SEAS Announces New Student Center Benefiting Undergraduate and Graduate Students
Beginning this fall, Program in the Environment (PitE) and SEAS students will have access to more robust services focused on their educational development and career outcomes through the newly created SEAS Student Center.
The SEAS Student Center will be a one-stop academic shop for undergraduate and graduate students that includes admissions and recruitment; grants and scholarship support; student curriculum advising; career services; and various types of student programming and support.
An increase in the number of PitE and SEAS students over the past three years has made it important for the PitE student services team and SEAS Office of Academic Programs (OAP) staff to form a cohesive entity to better address growing student needs and strengthen our community, according to Kim Elliott, who was named Assistant Dean. The design of the new center, which will replace the previous “OAP” name, was based on data and feedback collected from our community, including current student surveys and various meetings with students, faculty, and staff.
Through cross-training staff teams to serve both undergraduate and graduate students and adding more resources, the SEAS Student Center reduces staff inefficiencies and builds staff capacity, while helping to ensure that students in a wide range of environmental programs develop and achieve their academic and professional goals. In addition, to help reduce faculty administrative burden, the center will utilize a diverse team of highly qualified, trained, and experienced student services staff readers to support the review of graduate applications (for specializations that desire this support).
“Our goal is to foster one community among undergraduate and graduate students, which is especially important as we come back together after the pandemic,” said Dr. Shelie Miller, Director of PitE. “In addition to continuing all of our existing programming, our hope is that the Student Center will improve student internship and employment opportunities, as well as strengthen our undergraduates’ connection to the SEAS community and create an immersive experience for them in the Dana Building.”
Since PitE is a jointly managed program between the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) and SEAS, one of the biggest benefits for undergraduates is that they will have access to one-on-one sustainability career coaching and programming through SEAS, as well as more general career resources offered by the LSA Opportunity Hub and the University Career Center. In addition to our existing undergraduate advising resources, PitE students will have access to additional alumni programming, networking, and mentoring opportunities, as well as the ability to participate in career events and workshops, and utilize job market technology, such as JobPulse.
For graduate students, the Student Center will provide support through additional staffing and resources, including more robust career services and the creation of key positions: an employer relations manager, an additional career services coordinator, and a new data analytics specialist to help identify potential employment opportunities through JobPulse and other advanced job search technologies. This position also will equip interested faculty in discussing skills and jobs data from JobPulse with students, and provide services to help faculty pull data to help with writing grants that require employment outcome data.
With the addition of more advising staff, the Student Center will move toward career advising by specialization, which will allow for more focused advising and a deeper dive into that area of study than OAP could offer in the past. Graduate Peer Advisors also will offer open residential and remote office hours where they can discuss course requirements and class options, and share firsthand experience and insights on what it’s like to take specific courses.
“During my time in PitE, my fellow classmates and the more-senior SEAS students opened my eyes to the diversity of careers across the environmental field, knowledge that later helped me in pursuing further education at SEAS,” said Harold Rice (BS ’16, MS ’19). “However, these interactions were largely informal and a result of circumstance. The new SEAS Student Center is a tremendous opportunity to provide a more concrete and formal space for that cross-pollination, and for our diverse student body to assist one another and, in turn, our planet, as we address the issues of our time, namely climate change.”
“One of the key hallmarks of a SEAS education is the broad range of advice and mentoring that students receive,” added Jonathan Overpeck, the Samuel A. Graham Dean at SEAS. “By providing a more robust set of career services, we will further increase job outcomes for our undergraduate and graduate students, as well as heighten the impact their careers will have in society.”
SEAS Human Resources has worked to reorganize staff positions within the new Student Center, which includes all previous PitE and OAP student services staff members. Center staff will begin the process of cross training in August. It is anticipated that the transition will take a year to complete. To connect with the SEAS Student Center team and learn more about updated roles, click here.