Career Services ready for change
In the past, many students didn't find their way to the Career Development Center until their junior or senior year, once they had already declared a major and decided on a career path.
But this year, the newly organized center hopes to reach out to students as soon as they hit campus as freshmen.
"Our goal is to reach freshmen and sophomores more than has been done in the past to let them know our services aren't just for seniors," said new Career Development Center Director Linda Sterling. "We want to integrate career development and discovery into student life in general."
Sterling and new Assistant Director Paula Shaver began this summer as part of a reorganization of Baker's career services for students. Both directors have diverse backgrounds working in career development and education.
Sterling has an undergraduate degree in psychology and sociology, a master's in counseling psychology and is currently working on her doctorate at the University of Kansas. She has worked as a career counselor at KU for three years.
Shaver has undergraduate degrees in education and French, a master's degree in curriculum and instruction and Teaching English as a Second Language, and is currently working on her doctorate at the University of Kansas in curriculum and instruction. She has experience teaching English to international students at KU as well as tutoring first- and second-year French students.
"From interview practice to resume assistance and employment research, our department has the potential to reach many people," Shaver said. "I look forward to getting to know Baker students."
Ed Robinson, dean of students, said Sterling and Shaver make a strong team encompassing all aspects of career development.
"They bring a whole different dynamic to Baker. It's what all universities need for career services," Robinson said. "We really focused on seniors before, but if we start preparing them as freshmen, they're so far ahead of the game by their senior year."
Sterling said she hopes her office can reach more students throughout the university community by scheduling visits to sports teams, residence halls and Greek houses. The office also wants to remind alumni that services are open to them as well.
"We need to get our name out there and get students up here to our office so we can help them," she said. "We can talk to them in groups, but we also want to meet with them individually."
Freshman and sophomore students will have the opportunity to take job interest tests and personality assessments and receive career counseling to develop the early process of career mapping. Junior and senior students can receive the tools and techniques for finding a job, such as help writing resumes and cover letters, polishing interviewing skills and handling job offers.
Sometimes the best way to help students, Sterling said, is to talk to them about what they like or don't like and how that can fit into their job search. She said some students expect to take a test that will spell out their permanent career path, which is not always possible.
"While you're here, you should earn a degree in what interests you," Sterling said. "You're more likely to use that type of a degree later down the road."
The Center will have an Open House for students from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27. Students will have a chance to take a tour and ask questions about the center. Counselors will provide tutorials on several programs and assessments. Refreshments will also be served.
"We're going to welcome students to come up and ask us questions and let us know what they need from us," Sterling said. "We want to build a good relationship that will grow through their years at Baker."