The Chronicle of Higher Education recently spotlighted Career Education at Wellesley as a model approach to “reinventing the career center.” Wellesley was one of only three institutions whose approaches the Chronicle featured. The article also emphasized the vision of Christine Cruzvergara, Wellesley’s associate provost and executive director for Career Education, pointing to her impact on the field of career services as the co-author of an “influential” manifesto posted to LinkedIn in 2014, “10 Future Trends in College Career Services.”
The Chronicle examined the innovative ways Wellesley’s career education model is responding to what Cruzvergara sees as a shift toward individualized guidance for students’ unique career paths. During their first semester at Wellesley, students are assigned a college career mentor, and later they put together a personal advisory board made up of professors, alumnae in their fields, and others.
Wellesley is also planning to use technology to connect students more effectively with the right opportunities and mentors, said the Chronicle. This will include a new service called CampusTap, which helps students connect with mentors and keep up with their personal advisory boards. Students can also take advantage of Handshake, a career management system; about 60 percent of Wellesley students have used it.
“Since rolling out the first phase of our changes in September, we have been heavily focused on serving our students and developing strategies for broadening our employer outreach across all industries,” said Cruzvergara in an email. Their work is paying dividends. Consider these numbers: Student appointments increased threefold between fall 2015 and fall 2016. “We saw more students in just the first month of our launch than we did all of fall semester last year,” Cruzvergara said. What’s more, there was a 242 percent increase in job and internship opportunities posted within the Career Education system from October 2015 to October 2016. Perhaps most impressive, student satisfaction with the career education service has risen to a near-perfect 99.1 percent.
For Cruzvergara, these are just the first steps. As she and her team continue to “evolve and tailor our approach to meet the unique needs of Wellesley women,” she said, they will focus on helping students “begin the process of self discovery, negotiate strategies to achieve their goals, and navigate transitions and pivots along their career journey.” One goal will be “to broaden our reach over the next year through an extensive review of our Community Engagement program,” helping Wellesley students better “make a difference in their communities and in the world.”
Cruzvergara is enthusiastic about the future of career education at Wellesley: “Leaders come in many forms, and what I see at Wellesley is the next generation of leaders.”
Christine Roberts ’19 contributed to this story.