Often, career services departments are run by one to three individuals and may have some graduate assistants at four-year schools and even fewer staff in community colleges. There is an untapped resource to career coaching—your faculty. Faculty have real world experience in the industry and are already building rapport with students. They are likely already providing career and academic advice, so why not make them a part of the career team?
If you do not already have one, create a career services advisory board that includes faculty. I had the privilege of managing career services and overseeing 20 faculty career coaches and nine faculty resume reviewers for an online university. (Have faculty that can coach on technology careers or marketing; have career coaches that can represent your school’s program offerings.) My board had representation from employers, students, IT, advising, faculty, admissions, and marketing. The key is to have representation from all stakeholders.
I will be honest, I was met with some resistance as faculty were concerned with the time required as well as why it would be needed. However, as we met and they learned more about various career development organizations like the National Career Development Association and NACE, they began to make the connection. In fact, one faculty member joined on their own.
It’s important to develop a career coaching training or credentialing program to use with faculty. I used the Global Career Development Facilitator curriculum. Though faculty have industry knowledge it is also beneficial to reinforce or provide training for them on active listening and other career coaching techniques, as well as career development theory. This would also include training on the use of the tools and products used in your career office for resume building, assessment, portfolio creation, and LinkedIn.
Credentialing adds credibility to the program. Creating a handbook for them to reference as well as ongoing training should also be incorporated. NCDA and NACE offer a variety of career coaching certificates and credentials. Work with your organization and faculty to determine what makes sense as this requires a commitment of time and a budget. It was very important for us to know the outcomes and student experience, so we conducted focus groups and sent surveys to those that use the coaching and resume review services. To increase access and a way to measure quality we incorporated the use of Zoom, web conferencing.
You will want to have a career service management system that has a scheduler for students to schedule coaching sessions or resume review. This should be individualized to the student based on program of study and career paths.
To create a successful faculty coaching program the key is collaboration, including an advisory board, a career services management tool, training and credentialing, use of technology including web conferencing and program evaluation. Additionally, faculty can be instrumental in assisting with internship programs and career development workshops too. If you would like more information or would like to discuss implementing a faculty career coaching program please do not hesitate to reach out to me.