Saturday, May 26, 2018

Changes Coming to Career Development Opportunities

ANGEL PEREZ

PHD VICE PRESIDENT FOR ENROLLMENT AND STUDENT SUCCESS

Trinity College’s Career Development Center is getting a facelift. As of October 1, the Office of Student Success and the Career Development Center will merge to form the Center for Student Success and Career Development. What we’ve learned since launching the Office of Student Success in 2016 is that before we engage students about life and career preparation, we must guide them in strategically designing a Trinity experience and removing any barriers that might impede them from doing their best work in and out of the classroom. The Center for Student Success and Career Development will create an ecosystem to support, cultivate, and retain Trinity College students with the goal of preparing them for life after graduation.

As higher education adapts to the evolving needs of incoming students, seismic shifts in the employment market, and heightened family concerns about return on investment, Trinity has a unique opportunity to pioneer new models for institutional and student success. The Center for Student Success and Career Development will strategically implement programming to help students thrive and maximize their college experiences while cultivating them for professional and post-graduate opportunities.

year, my team and I worked to identify strategic initiatives for the future of the Career Development Center in consultation with students, alumni, faculty, trustees, cabinet members, as well as career and industry experts. Colleges and universities across the nation are reinventing themselves to meet the needs of today’s students, and Trinity is no exception. Changing demographics, emerging technologies, industry changes, and shifts in how college students engage their institutions and communities mean that higher education can no longer simply stay the course. This new organizational structure and related strategic initiatives will position us to ensure that our students are successful at Trinity and beyond. As the College approaches its third century, we want Trinity graduates to emerge from our campus not only as desirable employees, but as transformative leaders and fulfilled alumni of the College. A reimagined and invigorated Center for Student Success and Career Development will be a critical element of equipping our students to do just that.

A key focus of our work in this new Center will be to use design-thinking principles to help students create intentionality around their college experience and think deeply about what careers will best suit them. This past summer, Trinity was one of only 12 colleges in the nation chosen to adopt and teach Stanford University’s design thinking curriculum. Members of Trinity’s career development and student success team, including a first year seminar instructor, travelled to Palo Alto, California, to learn about “Designing Your Life,” one of Stanford’s most popular courses. We will be implementing this work through workshops, course offerings, and orientation programming.

We are also launching a meaningful work program. A key opportunity for helping students explore future purpose lies in the work-study and student employment program. This exciting initiative will help students reflect upon their on-campus work experiences and make direct connections to their academic and career aspirations. Trinity currently employs over 600 students. We want those experiences to be meaningful and serve our student’s in learning about strengths, weaknesses, work-habits, and skills development. Through projects of reflection, they will also think about what they enjoy about their tasks (or don’t) and what work environs suit them best. This is a tremendous opportunity to leverage a program that already exists on campus and use it to help students navigate their futures.

Finally, we will also be hiring part-time industry advisors. These consultants from industry will work with our students directly to give them advice on how to best prepare for careers in specific fields of interest to Trinity students. Our students must have their fingers on the pulse of what’s happening in the workforce, and this program will help give them a significant advantage. At the request of President Berger-Sweeney, our industry advisors will be based downtown, in Trinity’s new Constitution Plaza campus, fostering even greater synergy between our students and Hartford.

We will continue to offer many of the wonderful services that have made our center a success, but there are many new exciting programs ahead. These new efforts will be led by Dr. Jennifer Baszile, our inaugural Dean of Student Success and Career Development, and Joseph (Joe) Catrino, our new Director of Career Development. Both are extraordinary individuals with a wealth of experience in student success and career education. Together, they are committed to building upon the College’s historic strength in helping Trinity students lead transformative lives. This is truly an exciting moment for the College and I hope students and alumni will take full advantage of all new offerings.

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