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GW Continues Plans to Enhance Career Services
September 26, 2011
New advisory council tasked with coordinating services across the university.
The university is continuing to plan for the enhancement of its career services offerings through an ongoing, thorough examination of current programs and with input from university stakeholders.
The Career Services Task Force, a university-wide group convened by President Steven Knapp in June 2010, has identified career service expectations of the GW community and has made several recommendations based on its research during the 2010-11 academic year.
Top community expectations include offering more resources focused on specific industries, disciplines and trending job areas; integrating career services into GW curricula wherever feasible; boosting career service offerings online to provide 24/7 access; and increasing alumni engagement, while strengthening student/alumni mentoring programs and career service resources specifically for alumni.
“We are embarking on the most exciting phase of this project, where emerging ideas can be turned into achievable actions designed to better serve the employment needs of our student and alumni communities,” said Task Force Co-Chair Peter Konwerski, senior associate vice president and dean of students. “The input we have gathered has been invaluable and will continue to shape our plans as we prepare to implement the best ideas.”
The task force recommended the formation of a Career Services Advisory Council, which will be convened later this fall and include representatives from all GW career centers and alumni relations as well as student leaders. The council will facilitate collaboration and coordination among career services functions across the university and serve as a sounding board for future career services plans.
Additional task force recommendations included increasing coordination between the existing campus career centers and improving the overall delivery of career services.
Executive Director of University Initiatives Robert Snyder said the examination is an ongoing “all-encompassing” look at enhancing GW career services.
“We want to really embed career services within the life of the university, so it’s not a separate entity of the university or a parallel structure, but part of the student and alumni experience from day one,” he said.
Over the course of the past year, the task force gathered feedback from students, parents, faculty and academic advisers, employers and alumni through focus groups, surveys and meetings. As a next step, the Student Association and Alumni Association will host town hall meetings later this fall to collect feedback from the GW community on proposed enhancements.
“The Student Association executive board has set career services as a priority this year. The university has put together a panel of stakeholder groups to be involved in the vision and implementation of the new career services model, which I feel benefits from the diversity of perspectives represented,” said Student Association President John Richardson. “It is my hope that the work from this group will give students the best opportunity to find a job or continue their education once they complete their four years here.”
The university plans to gradually implement new programs and ideas beginning in the spring semester.
Michael Steelman, associate director of alumni career and volunteer services and a member of the Career Services Advisory Council, said alumni will continue to be involved in career task force discussions and future initiatives.
He cited the GW Alumni Association LinkedIn group—which is open to all students, faculty, staff, and alumni and currently includes nearly 16,000 members—and the Career Advisor Network—with more than 1,100 alumni career advisers — as examples of how “Colonials are helping Colonials to network and build their careers.”
“We obtained valuable feedback and ideas from alumni responses to surveys, focus groups with alumni and through benchmarking other universities’ alumni career services,” said Mr. Steelman. “The Office of Alumni Relations looks forward to continuing to work closely with our colleagues across campus to improve awareness about the university resources for alumni career needs and to continue to engage the worldwide alumni community.”
The GW Career Center, as well as school-based career centers across the university, is offering a number of events and programs this fall, including a Career and Internship Fair featuring more than 100 employers today from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Charles E. Smith Center. Click here for a complete list of career centers.