Stonehill Focuses on Career Services for the Younger Set
June 18, 2012
More colleges and universities are seeking to connect younger students with career services, approaching juniors and sophomores to help them align their undergraduate studies with the demands and opportunities of the professional world. At Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., there is a new emphasis on working with sophomores for career preparation. Heather Heerman, Stonehill's director of career services, says, "I feel we are ahead of the curve on reaching out to the sophomore class."
Stonehill has run a ‘Sophomore Disorientation Conference' for the past three years which involves the entire class. "We help students understand the importance of taking advantage of internships, study abroad, leadership opportunities and research, so they can learn more about themselves and start preparing for life after Stonehill as sophomores," she says.
In a bold move, Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, N.H., has launched a new career-services approach, specifically reaching out to freshmen. In fact, the university's new career center, which opened in the fall, was built on the first floor of one of the freshman residence halls.
"Strategically locating the career center in the freshman living area was one way to make an earlier connection with first-year students," says Rosemary Nichols, director of career services. Franklin Pierce is also in the process of revamping its undergraduate core curriculum for the first time in a generation; the new curriculum will incorporate career exploration into the freshman seminar class required for all students.
Kim Mooney, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Franklin Pierce, says a key piece of the redesign is integrating the general education courses with a student's major courses. Mooney points to learning how to read material with a critical eye and oral communication as two areas where she hopes the curriculum will improve students' abilities and boost their employment potential. However, this new curriculum will maintain the university's undergraduate emphasis on the liberal arts.
"We understand that future employers are looking for college students with these skills," she says. "These are the kinds of students that employers want to hire and promote in their companies."
As part of the program's focus on freshmen, Nichols says that the university has developed new freshman-specific career programming, which helps students start preparing to seek out internships, based on their chosen majors.
"We also now have a designated staff person on campus to work specifically with first-year students," she says.
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