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Sunday, September 24, 2023


UCS says it’s ready for CLASS students

The University Career Services staff is ready to help graduating students with their career counseling needs after the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Career Center closes Friday, a university official said.

"There are a wealth of resources available to liberal arts students," Vice President for Student Services David Small said. "There always has been at UCS. In fact, CLASS students are among the heaviest users of our services."

More than 13,000 students are registered with the service, about 20 percent of which are CLASS students, Small said. While some CLASS students have already used UCS tools, Small said he wants to increase awareness about the service.

"We want to reach out to those students, make them aware of what’s available, such as licensed counselors, vocational assessments, and neither of these was available at the old center," Small said.

Job postings, campus recruitment, internships and workshop information are also available at UCS.

Cornelius Johnson, program manager of the CLASS Career Center, sent an e-mail to students on Jan. 17 to inform them of the center’s closing. CLASS Dean John Antel cited low resources and problems with PeopleSoft 8.9, particularly during advising, among the list of reasons why the center was forced to shut down.

Antel was unavailable for comment.

"Part of the reason is also the increased workload for advisors," Antel said in a Jan. 27 e-mail. "Because of the implementation of PeopleSoft, which demands more advising time for now, and the increased assignment of advisors to recruiting and orientation, we are over-working our advisors.†This hurts our students who deserve high-quality advising."

Sandra Frieden, the executive director of Organizational Change Management, who oversaw the implementation of PeopleSoft, said that though staff and faculty were given adequate training on the software, the program will take users some getting used to before they can easily navigate it.

"It’s not anything abnormal; it’s just that it’s new software," Frieden said. "We’ve been working with the advisors and meeting with them since a year or two before PeopleSoft went live, and everybody has to slow down a bit because it’s new software."

Small said CLASS students will be able to find the same services and more at UCS.

"We do 300 workshops a year," Small said. "We have over 350 companies coming to the center to interview students."

UCS also works to make career counseling easy and accessible to busy students by offering services online, Small said. He said that a downside for CLASS students would be an inconvenient location.

"It’s convenient to have a career center where you go to class," Small said. "On the other hand, with a large organization such as ours, we can do things that a smaller organization can’t, and that includes bringing in more employers because we interact with more employers."

CLASS students will be able to meet such employers at UCS’ first non-traditional job fair this spring, Small said. The fair will focus on jobs related to arts and entertainment.

Employee seminars are also available and are "specifically tailored to liberal arts students," Small said.

"We bring in employers who have liberal arts degrees and talk about their career paths," he said.

Though UCS is a program for all majors, career counselor Nancy Wilson said that CLASS students will receive the same quality and individualized service that the career center provided.

"We really treat each student as an individual," Wilson said. "It’s not just a line where we get them through. We have more counselors here than they may have had at the CLASS Career Center. Yeah, we are able to see more students, but we still strongly believe in establishing a relationship with those students and making sure that their specific needs are being addressed."

Wilson is one of UCS’ six career counselors available to assist students. The CLASS Career Center had two counselors. Since arriving at the center in 2002, Wilson has specialized in assisting CLASS students.

"I think there can be the idea that because we’re University Career Services maybe we don’t really understand the CLASS students, but I would say that’s a false impression," Wilson said.

Ninety percent of the UCS’ funding is derived from student service fees, Small said. Costs to run the center, including salaries, total to about $900,000 annually.

The amount of students using UCS, plus the extensive resources it provides, add up solely for the benefit of students, Small said.

"Eighty-eight percent of universities and colleges have centralized career services for undergraduates," he said. "I think they realize it’s more cost effective, and it provides superior service to students."

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