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Career Development Center adds two new Career Identity Coaches

This summer the Career Development Center added two new Career Identity Coaches. These positions exist as a pilot in collaboration with both the College of Engineering and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. A Career Identity Coach is both a career counseling and an academic advisor that serves primarily first-year students in the partner colleges. Each college has one Career Identity Coach and a Career Transition Coach for upperclassmen in a more traditional career counseling approach.

The aim of the new career development model is to be proactive and involved in the experience of our first year students in order to increase their connection with the Career Development Center early in their academic careers. By connecting early with our students, we are able to support them in developing a solid sense of self in the context of being a young professional through career assessments, personalized coaching, and an optional Career Identity Certificate Program for students in the partnering Career Identity colleges.

The Career Identity Program is a series of ten interconnected workshops and regular coaching sessions that aim to guide students through the many challenges of both university adjustment and their own identity development in a holistic approach. One hundred and fifty-four students are a part of the program this year.

The Career Identity Program focuses on exploring the self through learning about the student’s values, interests, personality, and participating in reflective experiential activities in the first semester. Second semester, the workshops shift to more concrete planning activities focused on defining a major and career path in an intentional and focused exploratory fashion. A current certificate participant from The College of Engineering states that:

“The Career Identity Seminar initially was just another program that I decided to investigate. It is now so much more that that; so far it has helped me define who I am, through my values and desires. Personally, that helps with selecting the right career path. With the help of my Career Identity Coach, I already have a solid idea of where I plan to go in the future.”

– Tanya Mikhailova, Engineering First Year

It is our hope that this program and career model will help students explore major and career options early in order to reduce multiple CODA applications and reduce time towards degree (and stress levels) for our students. A common challenge among students in the Humanities and Social Sciences is the overwhelming realization of how many options one has for a career with their degree and not knowing where to begin in exploring the options.

“The program has given me insight into what major would best fit my personality, and it has given me a sense of what careers are available and how I can get myself into the career that I want to be in. I would recommend applying to this program to any new students next year. “

– Kevin Hogan, Psychology

Dr. Karen Young, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and Director of Undergraduate Programs in The College of Humanities and Social Sciences offers her reflection on the program thus far:

“In the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, we are excited to see how the new model with a Career Identity Coach and a Career Transition Coach works with our students.  We feel this approach, along with the Career Identity Certificate program, will get our students connected to the career center earlier than in years past.  We hope it changes the culture of thinking among our students regarding the appropriate timeline for connections with the Career Development Center (CDC) and helps them to see the value of early contact with the CDC.  We have always appreciated the strong partnership we have with the CDC and were pleased to be part of a pilot to explore the effectiveness of a very different approach.  The number of students participating in CDC drop-in hours in Caldwell Lounge has visibly increased since the implementation of the new approach and we take that as a sign that this approach has great potential for positively impacting our students.”

Looking towards the future we hope to expand this program and career development model so that more students can experience the positive outcomes we are already seeing from this initiative.