More than 40 percent of students have not used resources or services provided by the Career Development Center this semester, according to a Herald poll conducted last month. These numbers come despite recent changes to strengthen its advising process.
Of the students polled, 41.9 percent said they had not made use of any CDC resources, including drop-in hours, events and online services.
Thirty-eight percent said they used the center's resources once or twice.
In response to a review conducted last spring to evaluate its advising process, the CDC implemented a number of changes, including restructuring the advising process, expanding Brown Degree Days, creating blogs and emphasizing alumni relations.
The initial review was spurred by a recommendation by the Task Force on Undergraduate Education, according to Associate Dean of the College and Director of the Swearer Center for Public Service Roger Nozaki MAT'89, who is the CDC's acting director. The "in-depth review" focused on how to "strengthen and deepen resources" in order to help students figure out plans for life after they graduate, Nozaki said.
One-eighth of students — 12.5 percent — said they used CDC resources three or four times this semester, while only 4.2 percent said they used the center five or six times, and 2.2 percent used the center's services seven or more times.
As part of the changes following last year's review, the center now employs four career advisers. Each adviser focuses on specific industries and concentrations and provides guidance in those areas. According to Nozaki, these advisers are "charged with incorporating outreach to employers and alums, building networks in those fields and increasing the depth of knowledge in those fields."
Interviewed students seemed to find that meeting with counselors was not very helpful, but that the Web site presented useful information as did information sessions.
Nozaki mentioned that new emphasis is being placed on developing collaborative programs with other groups and departments on campus and "building on existing resources and tapping them for support." He said it is especially important to utilize existing resources because of the University's current budget constraints.
An example of the recent push for collaboration is the expansion of Brown Degree Days, a project that launched last spring. Departments organize their own events that bring back alumni concentrators to speak about career paths. The events "seem to have been very well-received by students and departments," Nozaki said, and the center's staff is "excited about doing them."
Blogs are also another aspect of the center's new approach. The Scoop, a collection of six blogs, focuses on specific career interests, including the arts, business, government, law and policy.
Lise Rahdert '10 said she and five other peer career advisers, who work with the career advisers, are almost exclusively responsible for maintaining and updating the blogs. The peer career advisers do "most of the posting" and "a ton of research," she said. "Because it's so new, we're trying to get the word out there," she said, adding that she has "seen people starting to use it more for jobs and advice."
The center has also instituted other, smaller changes. There are now groups of alumni on LinkedIn organized by employment field to facilitate connections between students and alumni. The center has also begun offering events for networking, during which alumni speak with concentrators of a given department.
"We are trying to develop a dedicated set of resources for students," Nozaki said.
The Herald poll was conducted on March 22 and 23 and has a 3.5 percent margin of error with 95 percent confidence. A total of 714 Brown undergraduates completed the poll, which The Herald administered as a written questionnaire to students in the lobby of J. Walter Wilson during the day and in the Sciences Library at night.