Western Carolina University’s Center for Career and Professional Development moved in September to newly renovated space in Reid Gymnasium, a location that not only gives the center twice the amount of space it previously had, but that also has a more modern feel, the center’s director, Theresa Cruz Paul, said.
“I had an employer stop by who just happened to be on campus, and they came in the front door and were pretty surprised and happy to see a nice center that they can come and hang out in and have their own space,” Cruz Paul said. “The students seem to be reacting nicely to it, so that’s good.”
The center has its own entrance into Reid, facing Memorial Drive and a new metered parking lot. Inside, it features a conference room that can be used for information sessions with prospective employers and webinars for students. There are two interview rooms for students to meet one-on-one with employers, or students can reserve them for Skype interviews with them, Cruz Paul said.
“I think we’re finally starting to figure out what exactly we’re offering students and how to offer it in the best way for Western,” she said. “I think it’s time for students to really start building and developing themselves personally, and they’re starting to do that across campus, which is nice.”
Prior to moving, the biggest change Cruz Paul had implemented since coming to WCU in 2015 was changing the name from the Office of Career Services to a more encompassing title that supports the extended services the center now offers. Those services include resume-writing, cover letters, mock interview sessions, job and internship searching, career counseling, vocational testing, preparation for graduate school applications, virtual workshops and webinars. Services are available to current undergraduate and graduate students, as well as WCU alumni.
Moving forward, Cruz Paul said she would like to see more use of technology in the career center, along with more engagement and employer opportunities so that students have time to interact with employers both on and off campus in meaningful ways.