Career Development, Tested.

Guest Blogger: Meghan Godorov, M.Ed., Associate Director for Alumnae and Community Engagement, Mount Holyoke College

With an emphasis on outcomes, career development centers across the country have been under scrutiny. Students, parents, trustees and the media are holding them to higher standards, some of which are very clearly articulated and others that are quite nebulous, as institutions experiment with approaches to the changes that are required to best match their constituents’ needs and institutional mission.

Based on my own experience in career development, the tests for these centers across the country have been both personal and professional in nature. Moves to eliminate silos in higher education have become a high priority. Inserting ourselves in both student and academic affairs, doubling staff size and creating many new programs to redefine career development drastically changed the way individuals experience the profession. Many career centers moved out of students affairs or Enrollment to Advancement and Academic Affairs, elevating the status of the Director’s role and career development as a whole.

Caught in flux both as a department and institution myself led me to consider the psychological effects that change has on higher education professionals, especially and most specifically, at institutions undergoing deep and broad change. When the integrity and quality of one if not more than one functional areas’ work is called into question, I’ve discovered that it can be difficult for individual professionals to make sense of campus and departmental dynamics without also calling your personal values and contributions into question. Rallying behind each other helps. Communication and innovation also helps rally the professional community and builds a support system at the institution for those struggling with the psychological and professional effects of deep and broad change. Easier said than done, right?

So, I ask you to consider the following questions below. As the dynamics in higher education continue to shift, remember to take care of yourself, be reminded of your goals in higher education, pay attention to how these professional changes affect you, your colleagues and department in addition to the rest of the campus. Help us shape the new definition of career development in higher education. Help us reinstill trust in our services and expertise and take the time to market our services to the students and alumni you encounter so we can prepare them for lifelong, career success.

  • What effect has this had on the career development center staff at your institution?
  • In what ways have perspectives shifted on campus regarding this functional area?
  • How have career centers pivoted in their approaches (i.e. collegial and developmental) to prepare students for life after college?
  • What do you know about your colleagues’ experience of this shift?
  • Additionally, what do they know about your own experience of these shifts and the increase in media attention?

Guest Blogger