by Shirley Farrar, Rowan University
One of my colleagues requested clarity of the ON THE SPOT (OTS) program’s purpose in order to market our annual barbecue to participating employers. The Office of Career Advancement (OCA), a.k.a. “Career Hub,” has been offering professional career services since 1992. However, nationally less than 11% of university students utilize their Career Centers. The purpose of OTS is to provide awareness through our resume critiques, workshops, and annual barbecue. Each is part of our program’s marketing strategy, particularly, our end-of-the-year annual barbecue where we market the OCA Career Services to students and alumni by (1) showing our appreciation from the OCA department staff with food, prizes, fellowship, & fun, and (2) to bring awareness of the available career services located at the Glassboro, NJ campus, to increase new student participation.
In this blog post, I’d like to celebrate a past female keynote speaker and president of NACADA, Betsy McCalla-Wriggins, who was instrumental to Rowan University’s Career Center, or Career Hub. Mrs. Wriggins was the prior Director Emeritus of Rowan’s Career Hub, which was previously called “Career and Academic Planning Center” in 1992. She was the driving force who initiated the creation of the Glassboro, NJ career center we now know and utilize. This resource started as an all-inclusive Advising and Career Counseling Center just 27 years ago. The recently named Office of Career Advancement (OCA) has had more than five names since Betsy was the Director. Its staff has always been dedicated to helping current students attain positive career outcomes during their four-year degree programs as well as alumni with their lives after graduation.
There is an old Latin phrase “nihil novi sub sole,” which means there is nothing new under the sun. If you wait long enough, ideas are revisited or improved. This concept is important, especially if we have ideas or services that provide positive and significant improvement for individual’s career wellness. I’m certain the 1992 Career Center staff was dedicated and marketed their services to students. In the last two blogs, I discussed the process of the ON THE SPOT (OTS) campaign program. In November 2018, I was led to continue expanding the ON THE SPOT vision, to make students and alumni, aware of the career services offered by the Office of Career Advancement. Since the pilot implementation of this campaign in fall 2016, my program began acquiring surveys and providing resume critiques across the campus first in one location, the Chamberlain Student Center, and has since expanded upon our services within seven academic buildings.
Similar to Betsy’s initial program, our current OCA staff is focused on listening to our students, supporting their career goals, reflecting on the outcome of their 4-year plan, helping student and alumni acquire internships and employment opportunities, showing them that we care about their current and future well-being, and providing meaningful resources to help their life-long vision (Burton and McCalla-Wriggins, 2009). Providing professional career services has always been beneficial to student success. Other than separating advising and career counseling from the same department, “nihil novi sub sole,” there is nothing new under the sun. With our small staff of six addressing career-readiness and our new Feb. 2019 staff addition, plus three implementing employer relations, we remain dedicated. It is uncertain what new changes are on the horizon.
After speaking with my mentors on OTS “Next Steps,” they have encouraged me to reach out to additional departments, staff, faculty, and student groups. In one particular “networking” opportunity and an email discussing Best Practices, there have been new campus partnerships with possibilities starting in summer 2019. Just recently for the spring semester, we have partnered with the College of Education’s undergraduate majors in order to bridge academic and professional development. In addition, opportunities are in development to provide syllabi seminar career-readiness workshops to all our graduate level students in the Higher Education program. This is particularly exciting to me because one of my master’s degrees is in Higher Education in Administration, and my second master’s is in Counseling in Educational Settings.
It is the beginning of 2019 and I’m ready to unleash my time management skills, as opportunities and projects continue to take on a life of their own. As I reach out across the Glassboro campus, I am not alone at the OCA at Rowan University. Our efforts within the past three years have increased student’s participation at the OCA approximately between 3-5% of our 14-18,000 students, even though NACE 2017 reports nationally that career centers at the university level are underutilized by less than 11% of the campus population. National numbers may be affected by whether the campus career center is combined with academic advising; ours is not integrated. However, whether we are centralized through assisting all students or decentralized and “don’t confer credits nor work for specific departments” (NACE, 2017), we remain the university’s Career Hub. It remains our responsibility as staff, faculty, career counselors, advisors, mentors, and administrators since 1992 to increase student participation at the career center. This is particularly important, because students are more likely to be successful if they visit their campus career centers (GALLUP, 2017). The OTS will continue to market OCA’s career services, and I’m certain there will be plenty to blog about.
RESOURCES: Betsy McCalla-Wriggins presentation: http://nacada.rutgers.edu/schedule.html. Burton, D. N., & McCalla-Wriggins, B. (in press, 2009). Integrated career and academic advising programs. In K. Hughey, D. N. Burton, J. Damminger, & B. McCalla-Wriggins (Eds.)The Handbook of Career Advising. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.