your institution partners directly on your Communities.

CampusPartners
To create a campus partner like in the above image, you can add campus offices, centers and other partners as Users to your platform. To do this, from your dashboard, navigate to
Manage > Users > Add New. Select the Community Expert user role from the dropdown and use an email from the partner's office for both the email and the username (quick tip: you can check the 'Skip Confirmation Email' checkbox if this won't be an active user of your platform.)

After a campus partner is added as a User, you can navigate to Manage > Users > All Users to find the added campus partner and to customize their new profile! Select 'Edit' for the campus partner, and as you scroll through their profile, you'll see the option to add a link to their website, as well as a profile image. If applicable, you can select 'No' for 'Display Email Publicly?' if you would not like this user's email to display on your platform. At the bottom of their profile section, you'll see the 'Advising Categories' dropdown. Here you can select the Communities that you'd want the campus partner to appear on - just like with tagging!

advisingcategories

Ready now to feature your campus partners? You can reach us through the chat feature on your dashboard or by reaching out to support@gouconnect.com to configure a widget. Once a widget is activated and your campus partners have been tagged to relevant Communities, you'll see these valuable resources displaying!

 

UCONNECT BIRTHDAYS

The following partner schools are having their uConnect birthdays this month (aka the anniversary of their platform launch, but more fun). 

 We're wishing a happy 5th birthday to Indiana University School of Public Health & BYU Marriot School of Business, a happy 4th birthday to Quinnipiac College of Arts and Sciences, a happy 2nd birthday to both the University of Miami Toppel Career Center and the University of Pennsylvania and last, but certainly not least, a happy 1st birthday to Tufts University, St. Edwards UniversityWashington College!


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About Author

Anna Brogan
Anna Brogan

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