2009 Campus Technology Innovators: Career Services
- By Mary Grush, Matt Villano
LAST YEAR, RIT'S Career Services Reporting System helped 3,600 students land more than 5,400
co-op assignments-- full-time work experiences directly related to students' courses of study.
Innovator: Rochester Institute of Technology
By streamlining its reporting process and pushing out
vital data in real time, RIT's Career Services operation is
better serving faculty, staff, and students.
The Rochester Institute of Technology (NY) Office of Cooperative
Education and Career Services is driven by a simple
mission: to empower RIT students and alumni to succeed in
obtaining employment appropriate to their career objectives
and personal goals. That directive has become particularly
critical in these tough economic times, and last year, the
school turned to technology-- in the form of a new Career Services
Reporting System-- to streamline its Career Services
operation and better serve constituents.
Launched in October 2008, the reporting system revolves
around career services management technology from the
NACElink Network, an alliance among the National Association
of Colleges and Employers, DirectEmployers Association,
and Symplicity Corporation. (NACElink's suite of web-based
recruiting and career services automation tools is powered
data from multiple sources, the system provides vital
information to faculty, staff, and students, including reports for
accreditation, job postings, job placement results for specific
academic departments, employer and student activity, and
job evaluation data.
The system automatically transfers the various source data
to a SQL database. Once this information appears in the database,
users can log on through a single sign-on web portal to
view it. They can search the database for specific information
on everything from salaries to résumés, job openings, and
more. Plus, RSS feeds pull the latest real-time job information
from NACElink, career fair employers, career service events,
the student information system, and other sources.
A big part of the system provides information on cooperative
education jobs for students. These "co-ops" are full-time, paid
work experiences directly related to a student's course of study
and career interests, often required by RIT's academic programs.
Students work between 35 and 40 hours per week for
an average of 10 to 20 weeks at a time; co-op jobs can be located
on or off campus, across the country, and even abroad.
Project lead Jim Bondi, assistant director at the school's
Office of Cooperative Education and Career Services, says that
approximately 3,600 RIT students used the system to land more
than 5,400 co-op assignments last year alone. A large number
of co-op jobs are available on campus, in multiple departments.
In fact, RIT used student software developers from the computing
school and a web designer from the design school to work
on the Career Services Reporting System itself.
"Without them, we would not have been able to tackle this
project," says Bondi.
Students and alumni aren't the only ones who use the Career
Services Reporting System; faculty and staff members have
access to it as well, and can utilize it to monitor student activity
and performance throughout the semester. Department hiring
managers also can use the tool to manage interviews, student
employment applications, and the on-campus recruiting program--
all online. And Career Services staff can analyze data for
specific demographics and learning outcomes.
The Career Services Reporting System is constantly evolving.
A new module for the system produces maps so students can
utilize their mobile devices (or a standard web browser) to see
where jobs are located. In addition, RIT technologists have rolled
out a number of modules on the back end to help the system
provide even more information. In particular, new career fair and
kiosk modules allow school employees to scan student IDs at
events; the school can then track student activity with the data.
Down the road, Bondi suggests that other institutions might
benefit from this particular project as well. The school recently
initiated a closed Google Group and MindTouch Express
wiki to share knowledge with other schools interested in
career services management.
Mary Grush is Editor and Conference Program Director, Campus Technology.
Matt Villano is senior contributing editor of this publication.