Career Services presents changes
As Career Services celebrates its 100th year, the agency, which faced questions regarding its focus on financial industry jobs, discussed changes to its strategy at a meeting of the Council of the Princeton University Community Monday afternoon.
Director of Career Services Beverly Hamilton-Chandler presented the recent changes, which she said are focused on fostering “early engagement and sustained engagement.”
When Career Services switched from reporting to the Dean of the College to the Office of the Vice President for Campus Life, the agency conducted an external review. The review revealed that many students on campus were not aware of the extent of resources available, that many students thought a majority of the resources were for private-sector opportunities and that the accessibility of jobs was not clear.
In her presentation, Hamilton-Chandler noted that Career Services has attempted to reach out more to the student body through personalized engagement. She said that once this approach was put in place, there was a 20 percent increase in the percentage of members of the freshman class who sought out Career Services, from 47 percent to 67 percent.
Career Services Manager of Communication and Outreach Evangeline Kubu added that Career Services works “very hard to increase our visibility across campus.”
“Students have a clear preference for visual images,” Kubu said. “Infographics are our new way to help tell the story.”
She also emphasized Career Services’ online presence, with targeted email campaigns and student intern blogs, alongside more traditional poster and print methods. The student blogs in particular have been popular and Kubu emphasized the center’s social media platforms.
“Our strategy serves as a model nationally for other career centers,” she said.
Despite this focus on streamlining and improving personal engagement with Career Services, Hamilton-Chandler also addressed the perception that Career Services is focused on finance-related jobs and that many University students end up in the finance industry. Hamilton-Chandler challenged this belief by noting that 12.9 percent of the Class of 2011 went into the financial industry after graduation. Career Services had recently increased its focus on nonprofits.
Hamilton-Chandler said that many students may enter finance because such job opportunities are more available to students.
“Organizations that come to campus make it easier for students to find opportunities. Publishing industries may not come to campus,” she said.
There were further questions about how Princeton’s Career Services compared to Harvard’s and Yale’s. Hamilton-Chandler emphasized that Princeton is faring “very well” among peer schools, noting that Princeton offers more programs than some peer schools.
However, in response to a question from Elan Kugelmass ’14 regarding the impact of the academic calendar on the recruiting process, Hamilton-Chandler said that despite efforts to make flexible schedules, international organizations coming to New York in early January to recruit “wreaks havoc for us.”
Earlier in the meeting, University President Shirley Tilghman introduced the incoming dean of the School of Architecture, Alejandro Zaera-Polo. Zaera-Polo, who receieved disapproval from some architecture graduate students when he was named to the position, addressed the unique nature of the School of Architecture and how he plans to move forward in his new role on campus.
“The School of Architecture has a peculiar standing within the University,” Zaera-Polo noted. “Probably the best thing the School [of Architecture] can do for the University is to act as a bridge between the humanities and the sciences.”
Zaera-Polo emphasized connectivity in a different manner when asked how he would describe the current state of the undergraduate architecture program.
“I think it needs a little bit more structure,” he said. “We are taking a number of initiatives like mentorship programs so that undergraduate students become more exposed, or perhaps more involved, with the research of the graduate students.”
During a Q-and-A session at the CPUC meeting, Jim Robertson ’91, owner of Pequod Communications, asked for a reconsideration of the announcement that Mudd Library will no longer store hard copies of senior theses.
“I’m a little concerned that this is yet another one of our Princeton traditions that will go by the wayside,” Robertson said. “I’m concerned that the physical representation of the thesis is the only thing on campus that an [alumnus] leaves behind.”