Campus News

New Career Design Center takes innovative approach to helping students find jobs

The new Career Design Center redefines the career experience for UB students.

By CHARLES ANZALONE

Published April 15, 2021

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Arlene Kaukus.
“Especially in this changing world, our graduates will be required to reimagine themselves many times in a lifetime. Our goal is to provide them with the skills and mindset to do that successfully. ”
Arlene Kaukus, director
Career Design Center

UB’s Career Services takes a new approach today to helping students find meaningful careers, creating an “ecosystem” and “village” to inspire and challenge students to imagine and design meaningful lives and careers.

The innovative approach, which emphasizes career life exploration and trying new things, changes the name of the office to Career Design Center. But the shift goes beyond the name change, its organizers say, to build on recent changes to the essential services students rely on to help their transition beyond graduation, and also adds numerous new features.

The transition to Career Design Center incorporates the process of Design Thinking, which developed out of Stanford University by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, who wrote the book “Designing Your Life.”

“The focus of Design Thinking is to embrace the iterative, creative process that incorporates exploration and trying things,” says Arlene Kaukus, director of the former office of Career Services and the new Career Design Center.

“Especially in this changing world, our graduates will be required to reimagine themselves many times in a lifetime. Our goal is to provide them with the skills and mindset to do that successfully.”

The new Career Design Center seeks to build a robust career network accessible to all students, with faculty, employer partners and alumni as active contributors. A key component of the office’s transformation into the Career Design Center is to “recognize, celebrate and link efforts with others on campus, such as faculty, who are significant influences on students’ career pathways and choices,” Kaukus says.

 “It is intended to create an ecosystem of influencers and champions across campus for every student as they make their life and career choices,” she explains. “This is truly a concept of a ‘village’ or their own ‘board of directors.’

“Our belief is that discovery results in growth and that discovery should be a continuous part of the UB journey for all students through which they clarify their interests, build connections, identify their strengths and build resilience to continuously alter their career and life.”

A one-page highlight explains the themes of change and flexibility: “The average person will have 12-plus jobs in their lifetime,” according to the message. “Students must be empowered to see, learn and try new experiences that change their perspective. Design studio experiences will create opportunities for students to embrace a growth mindset where career and life collide.”

Innovations of the Career Design Center include Career Communities, an integral component of the office’s transformation, along with the development of a 24/7 Career Design Studio, scheduled to launch to students in fall 2021.

The Career Design Center also has produced a video, “Real stories about discovery and opportunity,” that highlights key changes, features and the philosophy behind those actions.

“With the rapid pace of change in our economy and across every industry, our students and graduates need the skills to be adaptable,” says Christina Hernandez, interim vice president for student life. “With the renewed focus of the Career Design Center, we have an unprecedented opportunity to lead customized connections and career communities in support of helping students develop core success skills in support of their post-graduation outcomes.”

For more information, go to the Career Design Center's website.