New university program gets students on a career path before enrollment

career-students-universityThe University Of Evansville (UE) may hold a unique approach suited for the future of college enrollment: A career advantage program (CAP) that gets students started with career planning as early as the first time they visit the UE campus.

As a traditional university that holds four colleges—Schroeder School of business, College of Engineering and Computer Science, College of Education and health Sciences, and the William L. Ridgeway College of Art and Sciences—UE says it is able to provide students with the program through effective budgeting and a million dollar grant from the Lilly Endowment.

The Career Advantage Program was launched two years ago as part of a broader initiative to enhance the University’s Career Services Office offerings. “We weren’t satisfied with the traditional support; that wasn’t meeting the needs of the students as well as it might,” Tom Kazee, Ph.D, President of the University of Evansville said.

Because of evolving student needs (i.e. budget planning, understanding return-on-investment with tuition, and post-graduation career success) the university decided to try and get students to plan for their careers even before committing to UE—as prospective students. When students come to visit the UE campus, they have the opportunity to visit the campus’s Center for Career development, where they can build relationships with career professionals.

“The major change is we decided that students needed to be thinking about career development at a much earlier point than they traditionally do,” Kazee said. “Students usually make the first contact [with Career Services] their junior year, which is pretty late.”

He continued to explain that the changing job market was a major factor that prompted UE to sit down at the drawing board and redesign their career service offerings. With the American economy no longer as robust and healthy, the landscape has changed, bringing much more anxiety to students and parents. Kazee emphasized the idea of students wanting a return on investment on their education—that return being a good job.

“The whole conversation nationally has changed. More and more people think of education as a commodity. In the liberal arts environment, we think that education is designed to enable you to a desirable life…We want to educate more broadly,” he emphasized.

(Next page: How CAP works)


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