The Center for Career and Professional Development is a resource students should use to get both professional and career help and advice.
For returning students, this name may sound a little unfamiliar. The Center for Career and Professional Development is the office that used to be Co-op and Career Services office. There are a number of changes going on in this office, the name being only one of them.
“This office had an external review in spring of 2012 and that team came from NYU and Rochester Institute of Technology,” Nancy Hutchison, director of the office, said. “And so they made many recommendations to us for this office in context to the whole college.”
Hutchison and Melissa Moravec, assistant director of the office, are in the process of developing an entirely new career development model. “We are first and foremost developing a strategic plan. But the number one step in that, the team recommended a name change,” Hutchison said. “That our former name did not adequately reflect what we do and what we should be doing.”
The external review team thought that the previous name had placed too much emphasis on “cooperative education” and students might have thought that there was co-ops where the priority of the office and career services was secondary. “That’s not how we viewed it,” Moravec said. “So that was kind of an interesting perspective to take on what a title means for the office.”
The office also wants to strengthen the relationship with the faculty at Cabrini. As great as the relationship with the faculty is, the office wants to work more closely with the faculty because they can have more of an impact on the students. “[We want to] work more closely with faculty in terms of providing faculty with changes and trends that are going on within fields,” Hutchison said.
“And for us, to maybe work more closely with faculty and coaching the faculty perhaps on some of these [skill sets] because faculty have the students in class twice, three times a week for a significant period of time,” Hutchison said.
Deb Takes, the interim president, is one of the biggest supporters of the Center for Career and Professional Development. “Our interim president has been wonderfully supportive. She – being a business person – has a lot of contacts…and since we met has given us five leads that have all turned into really nice internships,” Hutchison said. Takes has expressed her interest in getting more relationships with businesses like the relationship Cabrini has with USLI.
The Center for Career and Professional Development offers students the chance to hone in on a variety of skill sets, however, one of the main priorities of the office is to get students to really analyze themselves. “I would say one of the skill sets important to know is how to analyze yourself a little bit,” Moravec said. “What are the questions you need to be asking of your experience and of yourself that you can apply to another position?”
“That’s a lot of what we try to do with first year students or sophomores who come in who might be undecided about a major,” Hutchison said. “Well who are you? What do you like to do? What is your passion? What drives you? And have to start to think in those terms which should open up some other thought processes for them.”
In addition to helping students analyze themselves, the office helps students with basic skills they would need for any job. “If they come in with a resume that needs critiquing we do that, and if we’re free we’ll do it right then and there otherwise we’ll have to make an appointment,” Hutchison said. “We do interviewing skills, job search, how to use the internet, how to use our database, LinkedIn, etc.”
Even though the office does a good amount to help students, it is always willing to do more. “I think that’s what’s nice about our office, even though we’re so small, when somebody presents us with a need or a question even if it’s not something we’ve done before, we try to find a way to make it happen.” Moravec said. “I think that we’re flexible and interested and engaged in our industry that we want to help faculty and students and alums and employers as much as we can.”
One thing stressed by both Hutchison and Moravec is the importance of having the conversation about career development. Any undergraduate student, or alumni can visit the office and get they help they need. “Part of [the] career development part of our office and just in general no matter what school you’re at is that having a conversation with a career professional can be helpful and understanding in what you’re capable of doing and what’s out there for the future and how to get from point A to point B.” Moravec said. “So kind of getting an idea of what’s realistic for the future now helps you understand kind of what to expect when you graduate. And that conversation can happen at any point in time.”