DataU On-Demand

Normalizing data for student success. More than ever, people question the value of higher education. Let's explore why they’re right, why they’re wrong and how data will determine our future. Tune in now.

Recent Episodes

Building Connections through Data and Storytelling...

S3 | E11 | Kyle Nolan, Curry College
  • Richelle Hurley
    Mar 28, 2024 1:12:36 PM . 2 min read

Wake Forest Career Development: Educating The Whole Person

wake forest career development

Season 1  |  Episode 7  |  Andy Chan, Wake Forest University

Eight years after Andy Chan, Vice President of Innovation and Career Development at Wake Forest University, gave a TEDx Presentation titled "Career Services Must Die," he discusses the critical work that still needs to be done, how to educate the whole person and how to help students take ownership of their own lives.

Listen to this episode on Spotify!


[0:05] ERIN KING

More people than ever are questioning the value of higher education. We are here to explore why they're right, why they're wrong and which institutions are rising to the challenge. I'm here with our Analytics Consultant, Dr. Jacob Bonne, and I'm so excited for our conversation today. Dr. Bonne, would you like to introduce our guest?


Absolutely. Thanks, Erin. Today, we're here with Andy Chan, who's the Vice President for Innovation and Career Development at Wake Forest. Andy, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what drives your passion for career development and student success?

[0:37] ANDY CHAN

Sure. Thanks for having me. I'm really glad to be here, Erin and Jacob. So my background basically is: I had a career in business for about 15 years, and then I took a job to become the head of the Career Center at Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2001; and then in 2009, I was recruited to become the Vice President for Personal and Career Development at Wake Forest University. When I think about this idea of passion and student success, the first thing that came to mind was: Frederick Buechner had a quote, "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet."

I became passionate about student success when I was working at Stanford Business School from 2001 to 2009, and the real catalyst that lit my fire was when I went on a retreat to Whidbey Island, Washington, which was led by my good friend Dave Evans. Dave is the coauthor of "Designing Your Life," the very popular book that many people have read (it's really changed their lives.)

Listen Now: Higher Ed's Serious Need for Reform

Well, while I was at this retreat, I heard that the majority of twenty-somethings really struggle with launching well after college no matter what college they go to. And while at the retreat, I really felt the call that I needed to do something very significant and meaningful to transform the college to career experience and the journey for emerging adults different than just being at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Lo and behold, literally like a month later, the President and the leadership at Wake Forest basically recruited me, because they had a similar vision and similar need. And so when they recruited me, my passion was really lit up. Now, I really do feel that at Wake Forest, it is the place where my gladness, which is really trying to figure out how to solve this problem and the world's deep hunger, are really being met, so I feel really excited about that; and that's where my passion really comes from.

[2:24] BONNE

Fantastic. I'd love to hear a little bit more about that community, that sort of college to career community that you've developed there at Wake Forest, and how is that community defining some of these elements of student success for students after graduation?

[2:39] CHAN

Well, you know, the community at Wake Forest is a very tight knit community. We like to talk about ourselves as being like a collegiate university where you have the intimate sort of community of a college [with] the resources of a large university at the same time.

We have about 5,400 undergraduate students, and then we have programs in liberal arts and STEM, engineering, business, law, divinity and medicine. With respect to student success, I think we really use this phrase: How do we educate the whole person where we're trying to help the whole person be successful. So that includes your academic career, your career (and professional career), your character and your well-being. I think that's one of the things that really resonated with me about Wake Forest, is that this idea that we care about the whole person. We're trying to help students think about all these different dimensions of their life, and it's not just about being a great academic student.

So I do think that is the way that we define success, and we are always educating the student on all these different dimensions, trying to make sure that throughout their life (while they're in college), they're actually laying a foundation that they might be able to implement through the rest of their lives.

[3:48] BONNE

I'd love to ask you a follow-up there about this idea of well-being and [the] holistic student. Before we hit record, we were talking a little bit about COVID-19 and how the pandemic has sort of shaped things.

How do you see that sort of need to support the whole student and that need to support their well-being changed in the wake of everything that's happened in the past 18 months?

[4:11] CHAN

Yeah, that's a really, really good question. It has been definitely a difficult time for everyone.

You know, I think one of the things that we've had is interesting (sort of both opportunity and challenge) is that because we're a small community, we've been able to get all the students on campus during 2020, so the 2021 academic year, and then this year also; so everyone has actually been around campus. Last year, everything was more online.

This year, actually, everything is in-person except for people having to wear masks in small spaces, and it's worked out really nicely. But also the challenge, though, has been, as you know, when you're in that age group, your social life is a big part of how you find joy and how you are developing. So that's also really difficult to manage, but our students have done a great job.

Listen Now: Closing the Analytics Talent Gap of the things that I think that is sort of always there, whether we were in COVID, post-COVID, whatever, is that students in general (at least at our school, but I see this at all colleges) is that all students want to do really well. They're driven. They actually have almost a sense of over-perfectionism. They actually want to be great at whatever they do, and they don't want to let themselves or their loved ones down.

And so I do think that's one barrier to holistic student success, because people get really caught up in having to feel like, "Wow, if I don't get an A in everything, I've failed." And so we really try to help students understand that's just not necessarily a realistic expectation, but also not necessarily defining who you are or where you might go.

I think a second thing is that in this age group, there's a lot of research done about this: The student brain is still developing. And so their ability to make very wise, reasoned decisions sometimes are oftentimes questionable, because of the fact they're just developing as young people. And so having a heart for students and recognizing that they're trying to develop, and we as adults around them, we're trying to help them, having a lot of both graciousness, but also the sense that we're really trying to let them take ownership of their lives. That's actually really important that we as administrators...we can't control students. They actually have to figure things out on their own.

And the third is that I think we have this reality (which I think we all have to come to understand more than ever) is that there are students from different communities and families where they may not have had the same advantages or resources as others. And you actually have to figure out how to make sure that you're making the playing field equitable and reasonable for everyone, and so that takes a lot of time and investment and a lot of relationship building more than anything.

I think students, if they know you, they like you, and they trust you; but if you don't take the time to spend to get to know them, it can be difficult to do.

[6:48] KING

Having a heart for students really leads me to my next thought. So at Steppingblocks, we talk a lot about the disconnect between students and their career centers, and we've all heard stats that nearly four in ten college students have never visited their career center or used online career resources; and one cause that we see at this disconnect is that universities aren't listening to their students. 

So how at Wake Forest are you tapping into the student voice to help drive engagement?

[7:21] CHAN

Yeah, those are very sobering stats.

A little bit depressing to hear that the majority of students aren't using their career offices, and I do think that part of the challenge is, we use this phrase: How do you make career readiness mission critical?

How do you make it part of the student experience, so that the student experience when you first come in, when you're introduced to the school at orientation, the way the admissions portrays what the school provides, that the career readiness and career outcomes and resources that the school provides are very visible and very important.

Listen Now: Making Education Work for All With CU Denver

It does really help actually attract students and families to your school if you actually have proof that you are putting resources and effort behind it. Part of it is the resources, and part of it actually is really the light, the attention that you should shine on it to say: This is really a part of the process. Also in the process, sometimes...what students need to have is a high impact experience, a research experience, or they need an internship experience or some type of connect-me-to-the-marketplace experience.

We do that early at Wake from the very first days they come to school. We talk about it a lot as part of the Admissions process, and when they get to school, one of the number one things we do is we make sure all the students know that they have to have a Handshake profile. And the reason why is that Handshake allows us to be able to gather enough data about a student and a way to customize the information we provide to them. So if a student, for example, says, "I'm really interested in something that might be more in the arts." They want to get messaging about the arts. What happens is that the message they get is: There's a bunch of accounting firms coming. They're going to immediately say, "Why should I come to your office? Because you're thinking that I want to do accounting."

And so I know it seems like such a simple thing, but the students really pay attention, and they make really quick judgments because they don't have a lot of time to decide what they can spend time on. So if you don't actually tailor your communications just like the way Facebook or Instagram tailors communications to them, or Netflix, they're sort of shocked thinking that the school doesn't really care about me, given what my interests are.

So we have to actually get that information. We also know what the majority of students over time at our school have gone to, so we actually set up career pathways, newsletters, where they get information to let them know: If you're interested in these big career pathways, here's what you should be doing, and here's the kind of organizations that are hiring. Here's alumni you can talk to, so all of a sudden students start to realize: Wow, you are really for me. So I do think that's a big part of the process.

Best of List: NC Universities With Most High-Earning Female Grads

We also, through this Handshake system, are able to gather information about which students are engaged and which ones are not, so for the students who are less engaged we actually do other types of interventions and come up with new programing to really get to the students in new ways. Oftentimes partnering with other students or faculty, student leaders or faculty members or staff members who know the students really well.

That is probably one of the biggest things that a lot of schools are right about. My friends, Christine Cruzvergara and Farouk Dey, wrote about this idea of career communities: that the career office has to be a bit more of a partner and educator to those communities, about how those communities can get engaged, as opposed to asking everyone to come to the career office. So the more that the career office reaches out into the community and develops relationships, the more the students see and are validated by others that the career process is legit and important, as opposed to people being in offices waiting for people to show up.

I do think that's a big part...I think the role of how the career office has to change is it has to be more "we are in the community" type office not a "we sit in our office waiting for the community to come to us."

[10:59] KING

I couldn't agree more. You mentioned outcomes. Dr. Bonne lives and breathes career outcomes, so did you want to touch on that, Dr. Bonne? Do you have any questions specifically regarding that?

[11:10] BONNE

Yeah, I'd love to get your thoughts on how you all are leveraging data and/or disseminating collecting data and perhaps internally or if you have recommendations from from other colleagues across the country.

[11:25] CHAN

Sure. So this is a really big thing for us. Some of you may have read our recent paper, "Outcomes and Metrics That Matter." So Christine Cruzvergara, the Head of Education at Handshake and I wrote this paper, and the reason why we wrote it is that we were really writing it to the leaders of higher education institutions, not just the career services leader. And what we were trying to do is say, if you, as the leader of the institution, asked your career team as well as your academic leadership team and probably thirdly, include your advancement/fundraising leadership team, and you said: In a room let's figure out what major metrics we want to gather together...we can figure out the strategies and the resources, but you all can do this.

Do not make it just on the career office leader to do on their own. This is what really matters. So we actually end up having sort of four different major buckets. There's actually maybe a couple different processes. One is while the student is in school. The second is through the at-graduation numbers, and then there's alumni numbers; and they fall into these maybe four different sort of buckets:

One is student engagement. What are they actually doing? The second is student career readiness. What are they actually learning when it comes to being career ready? The third is their actual outcome internship research. What are they doing while they're in school, as well as an outcome later? And then finally, there's social capital. What are the ways that you are actually doing things to help them build a network with the assistance of the school, not just because you just sent them to LinkedIn to figure out themselves.

12 Universities Producing the Most Female Software Engineers

And so if the school is thinking about those different buckets where those three teams (Academic, Career and Advancement/Alumni) work together, it can be very, very powerful. So that's essentially how we think about things at Wake Forest.

And so what we've done is, we can through, as I mentioned Handshake earlier, we can actually take that data and merge it with the registrar data, the demographics of every student into Microsoft Power BI and have data dashboards basically on every student or every student group, so we can see what's going on with different populations with respect to engagement and outcomes.

The other thing that we're doing is we've developed a career readiness model we call the Ready7 model. You can find it on our website, and we actually have surveys that we give the students where we're asking them to tell us about their career readiness confidence level.

And then at the same time, our coaches or our teachers who are with those students are actually measuring the same thing, so we're actually able to see how the students sell their self-perception of their competence versus what we actually think is their actual level. And then we can actually start to discern a little bit more about that. We're in the early stages of that process, but we actually think that at the end of the day is the holy grail. If you can actually understand if a student is really career ready, they'll be able to be employable for the rest of their lives.

I mean, when we talk about this idea of teaching a student to fish instead of giving them a fish, that's actually what we're really trying to do when it comes to career readiness. readiness at Wake Forest is a little bit different than career readiness, for example, that NACE or AAC&U have. Those are really great models, but those are actually more "students from their whole educational process" at that school. What are they learning that give them all the competencies to be prepared for the workforce?

We actually think that students' career readiness competencies related to just getting a job or an internship need to be very specific, because I don't think students even know what they really need to get a job. I mean, honestly, the only other time they've gotten something that's like a job is fill out an application for college, submit it, get a yes or no, and they're done.

And so then they think that's what you do for getting a job, and so they're really honestly upset at the fact that they have to work so hard to get a job; because they think it should be a lot easier. But the reality is the world's actually making it even harder for them to get a job. So we actually have to teach them those things in a very legitimate, organized way. So we were really, really big on the idea of having career education.

And actually, we have one and a half semester credit-based courses where students, when they do the work in a class, their career readiness capability is probably five times higher than a student who doesn't do it in an academic setting.

[15:31] KING

I believe I've heard you talk about understanding the student in a different way, but in the same vein: what they learn, what they earn and what they yearn. Did I get that right?

[15:42] CHAN

Yes, that's great.

[15:45] KING

So also something outside of the student voice and student engagement, something else that I have heard you talk about from the career center perspective that I haven't heard a lot of other career centers talk about, and that's the fundraising angle. So can you talk about why that matters?

[16:02] CHAN

Sure. You know...I think coming from the business world, working in the startup world, I think that you just have to have an abundance mindset. You actually have to believe there is more. If your vision is big enough, there are more resources out there than you might imagine. If you're actually around people who have resources, they'll oftentimes say, the issue is not do we have enough money. The issue is do we have enough good people to actually execute well on the great ideas? So it's not even the number of ideas. It's actually, people know there are ideas everywhere. Can you execute well? But the people have to be the thing, and oftentimes, if you paint a big enough vision, people want to come around that.

One of the things that I found in my time in higher ed is that a lot of times there's a lot of noise around the university, so someone at the leadership level has to decide this is important enough that if we can get people to fund it, we want to do that. Because I actually think there are a lot of people (I mean, you and I talked a little bit about the the whole thing when I did the "Career Services Must Die" TEDx talk), it really hit a chord in a lot of people, because the very beginning of the talk, what I say is that you can hear all these alumni out there rumbling about the fact that, "Why didn't my school help me better to prepare for the workforce?" What was that all about?

Understand Your Institution's Supply and Demand of Skills

We know fundamentally that, as you just said with the stat earlier, more than half of the people who went to college never went to their career office, so they don't even think that the school cared about what they did after college. So that's really the case. There's a lot of people out there who actually want to fix that. Back to what I started at the very beginning, like, where's this passion come from? It's like there is a deep need that needs to be solved. There are people with money who want to solve it, if the school wants to solve it. I think that's one piece of it.

The second piece is that these people in the world who actually oftentimes have resources, they're running organizations with a lot of people, or they actually are invested in organizations; a lot of people who want to hire more people, so they can help the students at your school get jobs, internships and be exposed to what's possible for them.

That's another thing that I really emphasize. Why if I were running a career office, one of the most important roles that people should be looking for is someone who's actually doing external relations, employer relations, alumni relations, because what students need to see is that there are people who are like them who went to their school, who are doing great things and who want to hire them. Because it's students who never see that, they actually are in their heads doubting that, because, "I don't see any employers here. No one really wants to hire us. They always want to hire students from better schools than us."

Everyone always thinks there's some better school out there than the school they're going to, and if they don't see evidence of the fact, it can really be demoralizing for students, like "Can I really get a job?" And so part of what we have to do is prove to students that, yes, because our alumni have done great things, and they actually want to hire you. So I think that's why the advancement office should be involved in this process, too.

[18:50] KING

That really leads into the next part of the conversation, which is the employer side. So last year at the Global Silicon Valley Summit, you talked about career readiness being two different definitions, so it means one thing to higher ed academics and something different to employers. Can you explain why this is a critical gap that we have to bridge and maybe talk about it in terms of skills?

[19:16] CHAN

OK, great. You've really done your homework. You've pointed out talks I've done before, you're calling me on it, so I appreciate that very much.

What I would say here is, this is interesting. I actually think there will always be some gap between what employers want and what maybe schools perceive only because they work in two different worlds. And in general, employers, I think, are very demanding. They just want the students to be really, really ready and prepared for their specific job. So what I think about here is that the feedback we get from employers, first and foremost, is students as well as they can do homework and research in the classroom, they need to be able to apply those same kinds of skills when they're looking at applying for jobs. And what happens is, oftentimes, students don't do the full amount of research that they should to know actually: What exactly am I applying for. What is this company about?

A lot of times when companies say: Why do you want to work at our company? The students will make up some answer that isn't really right on, and so the companies are like, what's that about, you came to do an interview. And I do think there is this gap that happens from that standpoint.

I think the second point is that there's a translation of the skills you might learn in the classroom or on college campuses that aren't translated well when they actually do their resumes and interviews live.

That is actually another reason why this idea that being able to have students all go through an educational process to understand: How do you take what has been historically, what was my responsibility on a job, and turn it into what was my accomplishment on the job? What was [the impact] that I made in the job, and how do I talk about that in a quantifiable way?

Most students, when we show them the difference, like if you're an R.A., a Resident Advisor, what you did where you just ran events and you mentored people, but you actually over here had responsibility for a certain number of people with a certain amount of budget, and you managed the risk out of making sure bad things didn't happen in that dorm. That's a totally different way of talking about the work that you did, and so students need to have some way to have the time to translate and practice: Can I say those things? Is that really OK?

And I do think that the small five to 10 percent who actually figure that out, oftentimes, those are people who grew up in homes where their families talked about business all the time, so they actually know how to do that. Everyone else has no idea, so I do think that is probably the biggest thing.

I will say that one of the things that is getting more clear is that we have a big process where we try to help students understand: Your goal is actually to figure out how to look at a lot of options in front of you and to explore what the possibilities are before you narrow down to: This is the one thing. In fact, almost don't narrow down to the one thing.

That's a lot about the principles within "Designing Your Life." It's, what are all the possibilities? And go explore those things and talk to people who do those things, so you actually know what you're really getting yourself into. I do think that that's another part of the process that can be challenging: If you don't make this something you do over your four years over and over again, but you try to just get to one thing, because, as you know, you're growing. I mentioned earlier, students are growing a lot. They're changing a lot. They're learning a lot. So we need to try to figure out how to keep that spigot open.

The other thing about it is that once you then get to, "I know I want this type of role," I think in the world today, there's some basic skills that a lot of people are looking for beyond being a great communicator. The other one is being a very, very good writer. I actually think people need to be very good in their written skills. That is actually a lost art, honestly, even for college students. Another thing is that Excel skills are actually really almost expected, baseline, and a lot of schools don't really teach students Excel skills; or a lot of students are intimidated by actually how to use Excel, which should not be the case.

And I think there's a lot around data literacy and tech literacy, so it doesn't mean you have to be a programmer, but you can't be afraid to talk about: What can technology do, and what are aspects of that? So I do think there's a new world emerging where students can actually get short course certificates of some kind that will help them get this literacy.

The challenge will be how do you get that to students if again, it's not credit based? So again, will it always end up being then the 10 percent who are really driven do all that stuff and everyone else doesn't really do it? So it again continues to keep that divide between them.

I do think that schools and other vendors are trying to figure out: How do we actually close that divide? The big benefit, though, is that I do think after college, there's so many different options on how people can keep learning at low cost ways that are not going back to two years out of school, graduate program, get a big degree; but it could be literally a two month certificate program that moves you along the pathway. That I think is very hopeful for the future of lifelong learning and professional development for adults.

[24:13] BONNE

Thank you. I wanted to ask, in summary, you touched on a lot of components in there that are some of the barriers to student success and career success. 

Is there anything else that you can think of that stands in the way of that progress? And perhaps, what is Wake Forest doing to respond to that and move the needle?

[24:13] CHAN

...I've really talked about if you can find a way to make it academic or near academic, that really can help, and so we have these career courses that we do at Wake Forest, but we can't get them to every student in a class every single year just because we have in-person classes. We keep the class sizes small, and so there's a lot more demand than there is actual supply of classes. One of the things that we did recently is we engaged with Kaplan University Partners to create a product called Kaplan Career Core, which takes the content from our courses and makes them into asynchronous modules.

As a result, we have the ability now to offer the career course content to all of our students that we weren't able to do before, and that too will help us again, scale. Also for us we were able to do it in partnership with them, it was one where we didn't have the expertise to do that on our own. So actually partnering with someone was actually a really smart thing for us.

The other thing I mentioned to you earlier is that part of the reason why I even felt a call to come to Wake Forest, not only is it a beautiful place, beautiful school, beautiful people, love it, but is that the president said, "Andy, I really feel like we can do something to help become a model in higher ed to help make it better."

This is one of those ways that we can share the IP that we've created in this career course with our very talented professor, Heidi Robinson, and share to a lot of other people. So we have schools like University of Arizona, University of Montana, Adelphi, Florida International, Point Loma, that are all starting to implement this product.

So what people are able to do is use our career course modules asynchronous for all their students. Many of these schools are much bigger than Wake Forest, you know, 34,000 students, and then on top of it, Kaplan has the ability to have remote career advisors that are really specialized in very highly popular, high demand areas. So the schools don't have experts in those areas. The students can actually meet with these career advisors to get more information on how to maybe get jobs in areas that they wouldn't have gotten otherwise, so that for me is really, I'm excited because, you know, the motto at Wake Forest is Pro Humanitate.

Like, how do we honestly help and serve humanity? And I feel like this is one of our ways to actually help the world of higher ed and students who are very different students at Wake Forest to have access to our knowledge and our expertise, but hopefully help them become more career ready. So that is one thing that I think about, that a barrier we're overcoming, right now, for sure.

[27:06] KING

I love the idea of not just breaking down the walls and the silos inside the institution, but on a national level, and I think that's really the goal here, is creating that larger community, not just at your own institution. So that being said, what other sort of collaborations or resources do you use at Wake Forest, or is there anyone that you look to as a mentor in terms of student success?

[27:31] CHAN

You know, it's very funny. We were just talking on the call. I can't think of anyone per se necessarily in the mentor realm, but I will say in terms of really forward thinking people, I do think of the team at Handshake led by Garrett Lord and my friend Christine Cruzvergara she's really pushing the envelope.

I have some friends at Strada who are doing some amazing research that we're trying to figure out how to measure alumni outcomes a new kind of way. I know that the Career Collective with Jeremy Podany and Colorado is also doing that in terms of measuring alumni outcomes, so I really like that.

I really do love the work of Farouk Dey at Johns Hopkins...I use that phrase for career services most often, and he jokes. He goes, Andy, I really actually did make career services die. I'm doing it totally differently, and I really respect his innovativeness. And I have one other friend who is Branden Grimmett at Loyola Marymount. He's just very committed to: How do we make diversity, equity, inclusion really genuine at our university, and he's really pushing that.

And so there are a lot of people in our space who are all doing very innovative and interesting things, and I'm really just excited about what's and I were talking about the fact that your product is one that's designed to really use data to help students make better decisions. And everyone knows when you start talking about data in higher ed that Georgia State is the leader in that area, and so I really like to observe and watch how they do what they do, which is very challenging with every school.

Every school has a certain set of resources and philosophy about how they've done things, so oftentimes they can't actually totally shift that to something new; but we can all learn from each other. And I do think that's what's funny again about this new Kaplan Career Core product that the new schools who are in there, all schools that I didn't know all that well, but we're getting to know each other well and seeing new and innovative ways that they're trying to implement to get to career readiness for all students. And so it's fun to be able to do it in collaboration with others.

[29:33] BONNE

Andy, I'd love to hear if you've got any wins or success stories that you'd like to share about all the exciting things happening at Wake Forest.

[29:41] CHAN

Thanks, Jacob. We're very excited about what we've been able to do at Wake Forest over these years. Over the last eight years consecutively over 95 percent of our students, whether it be the college or the business school, are employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation, and so having that high of a number on a consistent level has been really great especially during these last couple of years during COVID. We've really found out how to pivot effectively, and how to actually engage even more students in an online environment they way we did in person.

It will be very interesting in the future as more and more recruiting organizations want to do more things online and virtually. How do we manage that and do that well, because we happen to be a very in-person type of campus, so it's really interesting trying to figure out how to keep students engaged when some like it online and others don't.

The second thing is that in terms of student engagement, with our programs, events and coaching, every year we measure it, over the four years over 90 percent of the students actually utilize our programs, resources and coaching. Again, when the national averages are below 40, we're very proud of the fact that we're able to get so many students engaged with our office.

And then from the alumni standpoint, we have a very robust alumni personal and career development center. It's very innovative. It's much more than to help people get jobs. It definitely does that, but it's really thinking more about, how do you develop a life, especially if you're a young alum in your early twenties trying to figure out: Do I want to live here? Do I like this job? Is what's happening to me normal?

Going to work today is so much different than being at school. Now more than ever, especially during this online environment. So in this last year, we had 75,000 alumni and 20,000 of them engaged in programming, courses and resources that we have to support their ongoing professional development after attending Wake Forest. So we're really happy about that.

In fact, we've just won an award from the Colleges and Employers Association for the south, and I just think that we're doing a lot of really interesting things. Thinking about how do we develop a lifelong career readiness model and framework. We actually have some programs for students before they come to college, high school programs, which start while you're in college at Wake Forest; and we're obviously impacting others through Kaplan Career Core. And then finally we're trying to think about, when you're done with college, and you're an adult, how do you continue to build a very successful life holistically, but also especially in the professional realm.

We're having a lot of fun at Wake Forest, and I'm very pleased and excited to be working in a place with such a great team of people.

[32:13] BONNE

That's really great. We actually did a focus group with some students this summer and heard that they were really appreciative of their career centers transitioning to more online support. Those were not Wake Forest students we did that focus group with, but it's great to hear you're focused on that and reaching students in that way, while also being mindful of the students who do prefer the in-person resources. Great to hear you're doing that work already.

[32:40] CHAN

Great, thanks.

[32:42] KING

OK, in closing, just final remarks: Your outlook for 2022 when it comes to progress in career services in higher ed.

[32:50] CHAN

I think we're at a really great moment in terms of inflection. I think that it is a time where many places are really looking to figure out how to do things differently.

And I think as long as the leadership of the President and the Provost bring the Head of Career Services into the room and say: With your academic and your advancement alumni leadership, what can we do together to actually change our model to actually have a better accountability with respect to metrics and outcomes?

I think we're going to see a lot of new things happen over the next five years. What I oftentimes find is that people have to recognize that first year, oftentimes, is: Let's get clear on what our goal is and what we're trying to do, and let's start trying. Knowing that we will make mistakes, and we won't have immediate results; but we're trying some new things.

In year two, we learn from year one, and we get a little bit better; and then by year three, we're like, alright, we have a few data points, and we actually have started to really figure out what works.

So I do think having a few years of time to unfold something new is important. I think, like I said earlier, metrics and outcomes are really important. What are we really shooting for? Let's hold off on coming up with all the solutions and just having a solution chase the problem, but really being clear about the problem and the goal.

And I also think that this idea of looking at outside partners who actually have really novel solutions and oftentimes have a lot of expertise, figuring out how to partner with them. Being very careful, though, that you can't have too many of them. I do think that that's one thing, is that too many partners results in too much confusion among the staff and even more confusion among your constituencies. And so you can't do too many things at one time.

So I'm very hopeful. I actually think we're starting to head a new direction. I do think that it's an exciting time to be in higher ed and in career services.

What is Steppingblocks for students?

Research your future career with real-world stats about your major, your interests, and your job title. Turn billions of data-points into actionable insights about your future with a few simple clicks. Watch the video to find out how.