For the last year and half Career Services has not been fully staffed. Although director Twyla Hough managed to successfully advise students, five more positions have been added. There are now two assistant directors, two more career advisors and an associate director.
“We had an external audit that gave some feedback about the staffing level and the level of demand from students and how we needed to get more support to be able to meet the demands of the students,” Hough said.
Students previously complained Career Services was too focused on business majors. Now there are enough advisors for students to see someone who specializes in their field.
“There’s a lot we can do for other majors, such as help with portfolios and things that they might not even realize we can help with,” said Katie Ramirez, assistant director of career services. “My speciality area is arts and humanities. I’ve done career counseling for all majors, but I’m really starting to focus on arts and humanities.”
In addition to a separate advisor for the arts and humanities, natural science and social science majors will also have their own advisor, Melanie Coulson.
“I am tremendously excited to be here,” Coulson said. “The people that I’ve met here so far are really committed to Trinity University students and really wanting to help make sure that students have the tools and resources to find the job of their dreams.”
There are also separate advisors for the communication, human communication and political science majors (Laura Short), engineering and computer science majors (John Birch) and the school of business (Ashley McTaggart).
“Instead of one advisor seeing all of the different students and switching hats from an engineering to a theater to an English to a psychology major, we have someone who will focus exclusively with arts and humanities and someone else who will do the sciences; someone else who will do engineering and computer science. Then another person who will do the school of business,” Hough said.
These new members of the Trinity University staff were carefully selected by Hough and a committee of alumni, students and a parent.
“Our committee was sort of unique in that it involved alumni. A lot of times search committees are usually just internal, but we wanted a lot of alumni, because alumni were part of”¦the constituents that we serve,” Hough said. “We also included a parent which is pretty unique for a search committee.”
Each interview lasted an entire day so that prospective employees could not only interview with Hough but also learn what students and alumni wanted in the future from Career Services.
“It’s a great opportunity, because you really get a feel not just for the office you would work in but the culture here at the university,” Ramirez said. “I found it very reflective of the collaborative nature of the campus.”
To Coulson, the prospect of finding the best soultion for each student, and helping them tailor an idea about their future. “By far the best part was being able to meet with the students and kind of pick their brains and find out what they’re looking for in a career advisor and what their needs are,” Coulson said.
Although the interview process was longer than those at other universities, each member of the committee was able to get to know the applicants and bring their unique perspectives to the selection process.
“I think that one of the best parts of this process was the diversity of backgrounds represented on the search committee, because it was very interesting to hear the perspective of the faculty and the students and the parents/alumni,” Hough said. “That also gave us the opportunity to hear from the students: to hear what they would be looking for from someone in this office.”