Career Center and Registrar’s Office to Undergo Merger

Sarah Mazer ’19, Senior Reporter

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The Career Center and the Advising Office, which both reside in Biddle House, will merge into one office with the goal of “effective advising,” according to Dickinson’s Strategic Plan III.

Strategic Plan III was released in early 2018, and under the heading of “The Dickinson Student Experience,” objective two specifically enumerates “integrating the Advising Office, Career Center,” noting that it is the college’s responsibility to provide appropriate support towards planning for graduate study and career.

“As long as our staff was separated… we could never provide truly ‘seamless advising, said Associate Provost and Dean of Advising Damon Yarnell, and Dean of Career Development and Assistant Vice President for Student Life Phil Jones in a joint statement. 

Yarnell and Jones explained that the merge will help the college “engage every student from their first semester at the college,” explaining, “no matter whether a student starts college with clear professional goals or hasn’t yet given career much thought, whether they…go directly to graduate school, work on Wall Street, or found a [non-governmental organization], the sooner we can start a conversation, the better.” 

Yarnell said the merger “seems appropriate and rational,” because students’ career goals and major decisions often overlap. He said separating career aspirations and academic interests seemed “very artificial.”

Jones, who has served as an academic advisor in the past, said he is “completely confident that this merger at Dickinson will help us to better help students” and that the merge will “provide more coherence and continuity to [student’s] meetings with the staff in Biddle House.”

Aboody Rumman ’20, peer advisor for Academic Advising and student career coach for Career Center, said “this will definitely improve the student experience and also be more convenient for students in many ways.” He expects his positions to “eventually be more streamlined.”

Jackie Joyce ’19, who currently works as a peer advisor, said “It’s about time that they merged” and added that the two departments are “super-interconnected.” 

Yarnell explained the new office is organized into teams of staff dedicated to academic advising, career development, internships and externships, and alumni career services. He said two new committees have been formed: the Programming and Communications Committee, and the Employer and Alumni Relations Committee. According to Yarnell, staff will continue to specialize in academic advising or career services, though over the course of the upcoming year, they will engage in cross training and will “shadow” members across the department. 

A top priority of the new department will be delivering workshops and presentations to “groups of students who share a particular interest or commitment,” including academic subjects, campus jobs and activities. 

According to Yarnell and Jones, further information regarding the name of the new department and logistics of the merge will be released in coming weeks. Complete reorganization of the offices is likely to take the remainder of the academic year.