As we discussed last week, career services departments on college and university campuses across the country are looking for tangible ways to connect with current students to help them develop academically and also maintain a connection as they become alumni in the workforce. For most, it starts with rebranding the overall image of career services. Today, we’ll look at how Stanford University approached this task.
New Outlook, New Name
Like Miami University (Ohio), Stanford’s rebranding began with a name change. The former Career Development Center (CDC) was scrapped for a more forward-thinking identity: Bridging Education, Ambition, and Meaningful Work (BEAM).
According to Farouk Dey, dean of career education, the school wanted a simple, memorable, and positive acronym. Driven by its vision statement, students transform their education and ambitions into meaningful work over the course of their lifetime. Dey further elaborated by saying the act of eliminating the word ‘center’ allowed the emphasis to shift to a new institutional culture of career education that all stakeholders can connect with beyond the walls of a building. “The days of a ‘brick-and-mortar’ career services are over,” Dey said. “Our career educators are connected everywhere on and off campus to help expand and leverage the Stanford ecosystem for our students.”
In addition to focusing on helping students find connections, build a personalized network, and find meaningful work, the goal is also to be more accessible to students.
Making Meaningful Connections
Stanford touts itself as a place for learning, discovery, and innovation, so, it should come as no surprise that its students are looking for more than just a job when they graduate. They are looking to make a meaningful impact, which is why BEAM’s team of 34 career educators “educate, rather than place people in jobs” and work with both undergraduate and graduate students.
One of the major changes BEAM implemented was a new connections model. Using the website Handshake (formally Cardinal Careers), students can schedule an appointment with an advisor, find and upload job applications, register for career fairs, and create a profile for potential employers. Advisors then connect students with career exploration treks and fairs, alumni for mentorship, and employers for shadowing, internship, and job opportunities. The goal is that this approach will help students create a highly personalized network that will ultimately shape their professional journey.
Another advantage of this connections model is that it will make it easier for other members of the Stanford community (e.g., alumni, faculty, and employers) to find students and contribute to their professional development. The careers educators will also be proactive about reaching out to students instead of waiting for them to come to the center.