Faculty and Career Development Center Collaborate to Form New Campus Initiative

Assistant professor Jill Rucker honored as an outstanding Career Champion during Faculty Appreciation Week.
Micayla Blair

Assistant professor Jill Rucker honored as an outstanding Career Champion during Faculty Appreciation Week.

It takes a campus to ensure University of Arkansas students are ready for a meaningful career at graduation. In light of this, in 2018, the University Career Development Center began a new initiative to streamline communication and formally recognize faculty commitment to supporting student engagement in career services.

The center's staff identified key faculty influencers who encourage students to take advantage of professional development opportunities to connect with employers or to learn career information. A faculty Career Champion was appointed for each academic department to serve as a liaison between the Career Development Center and their department.

Each Career Champion relays information learned from their Career Development Center staff representative about career opportunities, campus events, and employers to students and faculty within their own department. Career Champions regularly provide feedback to their representative and assist with collecting graduation placement data from students in their department.

The Career Development Center works to prepare students for the workforce and make career preparation an integral part of the college experience. They provide opportunities for professional development and facilitate career fairs where students can connect with employers in person.

Donna Graham, director of employer relations for Bumpers College, said, "Faculty endorsement of key CDC events such as career fairs has a huge effect on student turnout. When faculty tell students these events are critical for career success, students listen and attend."

Angela Williams, assistant vice chancellor of career services for Student Affairs, said, "The relationship between faculty members and career services is essential to preparing students for the job market. We want faculty feedback and input in all that we do. One of our primary goals is to integrate career development into students' curriculum campuswide so all students possess the career competencies that employers value at graduation. Faculty are key partners in accomplishing this goal."

During Faculty Appreciation week, Ro Dibrezzo, vice provost for faculty affairs, along with the Career Development Center team, surprised select Career Champions by interrupting class to recognize them in front of their students for the extra effort they put forth serving as a Career Champion.

"Our faculty are simply the best!" Dibrezzo said. "I remain in awe of their dedication and commitment to our campus and to our students. Faculty Appreciation week is our way of saying thank you with a smile. Something we don't do often enough."

The Career Champions received formal recognition from Faculty Senate, exclusive real-time access to placement data, and recognition at a Career Champion breakfast. The 2018-2019 Career Champions include:

College of Education and Health Professions

  • Rhett Hutchins
  • Amanda Sullivan
  • Larry Aslin
  • Kelly Vowell Johnson

College of Engineering

  • Scott Osborn
  • Michelle Kim
  • Ed Clausen
  • Kevin Hall
  • Susan Gauch
  • Robert Saunders
  • Tish Pohl

Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food, and Life Sciences

  • Dan Rainey
  • Jill Rucker
  • Lauren Thomas
  • Lisa Wood
  • Luke Howard
  • Elena Garcia
  • Lance Cheramie
  • Sam Rochell

Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design

  • Melinda Smith
  • Carl Matthews
  • Ken McCown

Graduate School and International Education

  • Vicky Hartwell

J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences

  • Tom Hapgood
  • Mack Ivey
  • Lisa Corrigan
  • Lissette Lopez Szwydky
  • Chris Liner      
  • Alessandro Brogi
  • Gina Shelton
  • Andy Raich
  • Lia Uribe
  • Ed Minor
  • Kim Strauss
  • Chris Shields
  • Kathleen Condray

Donna K. Graham, director of employer relations, Bumpers College
Career Development Center
479-575-5686, dkgraha@uark.edu


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