OCC joins Alumni Relations in Mears House

The Office of Career Counseling, previously located in Weston, joined the Office of Alumni Relations in Mears House on Friday.The move was largely organized by John Noble, director of career counseling, and took roughly one week to complete. The move had been in the works since 2007 and was pending administrative approval from President Falk and Vice President of Campus Relations John Malcom until this past year. In conjunction with the move, the Office of Career Counseling changed its name to reflect a redefined mission and structure; the office will now be called the Career Center. Under the new umbrella entity entitled the Office of College Relations there will now be three separate offices: Alumni Relations, Development and the Career Center.

Renovations to Mears House and Mears West, now to be used primarily for interviews, also preceded the Career Center’s relocation. The Career Center used the move as an opportunity to not only change its location but also to redefine its mission, making a concerted effort to interact more closely with the Alumni Relations team, which was already situated in Mears House.

The Career Center is designed not only to be a on-site resource for students, but also to  foster connections with alumni. Because so many of the programs, internships and jobs that students at the College participate in are connected to alumni, Malcolm initially suggested the move to Weston in the interest of placing Career Center and Alumni Relations and Development staff members side-by-side in order to facilitate cohesive teamwork. The offices have a history of cooperation: The Career Center sponsors many brunches and events featuring alumni guest presenters.

“The biggest reason [for the move] has to do with our relationship with Alumni Relations because we do so much with our own alumni – programs, internships, job interviews and so forth – that a closer relationship with them seemed logical,” Noble said.

One alumna recently hired to work in the newly-redesigned Career Center, Michelle Shaw ’95, serves as a perfect example of the unity between the Career Center and Alumni Relations.

Shaw will serve as a counselor for law-related professions, namely in the non-profit sector, public service and environmental law.

She is scheduled to begin her service at the end of this month.

Another change set to take place in the near future is the launch of a new program called the Career Discovery Program, which is aimed at making the Career Center easily accessible to students of all class years by taking a more proactive approach to career counseling.

The program will take advantage of the office’s move closer to the center of campus and will attempt to get students more engaged in the general life counseling that the new Career Center will offer with respect to job fields and opportunities.

“We want to try to reach out and get students in here to do self-assessment and interest and career testing. Tying that in more closely, we want to clearly plant the idea that we do more than consulting,” Noble said.

The Career Discovery Program will be spearheaded by a future hire, with the hiring process targeted for completion by the end of spring break. The program itself is likely to begin in the fall of 2012.

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