In the Driver’s Seat
Advising and Career Services provides ‘one-stop shopping’ for students
If pundit predictions are to be believed, job prospects for college graduates are the brightest they have been in 15 years. A recent study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers shows that hiring is up by more than eight percent from last year—evidence of a rebounding economy that is stimulating industrial growth.
This is good news for students in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S), says Associate Dean Kandice Salomone, as employers seek out graduates with a strong work ethic, broad knowledge base, and transferrable skills.
“Study after study confirms what we already know—that a liberal arts background prepares one for a lifetime of learning and career development,” says Salomone, who heads up Advising and Career Services, A&S’ largest non-academic unit. “We equip students with the critical-thinking, problem-solving, and idea-generating skills they need to succeed in today’s knowledge economy.”
Salomone has instituted a sweeping reorganization, fueled by changes in not only the academy, but also business, industry, and government. The result is a highly nimble, student-centered shop, benefitting undergraduates at every point of their academic career—before, during, and after A&S.
The latest change is the addition of Sue Casson, director of career development and services. An experienced human resources professional, she says part of her job is reminding students—and employers—about the myriad benefits of liberal learning. “I find that some liberal arts students self-select out of opportunities because they don’t think employers are interested in them,” she says. “My goal is to educate them of how marketable they really are.”
Casson does this by linking students with businesses and with professional and graduate schools. Much of this involves targeted programming and communications, with which faculty, staff, and alumni play a supporting role.
Her appointment is part of a college-wide effort to provide one-stop shopping for all undergraduates. Case in point: A&S’ 16 professional counselors have been trained in all facets of the field, including career exploration, major and minor degree completion, and pre-law and pre-health advising.
Shruti Amin Viswanathan, director of academic advising and counseling, applauds these changes, saying that, along with the launch of the office’s newly revamped website, student satisfaction is on the rise. “Early and frequent advising can shape a student’s experience, putting him or her in the driver’s seat,” she says. “Just as importantly, it helps the student graduate on time.”