The Collegian
Tuesday, January 31, 2023

CDC, Alumni Relations merger in July prompts program evaluation

The Office of Alumni and Career Services, formerly known as the Career Development Center and the Office of Alumni Relations, is currently working on a strategic plan to further enhance its services for students and alumni with support from President Edward Ayers, said Joe Testani, associate director of the Office of Alumni and Career Services.

The Career Development Center and the Office of Alumni Relations merged into the Office of Alumni and Career Services last July. This new strategic plan will determine the direction of the office for the next three years, Testani said.

"The Office of Alumni and Career Services represents a natural partnership," Ayers wrote in an e-mail, "and this strategic planning effort will ensure we make the most of the opportunities our worldwide web of Spiders presents for students and alumni, especially in these tough economic times."

Testani said the office was in the first phase of the strategic planning process, in which the staff collected information, looked at stakeholders and started to identify the themes of focus for the next two or three months. This will be followed by the second phase, in which the staff articulates the specific goals for the office, and the actual changes will be implemented during the summer.

As for now, Testani said that the merging of the two offices into one had not brought any drastic changes, except for an expanded pool of resources and opportunities for students.

"What we now do is to combine a lot of resources and to streamline a lot of the processes and resources to better get alumni engaged with current students and vice versa," he said.

"I think it can only help in terms of reaching alumni that really want to engage with students in the way of programs or events, as well as offering opportunities," he said. "But it won't impact the high level of services that we have been able to provide to the students in the past two or three years, in terms of the advising and the pragmatic elements of what we have been doing."

Meanwhile, some people have expressed their opinions on potential changes to the CDC and the Office of Alumni and Career Services as a result of this new strategic plan.

Cierra Hill, a senior, said that she thought the services that the CDC offers were satisfactory, but the biggest issue was to "get the students to come at an early age."

She said that although the CDC did contact students via e-mails, it did not reach out enough to let the students notice the importance of going there as freshmen or sophomores.

Robert Amen, a recruiter for FactSet Research Systems, said that preparation was a focus from the recruiter's perspective as well.

"Ultimately, what I care about is meeting with highly qualified individuals -- well-trained, well-prepared for the interview process," he said.

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Although he thought the facilities at the CDC were professional, he said that an extensive preparation process would make sure that the students were putting in all of their efforts during the interview.

Testani said that the office would be collecting input from students and alumni during the next few months, once the first phase of the strategic planning process was over. Students and alumni will see the effect of the strategic plan after next semester, he said.

Contact Collegian Reporter Masato Tsuruta at masato.tsuruta@richmond.edu

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