Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Viking Voices - Podcast: Lauren Hubacheck, Director of Career Services at Salem State University

In this edition of our conversations we inaugurate the Salem State Viking Voices podcast. This first episode features my talk with Lauren Hubacheck, Director of Career Services at Salem State University. 

By way of introduction Lauren has been the Director of Career Services at Salem State University since August of 2012. Prior to that she served as Associate Director of Employer Relations at Florida International University. 

Since coming to Salem State Lauren's goals have included establishing the vision and directing the priorities for the Career Services Office. She has helped to develop and maintain university partnerships with employers, coordinate an extensive career readiness program across campus for all students, and to collaborate with the Salem State Community to foster an environment of career development and learning that will enhance the career outcomes of our students and graduates. 

Lauren leads a team of Associate Directors, Assistant Directors, and Administrative Assistants in successfully delivering signature career development to Salem State University students and alumni.

Lauren and I talk about the many ways that the Career Services Office benefits students and our alumni community. Looking for your first job? Need help applying for graduate school? Making a mid-career change? Looking for great employees for your business? The Salem State Career Services Office will help. 

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I asked Lauren to talk about the Career Services Office and how alumni may take advantage. Lauren said that over the past several years the Career Services Office has evolved including, "Building out a whole side of our office that functions as an employer relations team." Lauren commented that the effort has resulted in increased engagement with alumni and employers and is a positive addition to Salem State's already great culture. "The Career Services Office exists to help students and alumni, while students are here on campus and after. We help as they are in the career development process and later transitions in careers," Lauren said.  

For example, first year students can get help with study discipline and study plan. There are processes of career development that benefit students across their time at Salem. These include: opportunities for internships and networking, résumé building, cover letter help, and other elements that relate to career development, job search strategy or graduate school search.

I asked Lauren to talk about about the ways that the Career Services Office engages with alumni. Lauren defined that, "We engage alumni in two ways: We think about those alumni who are in career transition, seeking employment or grad school, and those alumni who are out there in the world of work. We work with alumni who are looking to engage new employees through Salem State for their businesses." 

For Alumni seeking employment or career transition Career Services Online (cso) Offers:
  • an online job Posting Board;
  • the ability to build a profile which you can share with prospective employers;
  • Interview Stream, an online interview practice tool you can use from home using a computer and a web camera;
  • a Resource Library including –
    • Career-related Articles/Blogs,
    • Career Services Fact Book,
    • Career Services Handouts,
    • On-Campus Recruiting.
There are -
  • Career Advice Videos;
  • Job Search Tools;
  • Résumé Creator Tools;
  • Career Event Schedules;
  • Access to the Campus Career Coach; and
  • Other resources.
Lauren said that alumni can also come into the office, "Where a career coach will meet with you one on one and spend about 45 minutes detailing a plan."

For alums who are looking to hire or increase the talent pipeline for their companies the Career Services Office offers a number of ways to get involved. These include:
  • Programming in the academic classroom where faculty will request to have an alumni come into the classroom and speak on -
    • a career development topic, or
    • a career related to coursework;
  • Career panel series examples include -
    • Internship panel (students who are on internships and alum who have succeeded though an internship),
    • Career focus panels including recent panels on -
      • Sustainability,
      • Careers with animals,
      • Careers in the environment;
  • Alumni may host students at your company -
    • partnering clubs or organizations,
    • partnering with faculty to bring a class,
      • Tours,
      • Company overviews,
      • "What are you hiring for?"
I asked Lauren about opportunities for companies to visit campus. Lauren said, "We have increased the number of fairs we offer. We offer a student employment fair in the first week of school in September."  Lauren continued, "We hosted 59 companies with the focus of talking with students about internships and part time employment for students while on campus."

Along with the Bertolon School of Business Accounting Association and the Alpha Chapter on campus, "We offer a meet the firms nights," said Lauren. Now in its third year this event recently featured 19 companies who where looking for accounting and finance recruitment. This resulted in students who, "Right now have offers on the table for employment after graduation in the spring," said Lauren.

"We do a large comprehensive career fair in March," Lauren continued. "We cap at 139 companies recruiting at the event." Due to the success of the employer relations effort the event has grow to outstretch the capacity for the largest space available on campus 

Lauren noted that although the primary focus may be on entry level positions often companies have positions for more experienced individuals. "We move those opportunities over to the Salem State LinkedIn groups," said Lauren. 

Because there is such a heavy population of great individuals among Salem State alumni on LinkedIn the Career Services office becomes a conduit for career opportunities for students and alumni in all career phases. Lauren continued, "This can be for those alumni who are actively looking for a change and those perhaps who aren't looking but could be intrigued by a new opportunity that comes along." 

The Salem State LinkedIn groups include:
Lauren concluded our conversation by pointing out that alumni may not think about coming back to take advantage of Salem State University Career Services but should. Lauren stressed there are many reason why, "One is we are a free service to alums." Lauren said career services can assist alumni whether it is the resources mentioned above or by helping think through how their skills apply. "Their liberal arts education coupled with their experiences can transfer into a new industry or a new opportunity," said Lauren.  

Thanks for checking out this week's Viking Voices. I am looking forward to our next conversation.

You can join in the conversation by following this blog and checking out the many social media outlets available to our Salem State community. A short list of some of these venues are below.

Go Vikings!

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Viking Voices - Salem State Collaborative Project for Professional Development

In our ongoing series of conversations about how Salem State transcends our academic careers and continues to add value for our alumni lives we've talked about: Career Services Online, the Enterprise Center, the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center, the  School of Continuing and Professional Studies, and alumni participation in the Major / Minors Fair. This week I'd like to kick off discussions of particular interest to those alumni who are teachers. Regardless of where life has taken alumni as educators, other careers and in other life circumstances you will find that the Salem State Collaborative Project for Professional Development (CPPD) is an ongoing enterprise for which we can point back to Salem State with pride. 

The Collaborative Project was started by Salem State professor Frank Sullivan and several public school science department heads from the North Shore in 1983. The original focus was on professional development for teachers in math and sciences teaching kindergarten through grade 12. It was then called the Collaborative Project for Math, Science and Interdisciplinary Education (CPMSIE). 

Today the Collaborative Project is an alliance of member schools and school districts serving a student population of over 62,000. In the past ten years the project has grown in scope from a focus on math and sciences to encompass professional development for teachers in all curriculum areas.

Professor Sullivan was taught biology and education at Salem State College.  He had also spent teaching time in England and noticed that the UK elementary and secondary teachers were offered professional development throughout the year in science in math.  He sought to emulate the successful practice back home in Massachusetts. 

Today the Collaborative Project is led by Executive Director Jim Kearns (SSC Class of 73/74), who is a retired Math Department Head of Lynnfield High School. Kearns partners with Jim Terlizzi, who retired as the Science Department Head at Peabody High School and serves as Finance Coordinator for the project. 

As technology increasingly transforms education The Collaborative Project has kept pace. The Collaborative Project became the leading SmartBoard training organization on the North Shore. When iPads became a ubiquitous teaching tool, the Collaborative Project became a leading iPad training group for teachers on the North Shore. They now lead the way in the implementation of Google in the Classroom.

Although 95 percent of the Collaborative’s work is geared toward teacher professional development there are additional notable successes. One is organization of the annual Women in Science and Engineering (W.I.S.E.) Career Day. Coordinated for many years by Jim Terlizzi, Daryl Mazzaglia and Salem State professor Gwen Scottgale. According to The Connectory, "The W.I.S.E. Career day initiative specifically targets young women at an impressionable age and exposes them to today's technologically oriented careers in mathematics and science." 

The W.I.S.E. Program has expanded throughout the years to over 500 participants (girls in grade 6 through 8). The program has become so successful that a major challenge is now fitting all of the students into the limited spaces of the available venues. 

Over 20 professional women in the science and engineering fields present workshops to the girls. W.I.S.E. events have featured guest speakers including WBZ meteorologist Danielle Niles who has returned for several years of engaging presentations. This year's speakers included a computer analyst and field agent for the FBI who is a role model for the students combining Computer Sciences with Law Enforcement and showing how women can succeed in these traditionally male dominated fields.

Another highlight of the Collaborative Project is organization of Advanced Placement Practice Exams in Science (Biology and Chemistry) and Mathematics (Calculus and Statistics). These events take place over two successive Saturdays in March and April. Jim Kearns told me, "We average 500 students in math and 3-400 in science. By the time the teacher accompanying her students leaves for the day all their scores are tabulated and the teachers know what questions to concentrate on helping their student to prepare for the exams." Jim said that the results include that the grades go up on average of one point. 

On Mondays throughout 2015 the Collaborative Project will offer ten or more two-hour sharing workshops on technology in the classroom and Common Core. On Saturday mornings a new program of workshops is also taking place SEEM Collaborative Office in Stoneham, MA. Click here to see the current schedule of programs (some sessions have an online component).

Jim Kearns said, "We try to adapt to address the changing needs of the teachers. The program used to only run after school with an occasional school day during the school years. Now we teach on Saturdays and host 20 programs during the summer. We’ve become a full year program." Jim continued, "This year we will add a new initiative being coordinated with the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston to do training for the parochial students from about ten schools north of Boston and helping them out as best we can."

Jim perhaps is most proud of how lean the Collaborative Project runs. He said, "We’ve worked out the overhead very well. We pay our presenters well but keep all other costs down." Membership in the Collaborative Project is consistently over 50 public school systems, parochial and private schools. Operating at a budget of less than $50,000 and at a cost to the participants of about $5 per contact hour the Collaborative Project is a bargain for all involved. 

Jim said that a big part of the success of the project is the support provided by Salem State. The University provides office space and helps manage the organization's financial transactions with members and vendors.  

I hope you share the pride I feel about this program headed by one of our great alumni and facilitated by Salem State University. I hope that you will continue to participate in this conversation and watch for the next edition of Viking Voices.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Viking Voices - Major / Minors Fair

This week I had the chance to spend a couple of hours speaking with students and faculty during the Major / Minors Fair organized by the Salem State office of Career Services. The event took place in Veterans Memorial Hall (ECC 201) in the Ellison Campus Center. 

According to Angelique Torres Kim, Associate Director, Employer Relations of Career Services the event, "is designed to assist students who are choosing or rethinking their major as well as considering a minor." Alumni and employers were invited to join with faculty representatives and organizers of clubs and interest groups to engage and inform students. 

I my spent time at the Computer Sciences table with professor Beifang Yi and assistant professor Lakshmidevi Sreeramareddy.  I learned about the robust Computer Science Curriculum available to students and the many extracurricular opportunities to practice the skills learned.  The extracurricular programs include the SSU Programming Club, the Robotics Club, the Computer Science Laboratories and tutoring services. Also available to students is on-line academic advising. For alumni, adult and part-time learners the Computer Sciences Department offers Continuing Education both in a robust evening program and daytime opportunities on a “space available” basis.

As I previously blogged in My Salem State Story: What is Yours?, computer science studies at Salem were crucial to my early career success. I carried a minor along with my major in Business Administration. The computer sciences programming skills allowed me to move into a management positon when the need for a computer systems administrator became a day-to-day business requirement for my employer. That was a long time ago when computer sciences skills could be a niche specialty. 

Today we live in a code based world. Computers govern domains from financial services, to media, to healthcare and more. The degree to which computers affect our lives is increasing geometrically.

The Daily Mail recently asked, "Will your next boss be a robot?" Thinkers including futurist Ray Kurzweil talk about the concept of singularity; the day soon when computers surpass human intellect. Whether you are among the singularity optimists, a pessimist or a skeptic of concepts including singularity, it is a career hazard today to overlook the importance of computer literacy in the workplace. From the seasoned professional to those just starting out, computer sciences are a prerequisite to long-term career success. 

In addition to the coding skills I learned at Salem State, as important are the problem solving and analytical skills that accompanied the concentration courses. Computer sciences teach us to solve complex challenges, apply innovation and work together successfully in teams. Along with good work habits and other soft skills computer science studies whether a major, minor or as electives round out the modern professional. Salem State University offers many ways students and alumni may prepare for this important part of the modern career. 

Beyond computer sciences many other majors and interests were represented at the fair. I met instructor Jane Regan of the Communications Department who is teaching investigative journalism and coordinating a reporting workshop. 

This was my first time taking part in the Major / Minors Fair. I didn't know what to expect. When I first saw Jane approach wearing her flack jacket and Kevlar vest I asked myself, "What have I gotten into?" I found Jane to be dynamic and engaging as she and Robert E. Brown, Ph.D, described careers in journalism to eager students. 

Professor Brown is another great example of the exemplar talent that Salem State University attracts. He, "has served on the full-time faculties of Bentley University, Boston College, Boston University, California State University, California State University-LA, Emerson College, and is on the graduate faculty of the Blanquerna School of Communications, Barcelona, Spain." 

In addition to his contributions to Salem State Doctor Brown is a faculty member of the Harvard University Extension School and is recognized in private industry for his work in public relations and as a speech writer for senior executives of Fortune 500 companies. I encourage you to follow Professor Brown on Twitter @GatheringLight for his witty and insightful commentary. 

For the fair the staff of the Career Services Office worked tirelessly to bring together campus organizations ranging from Arts and Design; to the First Year Experience office; to Interdisciplinary Studies; to Sport and Movement Sciences, to focus areas across the broad spectrum that makes up the Salem State experience. Large numbers of energetic and curious students left the event with a greater appreciation for the educational opportunities available. Prospective employers and fellow alumni including Salem State Alumni Board of Directors secretary, Debra Lee Surface of St. Jean's Credit Union, an organization that is a loyal benefactor of Salem State, also shared in the experience. 

For me it was an invigorating couple of hours well invested. I met a large number of very motivated and thoughtful young people. I encourage fellow alumni to consider participating in the next Major / Minors Fair and other events the Career Services Office sponsors during the academic year.

If you are seeking to move ahead in your career; if you are an employer seeking to expand your pool of talented prospects; if you are looking for interns, or you seek a way to reconnect in the Salem State community, I encourage you to reach out to the Career Services Office and learn about the robust ways to participate. You can click here for contact information

My personal thanks go to Associate Director of Employer Relations, Angelique Kim, and Employer Relations Associate, Josue Flores, for the hard work you put in to making the day such a success. Angelique and Josue you made it easy for me and the many other companies and alumni to take part. Thank you both.

I hope that you continue to find these topics helpful to inform you of the continuing benefits that Salem State provides to our alumni community. I hope that you will participate in this conversation. Next week's  Viking Voices will be a conversation about the Salem State Collaborative Project for Professional Development.

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Viking Voices - School of Continuing and Professional Studies

According to a recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "The average person born in the latter years of the baby boom (1957-1964) held 11.7 jobs from age 18 to age 48." For those of us born between 1977-1997 Forbes states, "Job Hopping Is the 'New Normal'," and that ninety-one percent, "expect to stay in a job for less than three years."
Original image courtesy of the Wall Street Journal

From the accelerating impacts of Globalization, to the ways in which Artificial Intelligence is automating away once lucrative professions, to the impact of robots displacing not only repetitive physical tasks now work requiring cleverness, and to the changing nature of the workplace it is imperative that we each keep our skills fresh. In this latest in this series of conversations describing resources available to our Salem State alumni community that help us in our careers and businesses I'd like open discussion on another valuable alumni benefit, the Salem State School of Continuing and Professional Studies

The realities that a modern career is defined by serial positions and the very real threat that many jobs will be eliminated for any number of reasons force us to ask of ourselves serious questions. The most important of which is, "How do we insure that we have the skills to remain marketable as waves of change sweep the economy and workplace?" 

The Salem State School of Continuing and Professional Studies is a key resource that can help in our ability to keep pace. Led by Dean Mary Churchill, "The school is home to part-time and off-campus undergraduate programs, Salem State Online, Summer at Salem State, and the Center for International Education." 

For many of us it may not be possible to travel to campus to take classes. Some of us may not find the online mode of study suitable to our learning styles. The good news is that Salem State is today a global institutionIn addition to the ability for alumni to take classes online, the school offers evening classes, "at local satellite locations in Winchester, Lawrence, Lynn, and Malden." The global reach of the Salem State School of Continuing and Professional Studies includes the Viking Global Bridge international program for undergraduate students that includes studies, "offered globally in locations as diverse as Costa Rica, Sarajevo, Liberia, Italy, and China."

Through the School of Continuing and Professional Studies we alumni can keep our skills fresh by earning online certificates, taking over 600 short-term online courses, working towards part-time undergraduate, and bachelor degree completion. There are also available a growing number of non-credit professional education programs

As an example apropos to the topic of these conversations is a non-credit program that took place this past September. The 3-session workshopChange is Good: Your Success Depends On It!, featured John King, president of Headway Strategies Consulting, and Mark Connolly, an independent consultant.

Another hallmark of the Salem State School of Continuing and Professional Studies is that the department works closely with other entities on campus and beyond. Recent partnerships include close collaboration with the Enterprise Center and with the Salem State World Languages Department. In the Summer of 2016 students will travel to Heredia, Costa Rica, for a three week Spanish language immersion. 

I hope that you find these topics helpful to inform you of the continuing benefits that Salem State provides to our alumni community. I hope that you will participate in this conversation. Next week will be another Viking Voices as we  discuss yet another great Salem State resource.

Join in on the conversation: 

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