The Wheaton College Center for Vocation and Career, led by newly appointed director Dee Pierce, plans to add three new staff members and expand the programs and internship resources it offers to students as the 2016-2017 academic year progresses.
The CVC’s current staff consists of eight individuals, three of whom are part time. Pierce hopes to add three additional full-time staff members, including an associate director for connections and opportunities, an associate director for coaching and one career coach.
Two student ambassadors, Don Gates and Brielle Lisa, will begin to make presentations in residence halls, in Lower Beamer and in club and organization meetings to introduce students to the CVC. Eventually, the team of CVC coaches will be assigned to various academic departments to partner with students by holding presentations in the academic building they are assigned.
The CVC is also expanding existing programs for this year, adding eight Taco Tuesdays, a series focused on career exploration, to last year’s four and doubling the Life After Wheaton series for seniors to six.
The series of programs for sophomores, “Canvas: Framing Your Vocation and Career,” got off to a successful start at the opening night event held on Tuesday, Sept. 13. Pierce reported that 224 students attended, compared to 148 last year. Sophomore Sneha Mathai thought Canvas was a “really great event to network with my fellow classmates.” Pierce hopes that this pattern continues at future events and that sophomores will reach out to the CVC for additional career and vocation tools.
Pierce emphasized that the vision of the CVC is “to serve every student.” In order to achieve this goal, the CVC intends to implement a two strategy plan. She recognizes that every student will not walk through the doors of the CVC to access the resources. To address this issue, the first part of the strategy will seek to branch out from the second floor of the bookstore to reach the entire campus.
The second part of the plan involves alumni. Pierce aspires to supplement the new coaching staff with alumni resources in order to meet the needs of more students. The alumni process may not come to full fruition until next academic year as the CVC develops the platforms for interaction between alumni and students.
The CVC also highlighted its commitment “to creating an internship culture on campus.” The national average for students having internships is 68 percent, and Wheaton College barely surpasses that at 70 percent. They are forming an internship task force to determine how CVC can increase this number.
This spring, the CVC will be preparing interns with advice and facilitating questions before the internships begin in the summer. The CVC also created six internships within their own office. One of the interns, sophomore James Sorensen, has worked closely with the CVC team for the last two years but thought the internship is providing him with “a new level of growth.”
The CVC hopes to create a process to provide stipends for students who are doing unpaid internships so that money would not prevent students from interning somewhere.