Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Preparing, launching and sustaining graduates on trajectories of success

Prepare, Launch, and Sustain Graduates into Careers of Significance and Lives of Meaning

During the past decade we have witnessed an active public debate questioning the continuing relevance of a liberal arts education. At the same time, the pace at which knowledge changes has continued to accelerate, and the importance of knowing how to learn has grown in significance. There is also evidence to suggest that college graduates in their twenties change careers more frequently and are more likely to return to graduate study than was the case in the past. Finally, the modest pace of job creation subsequent to the economic recession means that competition for employment remains intense.

In order to more effectively position our graduates for successful careers, we recommend the adoption of four inter-related strategies. The strategies build upon work already undertaken across a variety of offices at Lycoming; however, the advantage of the approach outlined below is the ability for Lycoming to develop a coordinated model designed to encourage student participation in a four-year process of career planning and creative thinking about how a liberal arts education prepares them for life beyond Lycoming. As students move from their first-year seminar, to internship opportunities, to a career “boot camp” during their senior year, and ultimately to participation in a robust alumni network, Lycoming will support students as they define, refine, and then achieve career and life goals.

Strategy 1: Build a new model of career advising around clusters of academic departments and integrate student planning for careers into both the curriculum and academic advising across all academic disciplines

Tactic: Replicate the model for career advising used in the Institute for Management Studies and the Department of Criminal Justice-Criminology by creating four additional clusters of academic departments for the purposes of career advising.

The fully developed model envisions the hiring of a Career Adviser for five different clusters, one each in the Arts, the Humanities, the Physical Sciences, the Social Sciences and IMS.

Tactic: Staff each cluster with a Career Adviser

The primary responsibilities of Career Advisers will include working with faculty leading departmental practicums to match students with appropriate community internships; developing career training and skill develop programs for students; creating programming for graduate and professional school preparation; cultivating employment sites for graduates; disseminating information for seniors on job openings; and developing departmental connections with key alumni in the cluster fields.

Tactic: Construct office space for the career advising clusters in close physical proximity to the clustered academic departments.

Tactic: Connect the Career Advisers to the Center for Enhanced Academic Experiences.

Strategy 2: Strengthen the College’s capacity to support students competing for opportunities in graduate school, especially in professional programs such as medicine and law.

The College anticipates an increase in the number of graduating seniors and young alumni interested in attending graduate and professional school. In addition, prospective students with an interest in post-graduate study will often seek comparative information about advising resources that will be available as well as rates of admission. Accordingly, we plan over the next several years to strengthen our capacity to support students seeking admission to post-graduate programs of study.

Tactic: As demand rises for pre-professional advising, hire an administrator to provide advising for law school and medical school.

Tactic: Develop affiliations with professional schools and present “gateways” to prospective students considering professional degrees.

Despite negative trends in the economy, competition for admission to medical and law schools remains intense. Admission to professional schools can depend upon the admission office’s knowledge of the rigor and quality of academic programs at the institution attended by the applicant. In addition, prospective students planning to attend professional school and their families are often discerning consumers who want to see that the undergraduate college will provide a pathway to medical or law school. Therefore, it is important that we develop affiliations with professional schools that result in greater awareness of Lycoming as an institution that provides students with a strong preparation for professional school studies.

Strategy 3: Invest in a centralized integrated web-based resource that tracks outcomes, connects students and alumni, and serves as a centralized location for employers to post recruitment opportunities for students

Tactic: The College will purchase either Nacelink Symplicity or comparable software.

Strategy 4: Develop an active alumni network that advises and assists students as they transition from college to the world of work and as they navigate the years of early adulthood

Tactic: Establish a task force including administrators from Advancement and Alumni Relations, cluster faculty members, IMS and Career Services to develop an action plan that includes specific steps and timelines.

Tactic: Increase alumni involvement in college through mentoring, speaking engagements, workshops, and similar activities.

During fall 2014, Alumni Relations will identify three to five departments with an interest in establishing mentoring programs, hosting alumni speakers, and/or inviting alumni to conduct workshops.

Tactic: Create alumni networks around specific professions such as finance, human resources, law, medicine, the arts, education, and the environment.

Tactic: Establish a position that supports alumni seeking to make career transitions.