The former Career Development Office (CDO) is now in its new form as the Center for Career & Professional Advising (CCPA), and the changes go far beyond a mere name swap. The shift, which has been in the making for almost three years, is part of a larger push by liberal arts colleges to stay relevant.
“We want to be advising them in all areas, and not waiting to give career and professional advice until some later point in their college career,” said Dean of the College Martha Denney, who said that the old office was “not responsive to the student body.”
Kelly Cleary, the center’s new Dean for Career and Professional Advising, says the office has made several central changes to make the entire office more responsive to the needs of students.
“The CCPA’s mission is to encourage students to be more intentional about their career exploration and professional development,” said Cleary, “and to help them identify and articulate their strengths, abilities and professional ambitions [and] develop excellent resumes, cover letters, interview skills and other tools.”
First among these changes is the completely new deanship filled by Cleary, a former career counselor at the University of Iowa, athletic advisor at George Washington University, and most recently, a senior associate director at the career center at the University of Pennsylvania.
Unlike Director of Career Services Amy Feifer, deans advise individual students, which means that they learn more about the specific needs of students and get to give students advice in one-on-one sessions. In addition to a regular dean portfolio (she is dean for students with last names T-Z), Cleary meets with students individually to talk about their career goals and will host career-related workshops throughout the year, including upcoming sessions on interview skills, applying to graduate school, and working abroad.
Cleary hopes her interactions with students will help the Center “[enhance] and [develop] programs and resources that will help students more easily make connections between their experiences at Haverford and their professional lives after they graduate.”
In what is an equally significant change, the CCPA, unlike its predecessor, is a uniquely Haverfordian entity. Previously, CDO staff would commute back and forth between the Bi-Co, and it was uncommon to see any particular project directed entirely towards one campus or another. Now CCPA staff can personalize events and outreach to work with Haverford’s specific culture and student body. Despite the split, all of the old BiCo and TriCo resources remain available to Haverford students.
“Because we are on Haverford’s campus every day rather than commuting between campuses, we are spending more time getting to know Haverford students– their needs, hopes, worries, and career aspirations,” said Cleary.