Developing Next Generation Career Services

Strategies for Increasing Alumni and Employer Engagement

Topics: Internships and Co-Op Programs, Career Services, Student Experience, Student Affairs, Student Employment, Experiential Learning

Terrain-Focused Networking Communities

Developing a Richer Space for Interactions

Wesleyan Creates New Opportunities for Community

Wesleyan University is developing terrain-focused networking communities as a strategy to create richer student and alumni interactions. These groups are designed to bring together people in a specific terrain, organizing by fi eld rather than by major or job title. As a result, these communities are designed to engage a broad range of people, enhancing the chances of getting relevant advice and forming business relationships.

Developing a Richer Space for Interactions

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Shifting from Sole Organizer to Key Resource

Career Services Becomes a Crossroads for Wesleyan Students and Alumni

Unlike in traditional alumni clubs or affi nity groups, alumni are the primary organizers of Wesleyan’s networking communities. When Digital Wesleyan was formed, career services partnered with institutional advancement and the President’s offi ce to organize the fi rst event and recruited several alumni to run the community. Afterward, the career office took a hands-off approach, providing some logistical support but
mainly letting alumni take the lead in terms of organizing events and shaping discussions.

 

Council interviewees suggested that Digital Wesleyan is part of a larger plan to make the career services office a crossroads for the university community, creating new forums where students and alumni connect around broad terrains.

Shifting from Sole Organizer to Key Resource

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"Success Stories Up and Down the Ladder"

Digital Wesleyan Provides New Ways for Alumni and Students to Connect

Overall, Wesleyan’s networking communities have been a success, with current students and alumni benefi ting from the interactions. Success stories include forming mentor relationships, securing internships, and finding venture capital funding. Once established, these communities require minimal time and resource investment from career services, which is attractive given current resource constraints.

The Council also recommends this practice because these communities can easily be tailored to an institution’s specifi c strengths and culture. For example, a school with a thriving arts community or a large presence in public service could focus communities on those terrains in order to broker richer interactions between students and alumni.

"Success Stories Up and Down the Ladder"

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Brokering Smarter Matches

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