Glancing through the summer internships binder in the Career Center students can find a few 2014 opportunities, but most are outdated. Some as far back as 2004. Among the pamphlets and papers, binders and baskets labeled graduate schools, jobs and résumés, something is missing, a cohesive mission and a director.
The role of director has sat vacant since Cathy Cuthbertson left this past January. While sad to see her go, New College is looking at her department as an opportunity to revitalize the Career Center and make it a more helpful and accessible resource for students.
By the end of the semester, the administration will hire two new staff members, a director of career development services and an internship director. The latter is a newly created positon.
“When I go out into town or when other [faculty and administration] go out, people say ‘Oh, we’d love to have a New College student do this or that, send them our way, we’ll pay them,’ and there is no central place [to send them].” President Donal O’Shea said. “Faculty we’re sort of feeling like [internships] were dropping into a black hole. They were sometimes listed, sometimes not.”
“In the [master] plan we’ve been trying to make things so that students would have a better way of hooking what they are learning with work and experiences outside,” O’Shea continued. “Lots of students hook up with a professor and have an internship somewhere, but it’s kind of ad hoc, you sort of need a lot of agency.”
The internship coordinator will be responsible for keeping track of internship opportunities as well as reaching out to and educating students, communicating with faculty and going out into the community to connect students with local businesses.
“I love the way our students just seem to do things themselves, but it shouldn’t be so hard,” O’Shea said. “I don’t think that [the internship coordinator] will be completely and solely responsible for internships but they will have all the knowledge. And they can be a resource for students,” Dean of Students Tracy Murry said.
Along with the internship coordinator position the administration is looking to make the Career Center a more prominent and helpful presence on campus.
“It ought to be the norm that you come in and you go to the Career Center at least a couple of times in your first year to help and the Career Center is kind of on your side and it’s not just information you can find on the internet,” O’Shea said. “Ideally you’d come in, you’d meet with them a couple of times, you’d also have help with resume presentation skills, some help with a pitch, elevator speeches type thing, interviewing techniques. The Career Center should be doing that.”
“We want to focus on the Career Center as being a more proactive place that engages students,” Murry said. “The other piece that I think is also important is using more social media and electronic media to interact with students and outside resources.”
Student Affairs will supervise the director of career services position and the internship coordinator will report initially to the dean of studies and the vice president of academic affairs.
Funding for the positions was generously donated by members of the New College Board of Trustees and New College alumnae. As to how soon these positions will be filled, O’Shea said, “I would have liked to do it yesterday.” The hiring committees will begin reviewing applications this week.
“I’ve just kind of glanced through the pool of candidates that have applied thus far and it’s a really impressive list,” Murry said. “We weren’t sure how long it would take and we hoped it would be sooner than later, but we have close to 30 applicants.” Ideally, the new Career Center director and internship coordinator will arrive by the end of this semester or by Fall 2014 at the latest.