2019-2022 Strategic Plan
Due to a shared commitment to excellence, integrity, inclusion, and collaboration, VCU Career Services was successful in achieving a number of important accomplishments during a particularly unique and challenging three-year period.
Learn more about our team's efforts during this time by reading our 2019-2022 Strategic Plan Outcomes Summary.
Goal 1: Infuse career and professional development into the campus culture.
Career development and career exploration support, experiential learning, and professional endeavors are not solely the job of those working at any of the three Career Services offices at VCU. We feel it is — and rightfully should be — the job of our collective campus community to bolster students’ experiences with considering career possibilities, pursuing opportunities and making thoughtful decisions related to their professional development.
Our aim over the next three years is to find new ways to connect with and provide opportunities to students that have not yet engaged with our office or don’t do so regularly, and those most in need of guidance and support as they navigate the college experience.
Develop a train-the-trainer program for faculty and staff to empower them to have career-related conversations with students and to expand our reach across campus.
- Research other programs.
- Draft the program, including delivery, content, learning outcomes, incentives, marketing and assessments.
- Launch the program, complete with assessments for participants to measure learning outcomes.
- Assess participant data and refine training.
- Host revised program.
Create engaging programs with campus partners to connect with existing communities of students.
- Meet with campus partners and student groups to assess student needs.
- Create programs to fulfill student needs based on liaison feedback.
- Measure outcomes through assessment of students.
- Offer a menu of services and program partnership options for campus colleagues and student organizations.
Design and implement a strategy to create a touchpoint with each undergraduate student during their first year at VCU.
- Present at all first-year and transfer New Student Orientation sessions.
- Create UNIV 101 modules with career content and train faculty to deliver.
- Work with faculty to deliver career information to key classes.
- Update career curriculum content on the website and engage faculty in using it.
Tailor individualized campaigns to educate students and encourage them to reflect and be proactive in their own career development.
- Determine student populations to target via CSI, FWS, appointments, program and employer data.
- Send messaging to targeted student populations.
- Increase visibility on campus with spontaneous, positive interactions to disrupt students’ typical patterns.
- Explore creating a career audit tool.
- Contribute career readiness language to REAL task force.
Partner with alumni and employers to expose students to career options and industries and to provide opportunities for intentional engagement.
- Create menu for alumni and employers to engage in multiple ways.
- Market VCULink to students during appointments and presentations to encourage alumni engagement.
- Market VCULink to alumni and employers (“friends of VCU”) and encourage them to flash-mentor students through the site.
Goal 2: Utilize technology to better connect and expand access to career and industry resources.
We want to be known as a hub for relevant career information and a source of knowledge and encouragement for students exploring careers and majors; applying for jobs, internships and graduate school; preparing for interviews; and making career decisions — not just in person, but also 24/7 online.
We are committed to offering more dynamic online content for our stakeholders and finding ways to be more accessible when students need access to our insight and resources. Lastly, we are imagining ways that technology can improve the student experience in our office space and with our events on campus, and are excited about streamlining to better connect and assess our impact.
Compile, develop and provide digital resources to increase student and alumni career knowledge.
- Convert/update existing documents, resources and information on the website.
- Partner with alumni relations to survey what career needs/resources alumni require.
- Benchmark peer and regional institutions to see what resources they offer/have available.
- Revamp and populate a Career Services YouTube channel with informational programs and presentations.
- Develop and implement online/webinar career workshop series.
Engage students, alumni and employers by utilizing social media platforms and updating web presence.
- Expand communications team by hiring one or more graduate assistants.
- Benchmark other career and higher ed-related podcasts to start developing ideas/content for ours.
- Gather and publish student and alumni success stories.
- Benchmark and research other offices, institutions and companies to ascertain what ADA-compliant chatbot programs and capabilities they use for 24/7 engagement.
- Partner with employers and alumni for social media campaigns and takeovers highlighting different types of careers and employers.
Research and benchmark current and possible vendors and technologies to ensure we are utilizing the most effective hardware and software available.
- Update conference room to include space or options for students and staff to use for training, classroom, interviews and Zoom.
- Establish a review board to review external vendors.
- Complete an annual review of technology inventory each fiscal year.
- Benchmark and inventory existing funding options, including HEETF and STF, within VCU and from private sponsors from the local community and nationally for technological advancements.
- Assess and benchmark check-in processes and technology to better direct students/traffic flow.
Goal 3: Enrich VCU Career Services employer engagement and opportunities through data and analytics.
One of the important ways VCU Career Services supports our students and alumni is through creating and bolstering relationships and designing events and programs that provide ways for them to directly access and engage with employers interested in hiring Rams. Our goal is for VCU to become a prime, reliable source of talent for organizations along the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia corridor, and beyond.
We hope to work toward deepening our employer partnerships to create mutual investment and to expand and advance opportunities for students at VCU. From workforce development to helping design the future of careers and organizations that don’t yet exist, we are energized by the possibilities of what more intentional engagement between our office and the employment community will mean for VCU students and graduates, the university, the commonwealth of Virginia and our region.
Establish baseline knowledge of employer engagement.
- Use Handshake to generate reports for the previous fiscal year that show employers who have engaged in events and career fairs on campus, employers who have posted opportunities, postings for which students have applied, and students who were hired into posted opportunities.
- Conduct outreach to local employers to collect qualitative data on their outreach, engagement and hiring experience with VCU.
- Enrich connections and grow a network of employer partners through in-person meetings and site visits.
Expand structured experiential opportunities for students to engage in career and professional development.
- Benchmark current experiential opportunities offered by VCU Career Services.
- Benchmark experiential opportunities offered by universities with similar characteristics as VCU.
- Assess opportunities based on necessary resources, and prioritize for implementation based on viability.
- Create industry site visits (Career Treks), panels and programs.
- Develop a budget to support initiatives prioritized for implementation.
- Identify and collaborate with employers and campus partners to set learning outcomes and implement offerings.
Develop and launch an employer sponsorship program.
- Benchmark employer sponsorship opportunities offered by universities with similar characteristics to VCU.
- Meet with the Office of Development and Alumni Relations team to gain an understanding of fundraising processes and compliance at VCU.
- Establish a task force to develop a framework for an employer sponsorship program.
- Collaborate with Student Financial Services to establish policies and procedures to accept sponsorships; partner with team members to engage with Student Financial Services.
- Develop communications and marketing plans and goals.
- Launch employer sponsorship program.
Goal 4: Research and design a funding strategy to support student experiential learning and professional development.
A common passion for the VCU Career Services team is providing access to a diverse array of experiential learning opportunities that help students make well-informed career decisions, while also understanding that true accessibility means making this type of engagement financially feasible for students across socioeconomic backgrounds.
We hope to put in the research to bring funding options and sources that exist at VCU and beyond into one place and develop a separate and sustainable funding program that our office can manage for the benefit of students.
Benchmark with other institutions that have funding opportunities within career services offices.
- Research funding strategies at other institutions, frequency of distribution, purpose of funds, terminology, method of advertising to students, who manages the fund (dedicated position, group of staff, etc.) and any items of note.
Inventory existing funding options within VCU, the local community, and national grants.
- Research additional funding opportunities available to VCU students, including distribution method, frequency of distribution, the purpose of funds, terminology, method of advertising and any other items of note.
- Develop a plan for all the information that is collected to be shared with the VCU community.
Develop a sustainable fund managed by Career Services to assist students participating in experiential learning.
- Develop a funding goal amount that will sustainably run the program.
- Work with the Student Success leadership to create an account to store funds; partner with team members to engage with Student Financial Services.
- Meet with the Office of Development and Alumni Relations staff to discuss fundraising methodologies.
Create an ongoing administrative process for funding strategy management for experiential learning.
- Create a proposal for a staff member to manage all aspects of the fund.
- Write out a plan for all logistics and processes for each constituent group.