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Career Navigator Steers Students to 'Major' Decisions

Date: May 17, 2002
By: Martha Ybern
Contact: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos by Colleen Kelley
Archive: General News

For many students, a lot of thought and anguish goes into deciding upon a major. And the decision often drags while students are also trying to survive their first quarters on campus.

UC's Career Navigator Program was developed as a solution. It is a powerful catalyst for educating and empowering students in selecting majors and determining career goals. Julia Larson

The free program offered each quarter by the Career Development Center (CDD) is a six-stage process designed to assist students in selecting a major through an investment of nine hours. "We want to help students realize their potential," says Julia Larson, director of the program for the past four years.

Kelly Lawson-Ferguson, program coordinator, oversees the marketing and all coordination aspects of the program. Through a dedicated team of CDC counselors, students have the advantage of getting a jumpstart on their careers and eliminating potential lag time if they experience major disenchantment.

Larson, a UC graduate with a master's degree in counseling, is a witness to program's effectiveness. She has seen hundreds of students take advantage of the Career Navigator Program, utilizing the program's systematic approach of setting goals, collecting information about their own likes/dislikes and making informed career decisions.

According to Larson, students who enter the program have the opportunity to examine their skills and interest through a series of assessments and workshops. Through individual sessions with counselors, students gain insights into the relationships between these elements and the world of work. Julia Larson and Kelly Lawson-Ferguson

The six stages of Career Navigator include: information assessment session, decision-making workshop, a computerized self-assessment called DISCOVER, a counseling session, a professional forum and follow-up counseling session. Larson says the program has been incredibly successful. Since 1998, nearly 800 students have participated in the program. Those who participated in Career Navigator are retained by UC at a rate of 80 percent, compared with the overall UC retention rate of approximately 70 percent. "We look at the individual students -- at their ecology," says Larson. For each year the program has existed, different components have been evaluated to determine what is working and what isn't. Targeted changes in the program are then planned and implemented to improve the ability to help students.

Student feedback has been positive with overall program ratings from student participants consistently ranging between 4.3 and 5 on a 5-point scale. Particularly successful is stage five of the Creer Navigator Program. This segment allows students to interact with individuals from various professions

Other universities across the country have contacted UC in efforts to develop a similar program. Larson adds that Career Navigator developer Jill Jurgens has published numerous articles on the program, its impact and successes at UC. Now on the faculty at Old Dominion University in Virginia, Jurgens said, "It has been absolutely wonderful witnessing the effects of Career Navigator over the past eight years. I feel passionate about the series and am so proud to have played a role in the development of a program that has had such a positive impact on the lives of so many students."

For more information on career navigator contact Kelly Lawson-Ferguson, program coordinator, at 556-3471. .


 
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