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Running head: USC-CACE

Field Observation:
University System Committee- Career Services and Cooperative Education
Sarah Schanck
EDLD 7431
Dr. Daniel Calhoun
Georgia Southern University

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Field Observation:

University System Committee- Career Services and Cooperative Education


Synopsis
On February 20, 2014, I attended a professional development meeting of the University
System Committee- Career Services and Cooperative Education (USC-CACE) held on the
campus of Middle Georgia State College. This committee is comprised of Directors and
Executive Directors of career services and cooperative education offices in University System of
Georgia (USG) institutions. The purpose of this committee is to share best practices amongst
USG institutions, make evidence based recommendations to USG on behalf of its schools career
services professionals, and to liaise with representatives of the USG Student Affairs department
and the Economic Development department.
This meeting was a special meeting called for the purposes of professional development.
The USG Department of Economic Development sponsored the meeting and funded a webinar
on transforming career services. The Department of Economic Development was represented by
Vice Chancellor Mark Lytle. Other agenda items included discussion about a recent event by the
National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) that was attended by several members
of the group. After the webinar, a discussion was held on the webinar content and how it could
be applicable to USG institutions and career services departments. An introduction was made of
the NACE document, Standards and Protocols for the Collection and Dissemination of
Graduating Student Initial Career Outcomes Information for Undergraduates (2014). The
document was passed out to participants to be reviewed before the next meeting in May 2014
when it would be discussed in detail, however the foundation of the issue as it is perceived on
individual campuses was briefly discussed.

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Relevant Issues in Career Services

Unpaid Internships
Unpaid internships are an extremely relevant topic right now in the career services arena
and were discussed at this meeting as an extension of a conversation at a recent National
Association of Colleges and Employers event. Dr. Kevin Gaw, Director of Career Services at
Georgia State University, attended the NACE event and shared that an economist spoke
regarding unpaid internships and the harm that they cause to the labor market by diluting the
power of degrees and creating less open positions for skilled job-seekers to obtain. The directors
present at the USC-CACE meeting discussed some potential issues that they have observed
surrounding unpaid internships and why the Department of Economic Development should be
involved in the conversation. Other potential issues brought up by attendees at this USC-CACE
meeting included the lack of protection for students with sexual harassment or other claims. The
Directors present recommended to Vice Chancellor Lytle that the Department of Economic
Development take up this issue because of its ties to the labor market. It was even suggested that
a bill be introduced to legislature next year suggesting a tax credit to companies who hire paid
interns.
Durrant (2013) articulated that unpaid internships are currently receiving a lot of attention
in the civil court system, with many past unpaid interns suing their former employers and
winning. One of the cases that has received the most legal attention is the case against Fox
Searchlight. The suit alleged that the production company violated minimum wage and
overtime laws by not compensating more than one hundred interns (Durrant, 2013, p. 171). The
victory in the Fox Searchlight lawsuit has set legal precedent for many other unpaid interns to
file suits against their former employers. Career services professionals are obligated to

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understand the legal ramifications of unpaid internships and be able to appropriately counsel
students who may be considering one.
Destination Surveys
Destination surveys are assessment tools to record and analyze the plans for new
graduates as it relates to careers or graduate schools. The National Association of Colleges and
Employers has created standards and protocols for destination surveys. Many institutions
undertake their own destination surveys, and in fact, many of the attendees at the USC-CACE
meeting administer them for their institutions. However, these destination surveys often are not
as effective as they could be and are difficult to use for benchmarking because every institution
approaches them differently. In the Introduction to their guidelines, the NACE First-Destination
Survey task force stated, In response to the concerns and circumstances, NACE has established
these national standards and protocols to guide higher education institutions in collecting and
disseminating the vital information regarding the immediate career outcomes of their graduates
(National Association of Colleges and Employers, 2014, p. 3).
The Directors discussed how destination surveys are currently executed at their
respective institutions. None of them believed that these assessment tools were being used
effectively. The attendees are all in favor of the NACE standards and protocols. The USCCACE task force report due to the system in May will have a focus on implementing effective
destination surveys using the NACE guidelines. All attendees agreed that the NACE guidelines
should be shared with other institutional internal stakeholders. Administration must be brought
on board and see the value in gathering this information. Other stakeholders that I believe would
be value to include in the conversation would be the Alumni Relations department, Institutional
Research, and the University Communications department. With the buy-in through the proper

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administrative channels, Institutional Research is necessary to execute the survey in a way that
allows appropriate follow-up and analysis. Alumni Relations will benefit from the information
at the end, but could also be of use in discovering appropriate avenues to reach this new young
alumni base. The University Communications department will be responsible for helping to
disseminate the results of this assessment and should therefore be part of the discussion as well.
The attendees at USC-CACE see the role of their career services departments as facilitating the
discussion amongst all of these parties and educating on the best practices as recommended by
NACE. The Vice Chancellor indicated his support of creating a streamlined process that is used
by all USG institutions to report these outcomes.
Transforming College to Career
Synopsis
USC-CACE meeting attendees viewed a webinar sponsored by the USG Department of
Economic Development entitled Transforming College to Career. The presenter was Sheila
Curran, a consultant with over 25 years of higher education human resources experience. Curran
(2014) covered the importance of transformation for career services departments in order to work
more effectively with internal stakeholders within the university to better serve students. This is
a timely topic for member institutions of USC-CACE as many departments are currently
understaffed and must rely on collaboration to achieve outlined goals. According to Curran
(2014), the rate of tuition has increased 4.2% of inflation from 2004-2014. She shared this
statistic to demonstrate that the stakes are higher for students in what they hope to gain out of
their college experience. In addition, Curran (2014) stated that in a survey in 2012, 87.9% of
incoming freshmen indicated that they are attending college to be better positioned for desirable
jobs. The most telling statistic for me in this presentation was that colleges are giving

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themselves an A in preparing their students for the world of work while employers are only
giving college graduates a C- for preparation (Curran, 2014). This highlights the importance of
transforming delivery of services for career centers.
Currans (2014) argument is that career centers need to make other university entities
aware of what needs to be done to make students employable. This idea was heartily endorsed by
USC-CACE members. This issue relates to the previously discussed topic of destination
surveys. Data is needed to prove that students from a particular institution are employable and
prepared. This type of data will encourage students to matriculate and persist to graduation. The
institution needs to be aware of duplication of efforts within the university and must streamline
and encourage collaboration whenever possible. An example of how this can be done effectively
was demonstrated at Augustana College in Illinois. Curran (2014) described how Augustana
College realized that there were issues with the delivery of programs and services as well as
problems relating to duplication. The administration was proactive and conducted a faculty and
staff joint retreat to conduct a strategic opportunity assessment of career readiness for students.
This encouraged collaboration amongst entities and resulted in career development success
metrics being built into the institutional strategic plan (Curran, 2014). I believe that this is an
excellent proactive approach to solve this problem. Strategic planning in this scenario will
provide a framework that will properly use resources (including staff and faculty time) and be
beneficial to student and institutional outcomes.
The current model of career services is very externally based (Curran, 2014). It is
missing a common institutional story about the college to career connection. A better, integrated
model is the CEO model of connections, experiences, and opportunities (Curran, 2014).
Students are at the center of this model and are within a triage structure to facilitate quick access

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to career development resources and assistance. Curran (2014) stated that this model relies on in
sync messaging by all members of what she referred to as the career community (slide 15).
Discussion on Transforming College to Career
USC-CACE members were generally in agreement that an integrated career services
model would be most beneficial. I was given the opportunity to voice my concern that creating
synced messaging could potentially be a stumbling block amongst all entities embedded in the
career development process. Curran (2014) responded that, in fact, this was the greatest
challenge for institutions that have moved to a transformational model. USC-CACE attendees
voiced that this would likely be especially difficult in large institutions such as Georgia State. I
believe that it would be extremely important for an institution hoping to achieve this model to
critically analyze their campus culture to determine the likelihood of success in standardizing
their message and creating career communities. There would need to be a clear champion likely
within the administration to spearhead this effort and it would likely have to be built in phases.
Through the discussion amongst USC-CACE members, two patterns emerged that were
suggested to be elevated to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. The first was the retention of
career services professionals and the recruitment of these professionals into the state. The
second was the relationship between career services departments and university advancement
departments, specifically identifying system level champions to encourage partnerships on the
institutional level.
Conclusion
Observing the meeting of the University System Committee- Career Services and
Cooperative Education allowed me to see many higher education administration topics discussed
on a system level. Issues of strategic planning, collaboration, budgeting and resources, and

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staffing were discussed as they related to the career services profession. It was very interesting
to see that there are similar obstacles across the University System of Georgia that affect
institutions of all sizes. I believe that I am more enlightened about the impact that my field has
in an administrative sense, both on an institutional level and a system level.

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References
Curran, S. (2014, February 20). Transforming college to career. Webinar conducted at the
meeting of the University System Committee- Career Services and Cooperative
Education, Macon, GA.
Durrant, C. (2013). To benefit or not to benefit: Mutually induced consideration as a test for the
legality of unpaid internships. University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 162(169), 169202.
National Association of Colleges and Employers (2014). Standards and protocols for the
collection and dissemination of graduating student initial career outcomes information
for undergraduates. Bethlehem, PA: Author.