Calhoun, Senate evaluate Career Services

Posted by Kat Kullman

Dean of Student Affairs Rochelle Calhoun met with SGA Senate on Feb. 22 to present a draft of a document outlining how the college can best help students use a liberal arts education after graduation.

The document, titled "Transitions and Transformations," focuses on increasing high-impact opportunities such as internships.

The committee that wrote the document is made up of 14 administrators and faculty members, which allows a cross-divisional collaborative team to address the issue.

Calhoun said the idea for a document addressing the utility of a liberal arts degree came from the town hall meetings, a part of the college's Strategic Plan, which occurred over the past year.

"A recurring question from the meetings was ‘what is the value of a liberal arts education?'" Calhoun said. "This isn't just about your transition out of college, it's every step of the way. We want the Skidmore education to be transformational."

These high-impact experiences will be more readily available and abundant, and will help Skidmore students leverage their education after graduation.

The changes would be geared toward underclassmen, especially sophomores, so that ideally every student would have had one high impact experience by junior year.

"We want these opportunities to be almost unavoidable, and to create an experience for all Skidmore students regardless of money," Calhoun said. "We need to provide resources and access for these things."

Changes outlined in the document include restructuring of Career Services, which includes the creation of new positions.

The new Career Services coordinator position will be a faculty position, the goal of which is to add more communication between the administration and faculty to sustain the internship program.

"We already do some of this work, but we want to develop the idea that experiential learning comes from curricular and co-curricular learning," Calhoun said.

The new coordinator would also be more external, focusing on networking with employers and other schools, Calhoun said.

A senator asked why Career Services seems to only direct students to websites that leave most of the work to the students.

"We can't avoid students doing some of the work, but our work needs to come from these sites knowing that you're special because you're from Skidmore. It's about creating the right balance of student initiative and institutional support," Calhoun said.

To increase networking ability and the possibility of future employment, many senators suggested 1-credit business etiquette classes, internship coordinators for each department and a wider range of internship opportunities not necessarily dependent on majors.

The draft of this document will continue to be evaluated, and a survey will be sent to the Skidmore community to gain feedback about Career Services.

In other news:

Senate passed a supplemental to allocate money from Program Support to fund the Environmental Action Club's trip to this year's Power Shift conference in Washington, D.C.

The supplemental was unanimously approved for $3,000. Sixty students will attend.

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