Drew University, a liberal arts university in Madison, New Jersey, has created an innovative and comprehensive new approach to undergraduate education called Launch, designed to ensure that all Drew students graduate with a purpose, and prepared for their careers and impact in the community or the world.
As stated on Drew’s website, “Our new Launch undergraduate experience ensures that every student graduates with a purpose, sought-after transferable skills, a network of mentors and an experience-based résumé. Guaranteed.”
The Launch approach is operationalized through six key components: 1) a focus on Transferable Skills, 2) a Launch-guiding course, 3) a Launch Plan e-portfolio, 4) Immersive Experiences, 5) Career Communities and Identity/Affinity Communities, 6) and a Network of Mentors. When a student is engaged with all six of these components, they will graduate “connected, cultivated and capable for today’s workplace.”
In developing the Launch approach, Dr. Daniel Pascoe Aguilar, Associate Provost for Immersive Learning & Career Design at Drew, and his team and partners quickly realized the need for a central, digital location on which to host and organize for students and community members the wealth of resources, information, networks, and opportunities associated with each of these six key components of Launch.
To build such a space, Drew partnered with uConnect, makers of the first and only all-in-one virtual career center. Together they built Launchpad, the new home of all Launch content, which was rolled out to the Drew community in October of 2019.
Launchpad leverages uConnect’s technical integrations with student success tools such as Handshake, PeopleGrove, and CampusLabs to bring data and information from previously disparate systems into one streamlined and highly accessible space. This allows students to find all student success content in one place rather than having to find, learn, and navigate it through many different systems, which often becomes confusing and fatiguing.
The wealth of student success content, once aggregated into Launchpad is then organized and curated to allow visitors to filter, search, and browse content within the two different kinds of digital Launch Communities on Launchpad - Career Communities and Identity / Affinity Communities. Within these Communities, students are able to smoothly and efficiently access mentors, events, opportunities, news, resources, and student organizations, all related to a specific career interest or identity/affinity. This structure ensures that all Drew students are able to easily find resources and support related to their unique interests and identities at their own time and pace.
“The future depends on our meaningful and effective preparation of the new generation of leaders. This has become one of our most important endeavors as individuals, organizations, society, and a planet. It is critical that we broker and lead this effort through pervasive community engagement, equitable student engagement, and a comprehensive virtual presence,” says Dr. Pascoe. “Our partnership with uConnect through LaunchPad allows us to make all the networks, opportunities, resources, and support we gather on an ongoing basis across our on/off-campus communities relevant, accessible, organized, meaningful, and productive to our students and many Launch partners.”
Since Launchpad was introduced to the Drew community roughly 8 months ago, users have already conducted nearly 32,000 web sessions with almost 77,500 pageviews - especially impressive numbers considering Drew’s total student body of just over 2,000.
To explore Launchpad yourself, visit https://launch.drew.edu
And if you're interested in learning more about how uConnect can help bring your career and student success initiatives online, just fill out the form below and we'll get in touch!