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Career Day Highlights Success, New Name for Career & Professional Development

Office currently enjoying one of institution’s highest ever first destination rates at 92 percent

career day 2014-104Hundreds of people invaded Neely Dining Hall Wednesday, all dressed in their professional best, as representatives from more than 75 area companies came to campus to recruit Belmont students and alumni for job and internship opportunities.

The event represents just one of the numerous gatherings held year-round involving Belmont’s Office of Career & Professional Development. From organizing participation in large-scale community job fairs to meeting one-on-one with current students and graduates seeking professional career coaching, the Career Development staff plays a critical role in Belmont’s efforts to promote the best possible outcomes for students’ education.

Patricia Jacobs, director of the Office of Career & Professional Development, said, “We have an amazing Career Development staff who are focused on being student-centered, helping our students and alumni find their passions as well as where those passions intersect with the world’s needs. Everyone is focused on positive outcomes for our graduates, and we’re partnering with areas across campus on this important work.”

Until recently, the Office of Career & Professional Development was known as the Office of Career Services, but the change in name was made to better reflect the mission of Belmont University and the purpose of the office. The timing of the new nomenclature comes when Belmont is enjoying one of its highest First Destination Rates ever, 92 percent, a figure that represents the percentage of graduates who secured full-time employment, enrolled in graduate school or enlisted in military service within six months of graduation.

Working with the Office of Assessment and Institutional Research, the Career Development team is responsible for collecting, maintaining and reporting the first destination data. The Career Development team, along with liaisons from each college, makes every effort to contact or obtain information on each graduate, with the most recently completed effort resulting in a 94 percent collection rate.

The Office of Career & Professional Development uses a holistic model which includes career, co-curricular and spiritual elements. The staff specializes in majors and industries based on career clusters with different staff members working directly with specific colleges across campus, an effort that allows them to tailor their services to students and graduates as well as connect with employers in related fields. And the office’s functions span a wide range of activities as they encourage career exploration, develop educational and professional partnerships and provide intentional career development programming.

“Our meetings with students and graduates are focused on ‘career coaching’ rather than personal counseling,” said Jacobs. “Belmont as a whole does a very good job helping students discern their fit, develop their identity and define their purpose. From our admissions’ recruitment process to all of our robust curricular and co-curricular programming, I believe Belmont’s approach to higher education truly does empower students to engage and transform the world. It’s exciting to see our first destination data back up and affirms all of our collaborative outcome efforts across campus, but for me, the personal stories of students finding their futures here are what makes all of our work important.”

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