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Restructure of FLC’s Career Services aims to give students more program-specific guidance

Fort Lewis College is changing its career services program to give students more opportunities like Danielle Sheptow had as an intern at Mesa Verde in 2006.
Fort Lewis College is changing its career services program to give students more opportunities like Danielle Sheptow had as an intern at Mesa Verde in 2006.

Major changes are in the works for Fort Lewis College Career Services. A restructure of the program is planned in an effort to help students receive more program-specific career assistance.

FLC’s Career Services Office is an organization largely independent of the College’s three schools. Under the new restructuring plan, the independent office will be replaced by three career services coordinators hired to work specifically with each of the three schools (the Teacher Education program will share a coordinator with the School of Business Administration). These coordinators will specialize in careers falling within the degrees offered by a particular school, in contrast to trying to offer career assistance for the over 100 academic programs available at the College.

The change is an effort to utilize the close working relationship between faculty and students for which Fort Lewis College is known. Due to this relationship, FLC students often go to their professors for career and internship advice and guidance. The goal is to add a career services professional who can offer more personalized expertise to both faculty members and students.

“After researching a number of different models, we are piloting a program that has been successful at other institutions to assist our faculty in helping their students find careers,” says Dr. Maureen Brandon, dean of the FLC School of Natural & Behavioral Sciences. “It’s very difficult for one person to be an expert in all the potential careers that Fort Lewis College graduates could pursue. It makes sense that a coordinator specializing in just the degrees offered by one particular school can give our students more personalized service.”

Among the other duties of the coordinators will be internship coordination, networking with alumni, and setting up opportunities for students to gain general job-seeking skills, such as constructing resumes, learning interviewing techniques, and writing cover letters.

The new career services plan would also create a career services council that would oversee each of the school’s coordinators. The council would also develop policy, share information and facilitate collaboration among the career services professionals.

A number of institutions around the country have adopted similar career services models as the one proposed at Fort Lewis College, including Colorado College, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Iowa State University.

This new career services model, called a networked model, is similar to the College’s Council of Learning Support Programs, which oversees such FLC programs as Disability Services, the Native American Tutoring Program, the Program for Academic Advancement, and the Math and Writing Centers.

Job announcements for the three career services coordinators will be released sometime in June and the new career services program will be put into place for the fall 2011 semester. As this is a pilot program, the effectiveness of the program will be evaluated on an ongoing basis and changes will be made where needed.

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