☀️June 2020: The vision of a new uConnect partner, adding a chat bot to create a 'drop-in' feel for your virtual career center, lots of uConnect birthdays, and much more!
Aquinas College joined the uConnect community in January 2019, via uConnect's acquisition of resource library technology Career Tools, to which Aquinas had subscribed. Now, a little over a year later, the Aquinas team is reimagining the possibilities of their uConnect platform, inspired of many of the platforms you all have built - with a special eye on Drew University.
Dana Hebreard, Brigid Avery, and Timothy Ramsay of the Aquinas team shared this lovely piece illustrating their vision for the expansion of their platform, and we wanted to share it with you:
A Walk in the Woods: A uConnect Journey
When a first-year student steps onto the campus of Aquinas College, they can choose several different paths, literally and figuratively. Our heavily wooded campus nestled in the second largest city of Grand Rapids offers something truly special. Even community members who have been walking our trails for years will discover a slightly different journey, if they turn left, instead of right. Cross the bubbling creek or wander down a less worn route. Similarly, AQ Saints have numerous choices of how they will craft their college experience. Just because we are small does not mean we are limited. Students can choose to spend the semester in Spain, complete an internship at a world renowned museum, or partner with a professor to research Zebrafish or gender equity - all experiential learning opportunities we know have a positive impact on success upon graduation and beyond.
Though we encourage students to be open to discovering new paths and destinations, we also do not want them wandering in the wilderness and becoming lost. The Aquinas College Advantage Center serves as a guidepost for students, housing Career Services and Internships, Study Away and Undergraduate Student Research. The three departments fit under the strategic goal of the institution to align advising, career services, and academic affairs to effectively address holistic student development and learning.
The Advantage Center’s physical office is in the oldest building on campus, a 100+ year old house that exudes warmth and serves as a home-away-from-home for all. With the new realities of Covid-19, however, we are proud to be able to provide a wealth of digital resources such as PathwayU, VAULT, Handshake, and Big Interview. The uConnect platform allows individuals to find clearly organized resources and opportunities all in one highly accessible location. This year, the Advantage Center collaborated with the Alumni Relations and Student Activities and Orientation Departments to further enrich the resources. Graduway will connect current students with alumni mentors and Campus Labs will integrate student organizations and activities to the Handshake events currently listed.
The platform – The Advantage – also has new enhanced career communities and landing pages for various community members. All members of the Advantage Center are now listed in the “Meet the Team” section as well. Ease of accessibility and virtual connection for students - now more than ever - is the end goal. John Muir once said, “Between every two pines there is a doorway to a new world.” We like to think of The Advantage as a virtual wayfinder to help students discover tools and resources to enrich their journeys and open doors to new worlds.
Thank you Aquinas team! We're so excited to see this vision come to life.
The unfortunate reality, as we all know, is that in the wake of the pandemic, job and internship offers are being pulled and hiring is on hold. There are no service jobs to fill the gap and no opportunity for students to engage with their career coaches in one-on-one meetings. Engagement with career pathway resources is even harder and the online student user experience is disorienting. In fact, 99% of students surveyed said they wanted help from career services right now.* You might be wondering how you can help and ensure that your virtual support is strong and accessible.
One impactful way that our uConnect partners have dealt with the circumstances is by adding a chat feature, such as Facebook Chat or tawk.to to their platforms so students can reach out and ask questions. Before schools went virtual, students had the option to step into the career services office for a quick question, but the reality today permits them to do so. Adding a chat feature allows students to feel supported and enables them to get in touch with your team and leverage your advice and knowledge.
See Facebook Chat live on Indiana University College of Arts and Science’s platform and tawk.to live on University of Washington’s platform. You are not limited to these two chat platforms, you can adopt most chat tools. Here’s how to add a chat tool to your uConnect platform:
- Reach out to email@example.com and let us know you’d like to add a chat feature. If you already have the chat tool picked out, let us know what it’s called.
*Source: Handshake student COVID-19 survey, March 2020
Welcome to the newest members of the uConnect community! Great things are ahead.
- Check out the launch announcement for University Of Kentucky's Gatton College Of Business
- And for the University of North Texas!
The following partner schools are having their uConnect birthdays (aka anniversary of platform launch, but more fun).
Happy 4th Birthday to:
Happy 2nd Birthday to:
Happy 1st Birthday to:
Check out articles published over the past month and get in the know!
- Customize Community properties
- Instructions for integrating with GradLeaders
- What is page cache and why does it matter?
- May 2020 Features And Updates
- Publishing And Promoting Virtual Micro Internships On uConnect
- Ways To Fight For Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion In Higher Education
- University Of North Texas Enhances Career Exploration And Development With Virtual Career Center
- uConnect Partners Share Wisdom And Best Practices On The Career Leadership Collective’s ‘The New Forward’
- University Of Kentucky's Gatton College Of Business And Economics Launches Comprehensive Virtual Career Center
- Sacred Heart University Strengthens Commitment To Career-Focus Liberal Arts-Based Education With Virtual Career Center Portal