Seton Hill University is one of eight colleges and universities nationwide being honored by University Business magazine in its Winter 2016 Models of Excellence recognition program. Sponsored by CASHNet, the Models of Excellence program recognizes innovative approaches to encouraging and nurturing student success on campus.
“Seton Hill’s Fit for the World program integrates career preparation throughout the entire academic cycle, not as an add-on during students’ senior year,” said University Business senior editor Tim Goral. “It treats students’ futures as a number one priority for the university."
"Seton Hill University's Fit for the World career readiness program aims to support the University's mission, in the words of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, 'to fit students for that world in which they are destined to live,'" said Seton Hill President Mary C. Finger, Ed.D. "The University community is proud to be honored by University Business magazine for its efforts to prepare students for their careers and their futures."
"It is an honor to receive the Model of Excellence Award from University Business magazine," said Renée Starek, director of Seton Hill’s Career and Professional Development Center. "It is a clear affirmation that Seton Hill faculty and the Career and Professional Development Center staff have partnered to successfully create a career planning model integrated in academics that will benefit our students."
Added Seton Hill Provost Susan Yochum, SC, Ph.D., "Seton Hill faculty have truly embraced their role in assisting students in the career planning process through their enthusiastic participation in the Fit for the World program. Seton Hill students are seeing success because of the wonderful collaboration between the Career and Professional Development Center and Seton Hill faculty."
While many colleges and universities have rolled out career readiness programs to help graduates make the leap to professional employment, Seton Hill University took the extra step of embedding career preparation into its academic program.
Fit for the World, a four-year career readiness program, blends targeted and personalized career prep work within a liberal arts education.
When Starek arrived at Seton Hill four years ago, the university’s focus was on seniors about to graduate, but Starek felt that was a little late to assess whether students’ majors fit their career plans. So she worked closely with the faculty to spread the work out over all four years.
All freshmen enroll in the required Connections class, which uses an online career planning tool called FOCUS 2 to evaluate each student’s interests, skills and values to determine if their major is the best choice. Students then can confirm they’re on the right track or explore other majors.
During sophomore year, students learn more about career options from faculty in their major, alumni mentors and occupational research assignments. Junior and senior year work is focused more on experiential learning in students’ proposed career fields. And then, in a senior seminar, students complete their professional résumé and use the mock interview platform InterviewStream for practice in presenting themselves.
Fit for the World has impacted retention rates by “helping undeclared students find their place within the university,” said Starek.
It has also transformed the university’s culture. Faculty in all academic departments now work in partnership with the Career and Professional Development Center to support their enhanced role in their students’ success, said Starek.
Recently, she added, Seton Hill surveyed graduating students and found that 97 percent are happy about their post-graduation plans and feel they’re moving in the right direction.
In addition to Seton Hill University, Winter 2016 Models of Excellence honorees include: Bossier Parish Community College (Bossier City, La.); Moravian College (Bethlehem, Pa.); University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, Pa.); Northwood University (Midland, Mich.); SUNY Geneseo (Geneseo, N.Y.); Washburn University (Topeka, Kan.); and Westchester Community College (Valhalla, N.Y.).
“The Winter 2016 Models of Excellence programs are creating opportunities for students that encourage success,” said Edward Worrilow, head of marketing and communications at CASHNet. “We are pleased to recognize their efforts alongside University Business.”
Launched in 2015, Models of Excellence is a national recognition program honoring colleges and universities that have implemented innovative, effective and inter-departmental initiatives bolstering student success. The program is sponsored by CASHNet, a leading payment technology provider in higher education that allows institutions to simplify electronic billing, accept payments all over campus, offer flexible payments plans, create online storefronts, and more all on one secure platform.
About University Business
University Business is the leading publication for senior managers at colleges and universities throughout the United States, reaching 75,000 leaders who manage enrollment, technology, business, finance, facilities and academic affairs. More information is available online.
CASHNet is a leading payment technology provider of secure transaction services to over 700 campuses in higher education, reaching millions of students nationwide. Whether it’s to simplify electronic billing, accept payments all over campus, offer flexible tuition payment plans, or create online storefronts, CASHNet fits everyday campus needs. As a leader in the industry for over 25 years, CASHNet has constantly evolved to create the secure and simplified experience students, payers, and administrators require. More information can be found online.