Building on more than 300 years of innovation and excellence, William & Mary is the second oldest institution of higher education in the nation, a cutting-edge research university, and one of eight “public ivy” institutions in the United States. As a liberal arts research institution, William & Mary educates its 6,276 undergraduate and 2,341 graduate, professional, and online learners with an exceptional array of nationally ranked academic programs across its schools and colleges—Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, Marine Science, and Law. A deep commitment to diversity, community service, sustainability, and hands-on research distinguishes William & Mary as an institution that lives its values. The campus is located in Williamsburg, Virginia—home to Colonial Williamsburg and one of several communities comprising the thriving Hampton Roads metropolitan area in southeast Virginia.

The Position

Position Description

The director of employer engagement and programming is a member of the Cohen Career Center management team, reporting to the associate vice president of career development. The director provides leadership to all aspects of the Center’s employer relations program that involves 150 to 200 unique companies and agencies on an annual basis. Developing a strategic approach to employer development that strengthens existing relationships and expands outreach and partnerships with employing organizations across multiple industries reflecting the full spectrum of William & Mary student interests is a key focus for the director. Additionally, the director is responsible for managing a robust program of career fairs, as well as other on- and off-campus, and virtual recruitment events in coordination with campus academic partners throughout the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and the Mason School of Business. The director is directly engaged in assessment activities designed to measure outcomes and impact of employer relations initiatives and the overall value proposition of the Cohen Career Center to the liberal arts experience. As a member of the AVP’s leadership team, the director will work closely with the William & Mary Career Collaborative that leverages and unites employer development across the university, University Advancement and Alumni Relations, the Student Affairs Parent and Family Council, Employer Sponsorship Program, and Employer Advisory Board. The director manages a team consisting of an assistant director, graduate assistant, and six student employees supporting special events and employer relations, and is engaged in budget decision-making, development of Center policies and procedures, and long- and short-term strategic goals and priorities in conjunction with the associate vice president and other members of the management team.

Additional responsibilities of the position by approximate percentage of time as outlined by the institutional job description are listed below.

Employer Engagement and Programming – 60 percent of time

  • Develop and maintain an institutional-wide employer engagement and development plan and oversee all outreach efforts conducted by the assistant director.
  • Oversee employer programming activities, and support of assistant director to ensure outreach is in line with campus goals.
  • Manage ongoing assessment efforts.
  • Represent the Cohen Career Center at meetings to ensure campus-wide collaboration on strategic employer relations initiatives.
  • Meet regularly with faculty (in coordination with assistant director) to expand knowledge of career disciplines and to keep faculty abreast of recruiting trends.
  • Travel to meet with alumni and employers to cultivate new recruiting relationships and sustain existing partnerships (Note: most travel anticipated during the summer months).
  • Collaborate with W&M Economic Development to identify new, strategic opportunities for employer engagement.
  • Collaborate with University Advancement to engage alumni and source leads that contribute to employer development.
  • Provide consultation to industry, business, education, and public-sector employers that engage students through participation in career fairs, recruitment activities, and special events to serve the job search-related needs of William & Mary students and alumni.
  • Spearhead the Center’s special programs initiative that involves employer representatives and other outside experts in the delivery of career services to students and graduates.
  • Oversee the assistant director leadership and support of major departmental programming including the Career Fairs, Meet the Firms, DoG to Wall Street, and major Career Symposia.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the associate vice president for career development.

Management and Program Leadership – 20 percent of time

  • Collaborate with the associate vice president for career development and other members of the management leadership team to assess employer relations and program outcomes.
  • Meet regularly with the assistant director to provide frequent, constructive feedback—including evaluations—to ensure that performance is meeting standards.
  • Consult and cooperate with faculty, student organizations, other campus offices, and external stakeholders to promote and improve the Center’s overall delivery of services.

Assessment and Performance Measurement – 15 percent of time

  • Oversee assessment activities for Employer Development, student engagement, and professional development to include assessment of program impact, employer development goals, and student outcomes.

Performance Management – 5 percent of time

  • Ensure performance expectations are clear, effectively communicated, and relevant to the goals and objectives of the Employer Development unit and Cohen Career Center.
  • Provide all staff frequent, constructive feedback, including interim evaluations as appropriate.
  • In collaboration with staff, design professional development plans to assure staff have the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to accomplish duties and goals.
  • Verify that the requirements of the performance planning and evaluation system are met and that evaluations are completed by established deadlines with proper documentation.
  • Address and document performance issues as they occur.
  • Ensure that safety issues are reviewed and communicated to staff, assuring a safe and healthy workplace.

Qualifications and Characteristics of a Successful Candidate

The successful candidate will possess an advanced degree in higher education, student personnel, human resources management, or business, and a progressive record of professional experience in career services, employer relations, or talent acquisition and/or equivalent combination of education and experience. Additional requirements include: strong written and verbal communications skills; effective organizational and management skills; demonstrated public relations/marketing abilities; strong computer skills including database management and familiarity with CRM systems, career development platforms, and related software applications; proven track record of employer/relationship development; understanding of the contemporary job market, recruitment strategies, and employment trends;  experience with project and event management; and documented record of developing and supervising staff.

Preferred qualifications include: Previous experience working in a centralized career services model with a background in employer development, employer engagement, programming, and/or career development.

In addition to the stated qualifications for the position, stakeholders at W&M indicated that the following characteristics would be sought in the successful director of employer engagement and programming position:

  • Possess documented strategic planning ability with the facility to advance new ideas, prioritize goals, and pivot as circumstances dictate.
  • Be data-driven and capable of communicating the value and impact of a liberal arts education, the full spectrum of work that defines a centralized career center, and the importance of student outcomes to varied constituents.
  • Be a versatile team member, collaborator, partner, and leader who welcomes and invites investment from others.
  • Demonstrate strong interpersonal and customer service skills, projecting personal warmth and approachability, as well as political acumen.
  • Maintain a big picture understanding and appreciation for the breadth of industries and career interests pursued by liberal arts graduates.
  • Possess an enthusiastic, entrepreneurial attitude and high capacity to work autonomously to achieve strategic goals.
  • Navigate corporate, non-profit, academic, and social environments with ease.
  • Be eager to continually improve and learn, broadening skills, knowledge, and impact.
  • Be a consummate networker and relationship-builder.
  • Bring an analytical skill set and curious mind to the work, seeking ways to use data to identify gaps in service and to generate solutions.

Likely Opportunities, Priorities, and Challenges of the Position

William & Mary seeks an entrepreneurial and strategic professional to advance employer engagement and programming initiatives that sustains existing relationships, expands networks and opportunities—inclusive of experiential and immersive experiences, internships, and full-time employment—for students and alumni, and raises the visibility and value of a liberal arts education in an ever evolving global economy.

In carrying out their responsibilities, the director will need to solicit input and actively collaborate with many constituencies. It will be important to gather and analyze data about the emerging career-related interests of students and recent graduates in order to assure that the development of internship, job opportunities, and employer partnerships are aligned with and proportional to those interests. This will involve review of Next Destination data collected from individuals within the first six months of graduation, as well as data collected from incoming students and at varying points throughout their degree programs. The director will work particularly closely with academic leaders and faculty throughout the College of Arts & Sciences, the largest college on campus. Additionally, there are numerous other campus partners—University Advancement and Alumni Relations, student affairs colleagues, and administrators supporting the career interests of students enrolled in the Mason School of Business, School of Education, Law School, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science—with whom the director will need to build strong working relationships in order to create synergy, efficiently leverage resources, and promote a unified employer relations strategy. A comprehensive employer development strategy must be focused on industries that include sustainability, entrepreneurship, not-for-profit management, creative arts, international development, government, education, and business.

Additional priorities and leadership opportunities that await the director of employer engagement and programming include:

  • With input of the entire Cohen Career Center team, conduct a thorough assessment of current employer development strategy, recruitment events and activities, and relationship management to establish a baseline understanding of current strengths and opportunities for growth.
  • Implement a strategic outreach effort to engage existing employers soliciting feedback on their partnership with W&M, while also seeking creative opportunities to strengthen working relationships, support their organizational recruitment objectives, and raise the visibility of their organizations with the current generation of W&M students.
  • Initiate dialogue with employer representatives about their needs and workforce expectations and then summarize and socialize key insights with Cohen Career Center colleagues and campus partners including academic leaders and faculty in ways that will help students connect their passion, purpose, and interests with specific opportunities that will prepare them for future success.
  • Actively strive to elevate the breadth of industry engagements in line with documented student interests.
  • Prioritize employer expansion efforts in coordination with the Cohen Career Center leadership team, as well as other campus career services partners.
  • Utilize the talents and capabilities of immediate team members—delegate duties appropriately, exercising care to fairly distribute responsibilities and invest in the continual professional development of staff.
  • Ensure timely response and follow through on employment leads and relationship cultivation—keep referring partners informed of progress and reciprocate with the sharing of leads and relationships when appropriate.
  • Encourage a “One W&M” approach to employer relations by forging a close working partnership with counterparts working in the Mason School of Business as well as others engaged in external facing work with alumni, parents, and employer representatives across many industry sectors.
  • Serve as a champion for the liberal arts and value of a W&M education—reflect a strong understanding of career readiness concepts and familiarity with the competencies that are derived from a rigorous education in the liberal arts and infuse those in communications with internal and external parties.
  • Ensure successful execution of employer programs and recruitment events—be attentive to planning cycles and logistical details, coordinate with appropriate partners, manage a comprehensive communications plan to assure high visibility and active participation, and conduct a thorough assessment to document outcomes and determine opportunities for continuous improvement.
  • Manage a strategic travel schedule that seizes opportunities to connect in-person with key alumni, parents, and employer representatives for the purpose of strengthening and expanding relationships—participate in W&M on- and off-campus events when possible and during the summer months when on-campus recruitment and programming activities are limited, schedule outreach visits to targeted employers.

History of the Position

The Cohen Career Center has had an employer relations component for many years; however, the functional duties that now comprise the position of director of employer engagement and programming have recently been recalibrated to focus specifically on the strategic development and expansion of employer partnerships reflecting the breadth of student career and industry interests. As presently configured, the director also manages all employer operations that include on- and off-campus recruiting initiatives, in-person and virtual employer programs, as well as program and assessment outcomes.

Prior to June 2019, the previous director served as W&M’s Cohen Career Center director of business career and employer development for a period of four years. The former director split time and responsibilities between external-facing employer relations and more internal-facing advising and support directly to undergraduate students enrolled in the Mason School of Business, as well as students across the curriculum interested in business industries. The new director of employer engagement and programming, will no longer have significant student-facing career advising responsibilities, thus allowing more time and focus on employer relations and the design and implementation of programs that will support students’ experiential preparation and pursuit of future careers.

Leadership of the Cohen Career Center

Kathleen Powell, Associate Vice President for Career Development

As the associate vice president for career development, Kathleen Powell has more than 25 years of progressive experience in higher education career services. She is an effective leader and creative programmer; able to create, develop, and implement programs supporting office vision and strategic planning. Dedicated to strategic visioning and management, collaborative partnerships, and faculty engagement, Power also has a commanding understanding of career development, student development, and organizational and leadership theories

Powell holds a Master’s of Science in Student Personnel Services from Miami University of Ohio and a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Akron. She began her tenure in university career services in 1985 at Ashland College, now Ashland University. Her career services work included positions at Knox College (IL), Marietta College (OH), Grinnell College (IA), and The University of Akron (OH). Immediately prior to her appointment as assistant vice president for student affairs and executive director of career development—now associate vice president for career development—at William & Mary, Powell served as the director for career exploration and development at Denison University in Granville, OH.

Powell has authored chapters in several different publications and served as an academic advisor and adjunct faculty member at Marietta College teaching career planning, leadership development and communication. Most recently, Powell was named as the faculty lead for strategic planning for the Emerging Leader session at the Management Leadership Institute through the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Currently past-president for the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), Powell has served as the president and president-elect of NACE, president of the Midwest Association of Colleges and Employers (Midwest ACE) and president of the Illinois Small College Placement Association. Most recently, she was inducted into the Academy of Fellows, the highest honor, recognizes individuals who have contributed to the profession through the advancement of knowledge, leadership or excellence in professional practice. In addition, she is the recipient of the Founders Distinguished Service Award and J.W. Paquette Award for Superior Leadership Award (Midwest ACE), Charles Sumner Harrison Award and Teacher Appreciation Award, Sigma Kappa, (Marietta College). In addition, Powell holds a Management Leadership Certificate for Career Services Professionals.

Additional information about the Cohen Career Center is available here:

Institution & Location

Institutional Background

William & Mary (W&M) is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in America. While the institution’s original plans date back to 1618 — decades before Harvard — William & Mary was officially chartered in 1693. On February 8th of that year, King William III and Queen Mary II of England signed the charter for a “perpetual College of Divinity, Philosophy, Languages, and other good Arts and Sciences” to be founded in the Virginia Colony.

Workers began construction on the Sir Christopher Wren Building, then known simply as the College Building in 1695, before the town of Williamsburg even existed. Over the next two centuries, the Wren Building would burn on three separate occasions, each time being re-built inside the original walls. That makes the Wren the oldest college building still standing in America, and possibly the most flammable.

William & Mary has been called the Alma Mater of the Nation because of its close ties to America’s founding fathers. A 17-year-old George Washington received his surveyor’s license through W&M and would return as its first American chancellor. Thomas Jefferson received his undergraduate education at W&M, as did presidents John Tyler and James Monroe.

W&M is famous for its firsts: the first U.S. institution with a Royal Charter, the first Greek-letter society (Phi Beta Kappa, founded in 1776), the first student honor code, the first college to become a university and the first law school in America.

William & Mary became a state-supported school in 1906 and went coed in 1918. In 1928, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. chose the Wren Building as the first to be returned to its 18th-century appearance as part of the iconic Colonial Williamsburg restoration.

Today, William & Mary retains its traditional title of “College,” though it is really a cutting-edge research university that offers more than 40 graduate and professional degree programs. W&M is also designated as one of only eight U.S. “Public Ivy” universities, thus attesting to the superior education provided by this state-assisted institution which is delivered at a cost far below that of Ivy League schools. Its 12-to-1 student-faculty ratio, is the lowest among top public universities, a factor that helps strengthen W&M’s traditional commitment to teaching. Eighty six percent of William & Mary’s classes have fewer than 40 students—nearly half have fewer than 20 students.

President Katherine A. Rowe became William & Mary’s 28th president on July 1, 2018 and was inaugurated on February 8, 2019. A recognized leader, teacher, scholar and entrepreneur, Rowe is a passionate advocate for the relevance of the liberal arts and their critical intersections with technology and research. She is deeply interested in design thinking, innovation within the liberal arts, and the digital humanities. Her areas of research and scholarship include Shakespeare, Milton, Spenser, media history, and Medieval and Renaissance drama.

Prior to joining William & Mary, Rowe held a number of leadership positions in higher education. From 2014 to 2018, she was provost, dean of the faculty, and Sophia Smith Professor of English Language & Literature at Smith College in Massachusetts. She also served as interim vice president for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity with a focus on campus engagement and inclusion.

About Williamsburg, Virginia

Williamsburg, a city of approximately 14,896 people, is in the northern part of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, which also includes Norfolk and Virginia Beach. In recent years, several well-planned developments—including Kingsmill, Governors Land, and Ford’s Colony among others—have been established immediately beyond the Williamsburg city limits, providing attractive suburban environments where many W&M faculty and staff have chosen to reside.

Founded in 1632, Williamsburg holds a storied place in the nation’s early history. Today, the city’s tourism-based economy is driven by Colonial Williamsburg, the restored Historic Area of the city. Along with nearby Jamestown and Yorktown, Williamsburg forms part of the Historic Triangle, which attracts more than four million tourists each year.

Other highlights of the city include The Williamsburg Winery (Virginia’s largest winery), the Williamsburg Botanical Garden, and the National Center for State Courts. Also located in Williamsburg are two major theme parks, Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA, as well as Go-Karts Plus Action Park and two miniature golf courses. With nearby zip line facilities, ample golf clubs, beautiful biking trails, and several state parks there are plenty of recreational options year-round. The 200-acre Williamsburg Pottery Factory shopping complex visited by 3 million people annually is located at nearby Lightfoot, Virginia. Additionally, the region is home to many talented professional artists and entrepreneurs.

Benefits Overview

As an employee of William & Mary, the following benefits are available:

  • Health Insurance Plans
  • Retirement Plans
  • Virginia Sickness and Disability Plan(VSDP)
  • Educational Assistance
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Flexible Spending Program
  • Group Life Insurance Plans
  • Long-Term Care
  • Wellness Program

Please visit the following for additional information:

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin February 13, 2020, and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Valerie B. Szymkowicz at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the William & Mary website at

William & Mary is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/Equal Access employer and actively encourages applications from minorities, women, disabled persons, and veterans.

William & Mary is committed to providing a safe campus community. W&M conducts background investigations for applicants being considered for employment. Background investigations include reference checks, a criminal history record check, and when appropriate, a financial (credit) report or driving history check.