Long before anyone could foresee the unprecedented circumstances that would move higher education online this spring, the Career Connections Center at Texas Woman’s University had invested in a comprehensive virtual career center.
In January of 2020, TWU launched a new digital career center platform designed to improve student engagement, optimize communication, and cultivate a career culture on campus. Developed in partnership with uConnect, the platform serves as an online career center - a singular digital location where students and the TWU community can access all career development resources, tools, and opportunities.
When the call came to move all operations online, the Career Connections team was ready. Within minutes, they added messaging to the digital Career Connections platform, letting students know they were still open, operating as usual, albeit remotely. Their career development tools, opportunities, and resources were already aggregated on the new platform, carefully curated into Career Communities for students to browse from anywhere and at any time by academic colleges, career interests, and steps along the career journey.
While engagement with the digital Career Connections platform was always significant, metrics began rising as soon as the university migrated online.
Comparing March 1-15 and April 1-15, the online career center saw a 21% increase in repeat visitors to the platform, a 56% increase in average session duration, and increases in traffic to all parts of the online career center, including:
- 132% increase in traffic to the news feed
- 95% increase in traffic to the account sign up page
- 41% increase in traffic to the online Career Communities on the platform
- 34% in traffic to the resource library
With their virtual career center, the TWU team has managed to continue support for all students with minimal disruption. But beyond even this vital feat, the TWU team has been able to launch new initiatives and programs since the university went remote. Just a few weeks ago, the Career Connections Center built an online space and application for their new Urban Fellows Program on the platform, and easily publicized it to students and the community through the platform’s built in communication tools. The Urban Fellows Program provides $1,000 scholarships for a selected group of students who complete unpaid internships with nonprofit, government or community organizations.
The TWU Career Connections team also began advertising their first-ever virtual career and internships fair to assist students, specifically 2020 graduates, in finding employment during the global pandemic.
“To better support their students, every career center should invest in an extensive digital presence,” says Laura Shackelford, Director of TWU’s Career Connections Center. “We’re navigating a rapidly changing landscape, and as a result, our students and stakeholders are developing new habits and skills. Having a stellar virtual presence will be an expectation moving forward.”
Forward thinking and a commitment to optimizing the student experience has allowed the TWU Career Connections team to continue their vital mission of cultivating a career culture on campus despite the myriad challenges resulting from the move online.
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