The possibility of college campuses reopening this fall was the subject that was top of mind for the more than 80 attendees at the biannual Business Career Services Summit. The event, hosted virtually this year by the Lerner Career Services Center at the University of Delaware, was designed specifically for mid-Atlantic business school career services professionals. During the event, attendees discussed new and innovative ideas to enhance business students’ professional development skills and connect students to employers in a virtual environment.
In the event’s opening remarks, Bruce Weber, dean of UD’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, suggested that the current climate and its number of unprecedented adversities present an opportunity to learn and improve existing skills. Weber went on to encourage all attendees to “step up, innovate, support and reach out to each other during the pandemic and racial injustice crisis happening right now.”
According to Jill Gugino Panté, director of the Lerner Career Services Center, the goal of the Summit was “a sharing of ideas, best practices and solutions to common challenges as well as expanding our networks and supporting each other.
“This is one of my favorite communities to gather with professionally, and I end up walking away refreshed and inspired each time we meet,” Gugino Panté said.
Business school career services representatives from the following institutions attended the event: American University, Drexel University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, Loyola University, Penn State University, Princeton University, Rowan University, St. Joseph University, Temple University, University of Maryland, University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, Villanova University and William & Mary.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the majority of career centers at these and other universities will transition their programming to virtual career fairs and networking events in the fall, keeping students, staff and employers’ health and safety a top priority. To do this right, attendees stressed, their universities and employer partners needed to work together to address inequities in student access to technology and the internet. Another concern was the need for enhancing education around the best practices in video networking for students and employers.
“We especially need to encourage employers to be forthcoming to students about the impact of COVID-19,” Gugino Panté noted. “And about how they are doing business and engaging their employee workforce.”
Other topics discussed included reinventing employer recruitment and engagement, transforming student support and career education and international student support.
“I was very excited to participate in the Business School Career Services summit hosted by the University of Delaware,” said Lisa DeLuca, director of undergraduate career services at Drexel’s LeBow College of Business. “Even though we work at ‘competitor schools,’ we are a sharing and supportive group, striving to do the best we can for our students and alumni. As the founding member of this group, it is my favorite time to gather with colleagues to discuss common issues, best practices and, of course, network with each other.”