Op-Ed: The benefits of improved career services

The University’s announcement in “Career services to specialize support, Feb. 16, p. 1” regarding additional investments in career services furthers our commitment to meet the needs of students.

By engaging alumni and employers while simultaneously strengthening our academic programs, career services will be the perfect nexus between student and academic life.

GW has exceptionally dedicated career services professionals, yet we realize there is a need to do more to support students. The model we are building strengthens alliances across all schools and programs, links curricular content with the co-curricular experience and harnesses the expertise of our faculty and academic advisors.

The recent expansion of career services created new individualized services and skill development support that will help prepare students to assume responsibility for directing their own career paths. This includes new niche career expositions for undergraduates and graduates targeted at emerging fields. The new undergraduate career services model will more directly connect a student’s major with industry specialization to foster a successful transition from school to the workplace. It will also provide career management skills that are essential in the workforce. Graduate students will see more focused student career services, with further specialization coupled with school-specific services.

These alignments between academics and the co-curricular experience have been proven to help graduates find employment. The new model will offer students enhanced connections with the alumni, parents and employers who are eager to support GW. It will also offer improved support for those seeking careers in interdisciplinary fields like sustainability, public service and government, entrepreneurship and globalization, all of which are central to the University’s strategic efforts.

At GW, we are fortunate to have a fully engaged Board of Trustees and a forward-thinking administration that all agree strengthening career services will enhance the student experience and the value of a GW education. We see that support in action with the establishment of the Career Services Advisory Council, which assembles career services leadership and expertise from across GW and engages student leaders to better coordinate projects and services that benefit the entire University. We will continue to seek input from critical stakeholders like the Student Association, the Parents’ Association Advisory Council, the Parents Campaign Philanthropy Board and the GW Alumni Association. We invite other interested stakeholders to join the conversation.

It is clear that GW’s emerging model puts a premium on personalized services and will establish a new leadership and management structure. We believe that the new career services model will serve our students well, as they put knowledge into action now and move into their future careers.

Peter Konwerski and John Richardson are the senior associate vice president and dean of students and the president of the Student Association, respectively.

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