2022-2026 Strategic Plan
VCU Career Services has launched an ambitious new strategic plan to guide their endeavors from Fall 2022-Spring 2026 in service of students, alumni, employer and community partners, and our many other important stakeholders on-and off-campus.
- IDENTITY & CAREER - Honor the intersections between identity and career through engaging, data-driven programs and services.
- CAREER READINESS & STUDENT SUCCESS - Champion career readiness and student success through education and outreach to faculty, staff, students, and families.
- COLLABORATION & ACCESS TO OPPORTUNITY - Increase access to experiential learning opportunities and career development resources through collaboration with employer, community, and campus partners.
- SUSTAINABLE SUPPORT & INTENTIONAL GROWTH - Boost capacity for sustainably supporting students and stakeholders through an intentional focus on staff retention, professional development, and team growth.
Goal 1: Honor the intersections between identity and career through engaging, data-driven programs and services.
As students, alumni, and professionals engage in career development experiences, everything from the goals they set and refine, to the mentors and advisors they seek counsel from, to how they present themselves in applications and interviews, to the opportunities they are presented with and decisions they make is impacted by the salient identities they hold. We know that a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice requires constant dedication, evolution, and humility, and our team will be working to meet students where they are in every sense of the phrase.
Through new and expanded services, resources, programs, events, experiential learning, and employment opportunities, VCU Career Services wants to support individuals holistically as they move through the career development process, providing opportunities for them to feel seen, heard, connected, and empowered as they work to achieve their own unique vision of success at graduation and well beyond.
Refine program and service feedback and evaluation process to amplify student participation and representation, including increased support for underserved student populations.
- 1.1.1 - Identify and report on which student groups have a gap in service, participation, or satisfaction, and where the greatest areas of need exist for each population.
- 1.1.2 - Regularly collect and utilize direct student feedback through multiple mediums to determine impact and effectiveness.
- 1.1.3 - Review current learning outcomes through an equity lens to streamline program and service evaluation.
Meet student needs through identity-focused programming and resources with deliberate support from on-campus partners.
- 1.2.1 - Begin updating materials across mediums and languages, striving toward language justice, reducing barriers and increasing accessibility.
- 1.2.2 - Collaborate to develop, implement, and evaluate programs focused on identity and career intersections.
Utilize marketing and communications to effectively reach and connect with students, with intentional focus on underserved populations.
- 1.3.1 - Create targeted outreach campaigns and resources for specific underserved populations.
- 1.3.2 - Update website and external communications to more comprehensively display commitment to and thought leadership on identity and career intersections.
Goal 2: Champion career readiness and student success through education and outreach to faculty, staff, students, and families.
Building upon the many ways we were able to infuse career development into the campus community conversation over the last few years, our team wants to take VCU’s investment in career readiness to the next level, supporting strategic student success initiatives and creating shared language and processes to bolster individual and institutional confidence in career development concepts and competencies.
We want to make sure that the definition of career readiness we utilize at VCU matches the distinction of our students and academic programs, and that we can flex to meet the needs of students and graduates, as well as employers across a variety of sectors that seek to hire our graduates. Not only will we be finding ways to make meaningful connections to career readiness skills for students, but we will also intentionally involve faculty, staff, families, and other stakeholders in the process, knowing that student success is the goal and responsibility of everyone involved and engaged in the college experience.
Assess and evaluate the climate of career readiness at VCU.
- 2.1.1 - Benchmark peer institution best practices for incorporating career readiness into their campus culture.
- 2.1.2 - Solicit Employer Advisory Board feedback on career readiness priorities and hiring needs.
- 2.1.3 - Define VCU-specific career readiness competencies that take into account the distinct needs and experiences of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.
- 2.1.4 - Survey VCU faculty to measure current inclusion of career readiness content within course syllabi.
- 2.1.5 - Assess VCU students regarding career readiness.
Develop and design a career readiness initiative to engage and educate VCU students, strengthening the links between academic disciplines and career pathways.
- 2.2.1 - Create career readiness blueprints for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.
- 2.2.2 - Develop specific programming and resources to address student career readiness gaps.
- 2.2.3 - Deliver and assess career readiness programming in both synchronous and asynchronous formats to support students and course instructors.
Build and share a career readiness initiative to engage and educate VCU faculty, staff, families, and other stakeholders.
- 2.3.1 - Collaborate faculty and staff to implement new College-to-Career Blueprint across the College of Humanities and Sciences.
- 2.3.2 - Revise and relaunch VCU Career Champions Program for faculty and staff with a focus on career readiness and scalability.
- 2.3.3 - Infuse career readiness concepts into family-focused programs, services, and resources.
Goal 3: Increase access to experiential learning opportunities and career development resources through collaboration with employer, community, and campus partners.
Opening doors for students and alumni to new and exciting professional opportunities can only happen in sustainable ways through intentional collaboration and strategic partnerships that help all parties move towards their goals. VCU is a major hub in the region, and increasingly the nation, for talented students and graduates that are ready to serve as innovators, thought leaders, and contributors within a diverse array of industries and sectors.
VCU Career Services is uniquely positioned to serve as the critical link between students, alumni, employers, community partners, and various departments on campus, especially when it comes to bolstering experiential learning and career development opportunities. In the years ahead, we will work to further solidify key partnerships, better educate the campus and broader community on VCU student and graduate employment outcomes and ways they can support success for all students, and expand means of funding student experiences to provide access and equity for as many students as possible.
Reinforce VCU as a talent resource for local and regional organizations.
- 3.1.1 - Develop method for tracking student and alumni hiring/retention data with a key list of employer partners.
- 3.1.2 - Host an alumni-specific career fair in partnership with Alumni Relations.
- 3.1.3 - Strategically share information about VCU graduate and intern common destinations with campus community and regional employers.
Build and leverage partnerships to amplify experiential learning opportunities.
- 3.2.1 - Enhance relationships and collaborations related to the Virginia Talent + Opportunity Partnership, ChamberRVA, and other regional workforce development initiatives/organizations.
- 3.2.2 - Deepen relationship and collaboration with VCU REAL, including preparing staff to advise students on meeting established REAL graduation requirement.
- 3.2.3 - Expand relationships with VCU Transfer Center, Virginia Community College System, and other higher education institutions in the Richmond region.
- 3.2.4 - Increase access for graduate students to experiential learning, including a specific focus on funded/paid opportunities.
Analyze impact and expand reach of initiatives that fund student experiential learning.
- 3.3.1 - Assess and sustainably expand the VCU Career Services Employer Partner Program.
- 3.3.2 - Assess and sustainably expand the VCU Internship Funding Program.
- 3.3.3. - Refine Federal Work-Study program student and employer training and expectations to provide robust experiences that standardize mentorship and reflection.
- 3.3.4 - Expand impact of and publicly-available information about the JLD program.
- 3.3.5 - Pursue grants or other revenue sources to support student experiential learning and programs.
Intentionally inform and involve campus colleagues and key stakeholders in employer and experiential development initiatives.
- 3.4.1 - Obtain feedback from campus colleagues regarding key employer and experiential development data and success metrics.
- 3.4.2 - Develop and implement a communication plan with campus colleagues and key stakeholders to amplify VCS employer engagement efforts and opportunities.
- 3.4.3 - Create and share EED-specific website content to streamline and support faculty and staff employer engagement and experiential program development.
- 3.4.4 - Host events bringing together faculty and staff across campus with key employer partners, promoting connection, collaboration, and understanding.
Goal 4: Boost capacity for sustainably supporting students and stakeholders through an intentional focus on staff retention, professional development, and team growth.
As we dream big regarding what is necessary and possible regarding supporting VCU students, recent graduates, campus and employer/community partners, we acknowledge that accomplishing our goals requires people power. Growing and retaining talented team members is vital to our stakeholders feeling taken care of, and that there is continuity and room to do more and better, versus focusing time and attention on patching holes and trying to refill positions.
We want staff members at VCU Career Services to feel prepared, supported, and like there is room to develop and advance from day one, and to continue to grow our team strategically in the direction of student needs, now and well into the future. From onboarding to professional development, managing transitions to showing up authentically at work every day, we are proud of the work environment we have already built within VCU Career Services, and are also dedicated to continuous improvement and our long-term visions for professional and student staff development that will ensure we never stop evolving and working hard to keep great people here at VCU.
Evaluate and explore potential staffing structures and resources to grow the team.
- 4.1.1 - Benchmark and compile a report regarding staff structures and salaries, utilizing national and both peer and aspirational institution comparative data.
- 4.1.2 - Inventory current and potential revenue streams and funding models to fund future staff positions.
- 4.1.3 - Conduct internal role audit and survey VCS advisory boards to identify gaps and opportunities related to staffing that best reflects VCU student and stakeholder needs.
- 4.1.4 - Propose updated 5-year staffing plan based on comprehensive data collection.
Develop a structured and personalized learning and core skill development plan for staff members during their first twelve months in their role.
- 4.2.1 - Inventory current team onboarding resources, trainings, and timelines.
- 4.2.2 - Develop self-paced onboarding checklist specific to each staff role.
Create sustainably-paced career and professional development plans for staff beyond their first year with VCU Career Services to promote individual growth and retention.
- 4.3.1 - Conduct an internal audit and gap analysis for all staff positions to determine key skills and experiences required to be eligible for advancement.
- 4.3.2 - Design and implement a professional development menu for staff members based on role and/or experience level.
Develop standardized, comprehensive succession plan to anticipate and inform team transitions.
- 4.4.1 - Update position descriptions and document evergreen partnerships and programs for each professional staff role.
- 4.4.2 - Develop standardized team-based transition checklist and timeline for use across the department.
Encourage staff members to engage across their own intersections of identity and career, while also challenging themselves to learn and grow as leaders who value diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice.
- 4.5.1 - Create an internal Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee to coordinate and promote training and development in this area.
- 4.5.2 - Set annual team and individual goals related to fostering new knowledge and finding University and community involvement opportunities related to identity and DEI.
- 4.5.3 - Enhance staff member engagement in social justice advocacy related to their current professional role and/or personal interests.