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Enhancing Career Center and Faculty Partnerships

Enhancing Career Center and Faculty Partnerships

EACE Blog contribution by Scott Borden, LPC, NCC, NCCC, DCC – Career Development Specialist at Rutgers University, University Career Services

Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, is a large state university with over 41, 500 undergraduate and graduate students. Our mission and challenge at University Career Services is providing comprehensive career counseling and planning services with a limited counseling staff and resources to this large, diverse population.

With a student population this large, it remains both a goal and a challenge to reach out and touch as many students as possible. While actively promoting our services across campuses, utilizing new technology applications, and our revamped website and web-based tools, we have additionally sought to actively, over the last year, take steps to build more effective partnerships with our many academic departments and associated major department program directors and faculty. While not a new concept, it is one that can be difficult and pose many hurdles at a large institution. This type of pro-active engagement with faculty partners to leverage the Office of Career Services’ reach has received more attention recently.  In both working on committees within Rutgers and researching other institutions, I have seen greater emphasis on and promotion of Career Services and faculty partnerships.

Our Executive Director at Rutgers University Career Services, Richard Hearin, published a chapter in the book, “Leadership in Career Services: Voices from the Field,” (NACE, 2013, Emanuel Contomanolis and Trudy Steinfeld, eds.), entitled, Faculty Partnerships: Critical Enablers and Key Alliances.  In his chapter, Rick notes, “The more fully career services are integrated into the fabric of institutional culture and academic life, the greater the likelihood that students’ career aspirations and potential will be fulfilled.” (p.67).  In any institution, large or small, the more allies and advocates the Office of Career Services has in reaching out to students, the better the widespread delivery of our message and broad-based provision of our services.

In our Career Center at Rutgers, we have redesigned our counseling efforts and services around a Career Cluster model to more effectively screen, conduct intake, and offer targeted assessment and services to more easily identified client populations. Our cluster model breaks away from the major or school affiliation and links to various world of work and industry clusters, e.g., Business and Communication, STEM,  Education and Social Services, Environment, etc. Our counseling professionals are experts in various cluster areas and seek to partner with faculty in these respective clusters. Protocol has been developed for academic outreach and counselors are equipped with a “toolkit” of resources and services to present to faculty. Results after one year have been positive as our counselors have conducted more targeted outreach by cluster, met with faculty, participated in department meetings, guest lectured in classes, have had Career Services web-based assessments incorporated into course syllabi, and partnered with faculty to meet with employers to discuss on-campus information sessions, career fairs and interviewing.

The competitive nature of today’s job market is a force that can help shape a more collaborative and welcomed partnership between faculty and career services as both entities focus on student success and career attainment.  As Rick notes, with renewed attention being focused on internships and other experiential education opportunities, faculty have become increasingly attuned to how students’ academic lives and career lives are integrated.  Indeed, most faculty view this growing trend as mutually reinforcing.  A recent example of this dynamic presented itself to me here at Rutgers.  A professor in the School of Communication, in the Information Technology & Informatics major, was having a meeting with an employer seeking to build a relationship with the school to explore the academic curriculum, better identify promising IT – minded students and promote the company’s profile, mission and opportunities.  The professor invited me to participate and I also brought along leaders of our internship and employer relations teams. The collaborative group process and collective knowledge was enhanced by the input of all three entities – faculty, employer, career services—to the benefit of Rutgers and our students.

While there are hurdles in building such alliances for certain, Rick goes on to note, ”How much better the outcome for students, however, when both faculty members and career center staff work with synergistic purpose and shared commitment to student success. There is no better way to ensure that career centers work as part of the academic enterprise rather than apart from it.” (p. 73).

borden-scottScott Borden is a New Jersey licensed professional counselor, national certified counselor, national certified career counselor, and distance credentialed counselor. As a Career Development Specialist with University Career Services, he provides career counseling, life-planning, and related programming to undergraduate and graduate students interested in pursuing careers within the following areas: business, communication and English. While working with all undergraduate and graduate students, Scott also serves as a liaison to students on academic probation/at risk for retention and transfer students new to Rutgers.

Prior to his experience at Rutgers and in private practice, Scott was an operations manager for Lehman Brothers in NYC for six years, where he managed the OTC Equities group and provided team-building and communications seminars to staff.

Scott holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the College of New Jersey, a bachelor’s degree in finance and management from Monmouth University, and is a member of the NJ Counseling Association, NJ Career Development Association, Middle Atlantic Career Counselors Association, and Chi Sigma Iota.



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