You’ve got mail: the COM Messenger sent by email@example.com. Every Wednesday, College of Communication students receive the COM Messenger, an e-newsletter filled with information about internships, jobs, special opportunities and COM career events. Who is the mysterious firstname.lastname@example.org that pays COM student inboxes a weekly visit? Mystery solved: Joyce Greenwood Rogers, director and founder of COM Career Services.
Tucked away on the second floor, Rogers’s Career Services Center remained COM’s hidden gem for the past two decades. When surveying COM students who had graduated in the past 5 years, Dean Tom Fielder found 80% of students did not know the Career Services Center existed. To raise awareness, Fielder decided to move the office to a more visible location—the first floor near Student Services and the Alumni Relations Office. The newly renovated space also allows for constant interaction between the three offices. “Step one was to bring the three pieces together physically to stimulate interaction causing them to work together seamlessly. The philosophy being the whole is greater than the sum of three parts,” said Fiedler. Now, COM’s first floor, right wing serves as the “hub” of resources and services for students.
With her new office, Rogers is at the heart of things. “I was nervous at first. Change is difficult but necessary. The move and all the changes have given us a new attitude. Now, when a student comes into my office, I know I can really help them.” Rogers’s employees also appreciate the new locale. “The new space allows for students to complete their jobs more efficiently and effectively while not being piled on top of each other. It’s a more conducive work space,” said Catherine Manibog, Internship Coordinator (COM ‘11).
The revamped COM career services center also features:
- An interactive website
- LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter
- More internship/job directories and guides
- More Special events
- A larger staff
Students have responded positively to the upgrades. The center’s LinkedIn account, COM Connection, attracted 607 members in just 10 weeks. “I am very, very pleased. That is a large response in over two months, and it is just going to continue to grow,” said Rogers.
1. How did you come up with the idea to start the COM Career Services Center?
In 1986, I was working on the first floor in administration. One morning at 9 a.m., the two associate deans turned into my office and asked me if I would like to start a career office at COM. I got back to them shortly after and said let’s give it a go!
2. How did you go about executing the idea?
We were given a small office on the second floor. I remember the first day we were open, I had a student who wanted his resume critiqued. We were really doing it totally off the cuff at that point. It was not as if you had the Internet to find out what everyone else was doing. I made many appointments. I visited other career offices on our campus and other campuses. I contacted people by mail and telephone—trying to find what would be the best services to offer. It has been developing ever since.
3. In regards to the new COM career services center, did you pitch the idea to Dean Fielder or was the idea part of Dean Fielder’s initiatives?
We spoke, but I am going to give him most of the credit for us moving to the first floor. The space allows for career services, alumni development and student services to interact frequently. I have been here for 34 years and a lot of people have been here a long time as well. In the past, I said hello in the hallway but never really knew my co-workers on the first floor. Now, we are sharing thoughts, ideas, information and a vision of what we can do together.
4. In addition to the newly renovated office space and upgraded online services, what is your future vision for the COM career services center?
Recently, there has been a movement by President Brown to coordinate career services BU-wide. That does not mean we are going to get pulled out of our individual offices and put into one space. A committee of people from all the career offices—excluding the medical school, dental school and law school—is working to create a “single-platform, multi-school environment.” With this program, we can run online recruiting, job fairs, and individual career appointments. Students will have to set up a profile as a freshman, and we will follow them for their four years here. The software pairs students’ interest with job postings. For example:
- A company goes to SMG’s website to post a marketing job in NYC.
- The site says, “Please check off the type of student you would like to apply for this job.” They choose management, marketing, PR, Journalism and English majors.
- The system searches SMG for management and marketing majors, COM for PR and Journalism majors, and CAS for English majors.
- The system posted the job on the different schools’ website using the same platform.
- The software will select the profiles of students in those three colleges who said they were interested in NYC marketing jobs.
- The system sends them an e-mail saying here is a job in which you may be interested.
COM is going to be the pilot school for this program. We are hoping for the single-platform, multi-school environment to be completely functioning in April 2010. I’m nervous, but I’m excited. It is a challenge!