With the recent move of Western Carolina University’s Center for Career and Professional Development to newly renovated space in Reid Gymnasium, the final component of initial changes planned by center director Theresa Cruz Paul has been put into place.
Since taking over leadership at the career center in July of 2015, Cruz Paul has implemented numerous changes, with the Sept. 21 move from Killian Annex being the latest. The new location not only gives the center twice the amount of space it previously had, but it also has a more modern feel, Cruz Paul said.
“I had an employer stop by (Monday) who just happened to be on campus, and they came in the front door and were pretty surprised and happy to see a nice center that they can come and hang out in and have their own space,” Cruz Paul said. “The students seem to be reacting nicely to it, so that’s good.”
The center has its own entrance into Reid, facing Memorial Drive and the new metered parking lot. Inside, it features a new conference room that can be used for information sessions with prospective employers and webinars for students. There are two interview rooms for students to meet one-on-one with employers, or students can reserve them for Skype interviews with them, Cruz Paul said.
“I think we’re finally starting to figure out what exactly we’re offering students and how to offer it in the best way for Western,” she said. “ I think it’s time for students to really start building and developing themselves personally, and they’re starting to do that across campus, which is nice.”
Prior to moving, the biggest change Cruz had implemented since coming to WCU was changing the name from the Office of Career Services to a more encompassing title that supports the extended services the center now offers. Those services include resume-writing, cover letters, mock interview sessions, job and internship searching, career counseling, vocational testing, preparation for graduate school applications, virtual workshops and webinars. Services are available to current undergraduate and graduate students, as well as WCU alumni.
Moving forward, Cruz Paul said she would like to see more use of technology in the career center, along with more engagement and employer opportunities so that students have time to interact with employers both on and off campus in meaningful ways.
The career center will host an open house for faculty, staff and students to check out its new digs Tuesday, Oct. 11, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It also will hold Catamount Career and Networking Day on Tuesday, Oct. 4, in Ramsey Regional Activity Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The job and graduate school fair will feature several panel discussions.
By Marlon W. Morgan