Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
The Office of Polar Careers at Ohio Northern University (ONU) was invited to participate in the school’s first annual Farewell Toast for graduating students and fifth-year pharmacy students. While celebrating the accomplishments of the soon-to-be graduates, the office also took the opportunity to provide information that would help these graduates make a smooth transition into their professional lives and gather placement data.
During the April event, ONU President Dan DiBiasio celebrated the achievements of the 234 students in attendance with a champagne toast. The students were welcomed into the alumni association and learned how to transition into becoming alumni.
“We also wanted to provide students with something memorable that would also help them make a smooth transition into their professional lives,” says Nancy Sheely, career adviser. “We have long incorporated resources and training on what has been defined by NACE as career readiness. This starts in the freshman year at ONU with a Four-Year Student Planner detailing activities for students to undertake, broken down by semester for each year.”
For the Farewell Toast, the Office of Polar Careers created a one-page document that provided students with tips for becoming leaders in their new careers. The advice included information about:
- Communicating with confidence;
- Handling disagreements in the workplace;
- Being an emotionally intelligent leader;
- Practicing appreciation for diversity;
- Finding and learning from a mentor;
- Growing a network;
- And more.
“This resource further refined our Emerging Professional Series ‘Professionalism in the Workplace’ presentation that incorporates what we believe are some of the more important skills to conquer and provides a quick reference for students to start working on these skills immediately,” Sheely notes.
In addition to the Office of Polar Careers, several other campus offices, such as the V.P. of student affairs, bookstore, alumni association, and university advancement, staffed tables to congratulate, interact with, and collect information from the students.
Students in attendance received a “Farewell Toast Passport.” Those who gathered stamps from every table at the event were presented with an ONU engraved glass piece to commemorate their time at the university.
The Office of Polar Careers provided five computers, two professional staff, and four para-professional student staff to help graduating students who had not yet submitted their graduate placement information.
“We assisted them in entering their information online at this gathering,” Sheely says. “The graduate placement information is used to create ONU’s Career Outcome reports. The face-to-face interaction and assistance was very successful in encouraging the students to submit their placement information as well as identifying students who may still be struggling with their career search. The placement data gathered is part of the first round of placement reporting as of commencement, so it was important to us to get every student possible to participate prior to graduation.”
Sheely explains that the Farewell Toast was just one activity to gather placement data from the graduating class during the spring semester. As of the Office of Polar Careers’ first official report post commencement, 89 percent of the class had reported their status and, of that number, 72 percent indicated their status as placed.
“The Farewell Toast was an important event to several offices across our campus to ingrain in the students an interest in and commitment to ONU as forever being their alma mater,” Sheely notes. “It’s an important event from the perspective of strengthening relationships between the university and alumni for future employment opportunities and university development. The event was a great success and we look forward to participating in it again.”