A Trifecta for the Center for Career Education & Advising
A decision by Becker College to integrate career education and advising is garnering accolades from the academic community. The praise comes in the form of invitations for the Center of Career Education & Advising (CCEA) to present at three professional conferences this year. According to Executive Director Rich Davino, the organizations are interested in learning about the decision to merge the two departments, and its impact.
“In the traditional model you spend a certain amount of time with your academic adviser navigating classes and separately you may, or may not ever, find or take advantage of the resources at a Career Services office. It becomes very disjointed.” Davino said. “At Becker, we are fully integrated in one office.”
Davino said that about 20 percent of the schools in the nation have adopted some form of integrated advising and career education model. At Becker that integrated approach means that, from the day they start, students are encouraged to view their time in college as a step towards life after college. And the CCEA is there to help them navigate that path.
“If they can engage the academic pattern of a given major, and integrate what comes after college, then it helps set up a lot of things,” Davino said. “It helps to make sense of the academics, the reason for pursuing a particular major. Students can start to see what they can possibly do with that major. And they are set up with direct access to the resources of the career components.
By working with students throughout their time at Becker, the CCEA team can help keep students on track for success by working with them on issues ranging from what to major in to where to intern.
The integrated model was implemented at Becker two years ago, and the College is already seeing positive results from the change. Retention has gone up in the past year and a half. In addition, placing the planning and details in the hands of full-time administrators has allowed faculty, who had formerly been academic advisors, to take on more of a mentor and advice giver role.
“It’s working on a number of levels,” Davino said. “We are developing good relationships with students. And with this more personalized approach, we can see a much greater landscape. I can talk to students about classes, internships, whether they might want to study abroad, and career options. These are things that can happen in the same conversation.”
A CCEA advisor can help students determine whether they should apply for a particular internship or undertake a certain research project. For example, they can help a student, who knows they want to work for a nonprofit, determine if doing a series of service learning trips will help them get to their end goal.
“We become focused experts with college curriculum and the corresponding career pursuits,” Davino said. “We develop employer connections. We help keep students on track and understanding the track they are on.”
Davino said that while the change has only been in effect for two years, the department is already getting positive feedback from students.
“We are having some really good, honest conversations, and we have some really appreciative students,” he said. “We know that our outreach does have an impact on students.”
This year, CCEA has been invited to share their success story with three organizations. Associate Director Dan Chapman joined Rich Davino in the presentation at the NACADA (National Academic Advising Association) Region I conference in Springfield, MA, in March. In early June, they will go to New Orleans for the NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) conference. And at the end of June, Davino will be speaking solo at the NCDA (National Career Development Association) conference in Phoenix.
“The fact that all three of these organizations have embraced this topic means that there is a need and interest in more schools—college and universities—being exposed and learning about this model,” Davino said.
Davino said that he was pleased to be invited to speak at all three events.
“It’s such a great opportunity to be able to present at three professional conferences,” he said. “I do believe this is a better model. I believe that students will have a better experience as it relates to better career opportunity. Plus it gives Becker exposure. People will know who Becker is. It’s an opportunity to show that great things are happening at small schools.”