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Major Project Two:

Student Services Program Proposal
Career Services Center
Pamela Galovich
Northern Arizona University

Student Services Program Proposal:

Career Services Center
Population Served:
 Current students

 Recent graduates

 College alumni

 Employers

Identified Need:
The College’s Career Center was closed several years ago as a cost-savings measure.

Reductions in state financial support for Arizona’s community colleges necessitated cutting

several important services and staff to balance the budget. Recent interest in restoring the

program began after determining the services it provides plays an important role in attaining the

college’s 2016 – 2020 Strategic Vision. “Higher education promises and society demands

successful, productive career outcomes for students” (Contomanolis, Cruzvergara, Dey &

Steinfield, 2015,para.3). Exploring career opportunities, planning, guidance, internships, and

career networking - an innovative career center provides the resources, services, and tools to

connect students to their professional goals, making their career aspirations a reality.

Issues in Career Services Programs:

The landscape of higher education is changing rapidly and disruptively, initiating acute

changes in ways colleges do business. A competitive market, political pressures, financial

restraints, and a diverse student population are the momentum behind a paradigm shift in career

service operations. According to Dey and Cruzvergara’s, 2014 article “Evolution of Career

Services in Higher Education”, today’s operating environment is driven by the following forces:

 Unpredictable, long-term economic conditions, a global economy, and rapidly evolving

work force needs and requirements

 Increases in the cost of higher education, declining state and federal support, and a

student debt crises

 A rising public and political demand for greater accountability

 New technologies that drastically change education delivery models

 A diverse student population

 Questioned value of a college degree and its career outcomes

Trends in Career Services:

Now more than ever, higher education institutions must think strategically about the

future of their institutions. Higher operating costs, declines in public funding, demand for better

services, and the need for accountability are just a few of the many challenges. Career services

departments that help institutions meet these challenges, do so because of “institutional

leadership that realizes the importance of the work and supports it through strong commitments

of resources, prioritized attention, and encouragement” (Steinfeld, Dey, Cruzvergara, and

Contomanolis, 2015, para. 4).

Staffing: The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) created a set of

standards to “facilitate excellence in the creation maintenance, and delivery of programs and

services” (2016, p. 3). One of those standards states it is critically important career services

programs be staffed with an adequate number of qualified professional and support staff to

“advance the mission of the institution, as well as support academic and experiential learning

programs to promote student learning and development”(p. 5). A center’s primary concern is to

build the necessary connections and networks with faculty, alumni, employers, and professional

organizations to promote student opportunity and success. Suggested core competencies for

career services professionals include: marketing, promoting and outreach; program and event

planning; research, assessment, and evaluation; teaching, training and education (p. 21-22).

Collaboration: It is imperative the institution’s leadership articulate to all stakeholders

that it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure students transition from college into successful

careers. Partnership building and collaboration is strongly encouraged with academic

departments, college leadership, alumni, admissions, in addition to institutional assessment

departments. For example, if elements of an academic program include job market preparation,

or connecting students with internship or job opportunities, this is an ideal opportunity for

departments to collaborate and support each other’s efforts (Steinfeld, Dey, Cruzvergara, and

Contomanolis, 2015).

New Technologies: The more successful career centers are the ones that take advantage

of new social media platforms to meet students and stakeholders in their “space”. CollegeFeed is

one such platform that helps students create early-career profiles, find tuition help, job

opportunities, provides interview-preparation tools, and connects to alumni, mentors and

employers. Others include MindSumo, AfterCollege, and Yello. The emerging platforms and

search engines complement the “connectivity efforts of career services, extending the

department’s reach beyond traditional enterprise systems that manage schedules, on-campus

recruiting, and career fairs efforts” (Steinfeld, Dey, Cruzvergara, and Contomanolis, 2015, para.

27). New systems also provide analytic functions, important for assessments and to retrieve

accountability metrics.

Services Provided:
Garis in his 2014 article Value-Added Career Services argues career centers should be

“recognized and respected by their institutions as the leader in creating college/university-wide

career programs and systems” (p. 19). The current environment at the College is decentralized

with academic advising offering career coaching development and assessment, while academic

programs provide instruction in resume writing, interview skills, and connects students to

internship opportunities. The Career Center’s objective is to play a key role once again in

providing career-related services, in close partnership with the other College departments.

Depending upon institutional funding and staffing provisions, the proposed Center plans

to provide the following services:

 Career exploration, assessment, development, and planning

 Individual career counseling by appointment (including virtual)

 Intake or drop-in advising or counseling

 Resume writing, cover letter, and interview workshops

 Career fairs jointly sponsored with college and academic departments

 Internship opportunities

 Student employment portal on Career Center’s Web Portal

Department’s Mission Statement:

Career Center’s mission is to guide, provide, and equip students with the necessary

career development tools, knowledge, and skills needed to improve their career marketability and

competitiveness to be successful in the 21st century workplace.


Learning Outcomes:
Career Exploring and Planning
 Students will identify their personal skills, interests and values as they relate to exploring

career options.

 Students will develop the skills needed to find the necessary occupational and labor

market information to assist in their career planning process.

 Students will identify the academic preparation needed to attain the careers they are


 Students will consider experiential learning opportunities (volunteering, internships, job

shadowing) in their career decision making process.

Job Search Skills and Strategies

 Students will develop a targeted resume using the correct resume format.

 Students will develop a targeted cover letter.

 Students will gain competency in delivering an effective introduction to an employer.

 Students will identify their achievements, accomplishments, knowledge and skills in

order to effectively market themselves for employment.

 Students will know how to prepare for an interview, and minimize the anxiety associated

with the interview process.

 Students will learn the most effective strategies for finding the job they want and be able

to develop a job search plan

Assessment Methods:
According to NACE’s 2016 Professional Standards, systematic and regular program

assessments must be conducted to “improve programs and services, adjust to changing client

needs, and respond to environmental threats and opportunities” (p. 36). Career services

departments are also asked to articulate the “value” of the services they provide by assessing

student learning outcomes. Outcomes assessment involves gathering quantitative and/or

qualitative information that demonstrates the effectiveness of the department’s career

interventions and the degree to which these services complement and enhance the institution’s

stated mission, goals, and objectives (p. 5).

In “Framing Assessment for Career Services: Telling Our Story” (2014), Makela and

Rooney claim there are several common assessment types in career services. Each contributes

unique and valuable information, needed to assess a department’s full-range of services (p. 70).

Needs assessments determine the kinds of programs, services, and resources offered by

centers that successfully help students achieve their career goals. Results are used to revise and

improve programs and services, and guide program development. Examples include regular

feedback from participants; review of the strategic plan, mission, and human resource needs; and

first destination surveys from alumni (NACE, 2016).

Participation assessments determine which students are currently using career center

services. Participants are distinguished by demographic data such as age, gender, race, ethnicity

and education levels. Interpretation of results helps determine which students are using the

services, those that do not, and discover new ways to reach them. Examples are quantitative

evaluation via user data for programs and services; study needs-based surveys; and student

feedback surveys (NACE, 2016).

Satisfaction Assessments explores participants’ perceptions of program content quality

and delivery. Data interpretation drives program revisions and guides future development. An

example is program-specific qualitative assessment via student satisfaction and feedback surveys

(NACE, 2016).


Contomanolis, E., Cruzergara, C. Dey, F. & Steinfield, T. (2015) Future of career services is

now. NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers). Retrieved from



Dey, F. & Cruzvergara, C. Y. (2014). Evolution of career services in higher education. New

Directions for Student Services, 2014 (148), 5-18. doi: 10.1002/ss.20105

Dey, F. & Cruzvergara, C.Y. (2014). Ten future trends in college career services. LinkedIn Pulse.

Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140715120812-11822737-10-future-


Garis, J. (2014). Value-added career services: Creating college/university-wide systems. New

Directions for Student Services, 2014 (148), 19-34. doi: 10.1002/ss.20106

Makela, J.P. & Rooney, G.S. (2014). Framing assessment for career services: Telling our story.

New Directions for Student Services, 2014 (148), 65-80. doi: 10.1002/ss.20109

NACE. (2016). National Association of Colleges and Employers Professional Standards for

College and University Career Services 2016. Retrieved from