The Vassar College Center for Career Education

A Liberal Arts Approach

Thank you for your interest in learning more about the re-imagining of Vassar’s Center for Career Education (CCE). At Vassar, we set a high bar in all we do, which is why we want to offer the highest caliber of career education programs and services to our students and alums, ensuring they reach their full potential by utilizing skills taught through a liberal arts education.

“We are in the work of educating students about careers. It is embedded, and should be, into the work they are doing here as students.”

Stacy Bingham, Associate Dean of the College for Career Education
WHY NOW?
Vassar has the opportunity to become a leader in career education among liberal arts colleges.

The way career services at liberal arts colleges are conceptualized, organized, funded, and prioritized has evolved. A new framework for career education rooted in liberal arts traditions aligning with the College’s mission and dedication to equity and inclusion for all students is needed. The re-imagined CCE will engage students early and often in exploring their academic interests, personal values, and talents.
A group of people, some wearing name tags, sit talking around a rectangular wooden table.
A group of people, some wearing name tags, sit talking around a rectangular wooden table.

By the Numbers

 

96% of the student body engages with Vassar’s Center for Career Education (CCE), including more than 75% of first-years

 

90% of students participate in an internship

 

98% of students would recommend a CCE appointment

 

93% of students are employed, in graduate school, or pursuing a competitive fellowship within six months after graduating

 

Two people in a large open office space with desks and computers smile at the viewer.
Two people in a large open office space with desks and computers smile at the viewer.
What is the Impact?
Augmenting Vassar’s career education programming and resources as a part of the creation of the new Dede Thompson Bartlett Center for Admission and Career Education will elevate the College’s reputation and impact in the world, along with demonstrating how vitally important and impactful a liberal arts education can be.

A NEW VISION

 

The re-imagined Center for Career Education begins with a Life Design Model following a 4-year plan allowing students to articulate the meaning and value of their liberal arts education. The program will help students find previously unnoticed connections between their curricular and extracurricular interests, encouraging them to connect a Vassar experience to the world. It makes students the primary architects and agents of the process, which is deeply empowering.

 

Building on the Life Design model, the Career Communities framework connects them with specialized resources such as peer, alum, and parent mentors who are recruited to serve as industry mentors in residence.

 

Student clubs and organizations that have industry overlap (e.g., Vassar Business Club, Healthcare Industry Club, etc.) are important partners in these programming efforts, which could include an increased emphasis on peer-to-peer mentoring. Additional opportunities for students to visit employers through immersion programs and participate in alum and/or employer-led skill development workshops further equip students with the tools needed to be successful in the job market.

PEER CONNECTIONS

 

Growing career peer educator opportunities will ensure that all students have a first touch point with a peer and help those without social capital navigate networks and hidden curriculum.

 

Career peer educators, via paid on-campus student employment, are critical to spreading the word about the CCE and what it does. Their presence often reduces anxiety for first-time visitors while providing accessible peer-review of resumes and introductory resource advising.

 

Increasing student staff will allow us to hire across a greater diversity of majors, backgrounds, and experiences, while also establishing peer liaisons between the office and affinity groups, including identity centers, athletics, residential houses, and even academic departments/areas.

 

The widening of these roles will create a more active presence outside of the office, either in common areas such as the dining hall, library, or athletic and fitness center, or within residence houses or affinity spaces. Career peer educators allow the full-time staff to devote more time to their own roles while student ambassadors simultaneously help create a buzz on campus, bringing the ideas of career education more naturally into student life.

“Vassar is not just the place to get a world-class education. You’re going to develop skills, go out into the world, and use them.”

Stacy Bingham, Associate Dean of the College for Career Education

Two students with dark short hair, one in a light blue t-shirt, the other in a dark blue shirt, both wearing safety goggles, look at a test tube one of them is holding at a lab table.

SUPPORTING CAREER-BASED EDUCATION

 

Focusing on equity and successful outcomes, this program supports students through all forms of career development, including major exploration, student employment, campus student leadership, and internship searching. The program also aims to alleviate the financial stress of career exploration with dedicated internship and professional development grants for all participants.

 

In a typical year, about 175 students can receive support through a CCE internship fund, ranging from small grants of $250 to larger set-amount awards of $5,000 as well as summer earnings relief.

 

This program will not only increase the availability of awards but also fortify the average award amount, building in additional funds for summer earnings relief. These additional funds will also ensure our highest-need students can access the financial resources to participate in unpaid or low-paid internships, which are common in the arts, non-profit, social justice, and some fields of research. Student Success grants, also funded through this program, will provide students with resources needed for interview attire, graduate/professional school applications, and travel to informational and job/internship interviews and professional conferences.

 

By supporting career-based education programs, you’re allowing Vassar students to reach their greatest potential in their chosen field. Once they graduate, they will enter the world better prepared for their careers thanks to experiences afforded to them through the Center for Career Education.

For further information, contact Gregg McCarty at gmccartywang@vassar.edu or (845) 437-5409.