Faculty members meet for student “post-CNU transition” workshop

Several faculty members met on Tuesday afternoon at an “Outbound Success” workshop to discuss how to improve the ways in which CNU undergraduate students can transition to post-graduate careers and how to collaborate with the career center to ensure student success after graduation.

Among the attendees were Interim Provost David Doughty; Vice Provost Laura Deiulio; Dr. Kent Cueman, professor of physics; Dr. Roberta Rosenberg, professor of English; Dr. Diane Catanzaro, professor of psychology; Dr. Jeanne Nailor, professor of mathematics; and Libby Westley, Director of the Center for Career Planning. The workshop’s intention was to brainstorm ways to inform students on the possibilities of finding a career upon graduation.

Doughty, concerned over the increased competition to get jobs at lower salaries and the rising cost of Virginia’s public colleges, which leads to a larger debt load, said these factors are “pressing in on us as university educators,” forcing them to reevaluate the methods in which students face the “post-CNU transition.”

Faculty members expressed difficulty in getting their students to attend certain lecture series and presentations held by alumni. They all agreed that using alumni as a resource is a valuable tool, as students are able to hear from recent graduates who are now working in their chosen field.

Gatherings such as Pizza My Mind, created by Doughty and Cueman seven years ago, bring businesses from the Hampton Roads area to meet students every week in small sessions. “The basic concept is if you’re an employer, we’ll bring you in, you buy the pizza and we will provide you a one on one audience,” said Cueman. There has been an increase in attendance from both the students and the companies in the last seven years, and Cueman has seen relationships form at the Pizza My Mind sessions.

Other faculty members proposed promoting internships, service learning classes and job placements to attract students to the idea of pursuing careers before graduation.

Westley urged faculty members to collaborate with the Center for Career Planning in their endeavors towards helping students find jobs by inviting staff of the center into classrooms to talk about marketing and career planning, by sending students to the center’s website and by informing the center of any alumni that they have invited into the classroom.

“You get jobs by talking to people” is the center’s new tagline. “If we could engrain this in every students’ mind from the time they get here, then that would be the secret of their career management success for their entire lives,” said Westley.

Westley encouraged faculty members to have students attend the spring career fair, which will be held Jan. 30, 2014.