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Dickinson College Launches Center for Advising, Internships & Lifelong Career Development

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New center draws together diverse areas of student and professional development

by Tony Moore

Dickinson recently launched its Center for Advising, Internships & Lifelong Career Development, which merges the Office of Academic Advising and Career Center to focus on career opportunities and outcomes for both students and graduates.

“A liberal-arts education provides the ideal foundation for successful, meaningful lives,” says President Margee Ensign. “And our new center will help our students make purposeful and authentic decisions about what paths interest them and what graduate and career opportunities they want to pursue. What’s more, the center will increase our support for our alumni community as their careers and interests change throughout their professional lives.”

Under the center’s aegis, Dickinson faculty and staff begin interacting with students before they even move to campus, with summer advising sessions. These phone and Skype calls allow students to discuss and parse their academic goals and select their first semester classes. Then, across students’ four years at Dickinson, the center is also critical in providing students with support in the search for and completion of internships, externships and research and volunteer opportunities. At the same time, center staff will increase the level of support related to academic advising available to faculty members, academic departments and campus colleagues, such as those in the Center for Global Study & Engagement.

“Students arrive at Dickinson with different levels of career awareness,” says Damon Yarnell, associate provost and director of the new center. “Some undertake their course of studies based purely on intellectual interests and without having given much thought to future outcomes; some arrive with clear ideas about their goals after graduation. Both are just fine with us! One of our goals is to empower students to identify and pursue their authentic priorities. The truth is that Dickinson students are exceptionally well prepared for life in the wider world, no matter what they choose to do next.”

Under the Division of Academic Affairs, the center will be instrumental in helping students understand the logic of Dickinson’s curriculum and define their academic paths. Center staff will arrange career-focused workshops, networking opportunities, alumni guest speakers, one-on-one consultations and more—all designed to equip students with the tools they need for success during and after their undergraduate experience.

“Dickinson promises a useful education, and we deliver,” says Yarnell, emphasizing that in the coming months, people can expect to see an increase in the programming Dickinson offers to both current students and alumni—and ideally programming in which both groups participate. “By the time students graduate, we want them to recognize just how useful their educations can be, whether they decide to attend graduate school, enter the workforce or do something else. This goal extends to our alumni, many of whom consult with our staff when they consider changing career paths. Thanks to Dickinson’s rigorous academic program and rich cocurricular offerings, with a bit of planning and preparation, Dickinsonians can do just about anything. Our alumni prove this every day, and our current students are eager to learn from them.”

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Published October 4, 2018