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CARING COUNTS: Getting Great Jobs and Living Great Lives

Recently Trudy Steinfeld, Assistant Vice President, NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development, wrote For the Love of Career Services about the sense of loss being experienced by some of our colleagues. What some may experience as a loss – loss of connection to meaningful relationships with students, colleagues and employers—is perhaps the impact of a significant redistribution of one’s time into new roles, technologies, partnerships and program assessment.

Ask any faculty or admissions director to describe the changes they have experienced in their roles and be ready to stay for a while…the changes reach across all of our campuses big or small and it has only just begun. As the cost of college and even the choice of a college major become a part of the political agenda, we can anticipate students and parents will be also be seeking a voice in this debate. We need to be prepared. We need a plan and we especially need to know what parts of the student experience are crucial to our mission.

I believe strongly, as does Trudy, that we all care deeply about our students, colleagues, employers, institutions and the profession. Having meaningful relationships and guiding young lives are at the core of all we do. The tools we use are changing. The speed is changing. The students have changed and will continue to change. Our profession is recalibrating to meet these changes and to welcome in this brave new world. “Even with the radical changes in career services and the new priorities competing for a professional’s time, it is imperative that an adviser still focus on the students.” (Chaim Shapiro, Assistant Director, Career Services, Touro College, Leadership Priorities for Career Services)

How will we negotiate this change? We should look to the data.

Last year, a fascinating report the Gallup-Purdue Index 2015 Report Great Jobs, Great Lives.: The Relationship Between Student Debt, Experiences and Perceptions of College Worth was released. It is rich in information valuable to this discussion and I commend it to you. (Gallup Education Research Reports)

As you read, do pay particular attention to the impact of relationships between students and faculty and administrators.

  • When a student felt like a faculty member or mentor cared about him/her, it multiplied their satisfaction with their education by 40%.   Indeed, that “caring” relationship even helped buffer concerns arising from high student loan debt.
  • If employed graduates strongly agree that they had professors who cared about them as people, had at least one professor who made them excited about learning and had a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams, their odds of being engaged at work nearly double.
  • Graduates’ strong agreement with these three indicators of positive faculty and mentor relationships also make the odds 1.4 times higher that they score well in all five dimensions of well-being assessed in the survey: purpose, social, financial, community and physical.

Undoubtedly, there will be efforts to reduce the cost of college by the increased use of on-line materials and the ability to serve larger numbers of students with fewer resources.

The data have told us the same thing our intuition did – that we must still care about each student! I long for substantive studies, like the Gallup-Purdue Index, that can generate a spark that ignites a new perspective, strategy, partnership or support a vision that best serves our students. Our intuitions can, too easily, be ignored. Let the data speak. Caring counts!

About the Author: Beverly Lorig
3.8 Bio PhotoAs the Assistant Director for the Echols Scholar program, Beverly works with Echols students in all stages of their career development. In addition to individual consultation, Beverly will be working with the Echols student leadership to define unique programs that complement the Echols experience. Prior to joining the UVA Career Center in January, Beverly was director of the Career Development Center at Washington and Lee University for over 15 years where she advised liberal arts and science students as well as those studying journalism and commerce.  She led initiatives establishing alumni-sponsored internships, expanded programs for liberal arts students and launched the successful Alumni in Residence series.  Most recently she served as Interim Executive Director of the Center for Work and Service at Wellesley College, Boston, MA.  Her experience with liberal arts colleges includes roles with Yale University, Augustana College (IL), and Agnes Scott College (GA).  Beverly was elected to the Board of the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers (EACE), President of the Virginia Association of College and Employers (VACE), and participated in the external review of liberal arts career programs. Beverly is an alumnus of the University of Georgia and Georgia Southwestern University.   She lives in Fairfield, VA with her husband and Ozzie, a cairn terrier, who loves the country-life of skunks and groundhogs.  In her spare time she bikes in the Shenandoah Valley and is looking forward to volunteering with and riding in the May 2016 New York City Five Boroughs Bike Ride.

-University of Georgia, Master of Education (M.Ed.), Higher Education; Student Personnel Administration
-Georgia Southwestern State University, Bachelor in Science, Psychology, Summa Cum Laude

National Certified Counselor
Board Certified Coach
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