A Call for Greater Partnerships

My business cards would tell you that I’m a University Staffing Consultant, a glamorized name for University Recruiter.  But I might tell you that I’m an academic advisor, a student activities director, a financial aid counselor, an orientation leader, and a career mentor.  I spend my days working with college students not as an employee of a college or university, but as an employee of Microsoft.  And let me tell you, it sometimes feels like the exact same thing.

After graduating from SU, I made the very intentional decision to “leave” higher education, returning to the corporate environment I’d called home before joining the SDA program.  Here was an environment, a company, and a job that seemed to perfectly meld my interests in both business and education.  I now find myself at the crux of a student’s transition between university and career, a place that, I believe, represents a huge growth area for both higher education and the world of industry. I get to be the person who gives these students their first job, who helps them decide between grad school and a job offer, who walks alongside them as they adjust to being an adult and making adult decisions. It is simultaneously exhilarating and humbling.

So often, I think we limit our scope to what our current role entails. When I worked in higher education, my blinders gave me a view into academic advising and educational planning. Now that I work in corporate, my blinders admittedly give me a view into recruiting and sometimes even prompt frustrations with some of the processes of higher education.

What I would like to propose, and what I hope to spend my career working towards, is a greater partnership between the two sectors. I firmly believe that creating a partnership between higher education and the private sector can only help the students we serve. As student or academic affairs professionals, we prepare students and send them. As those working in other sectors—including both the private and non-profit sectors—we receive students. What I believe we need to address is the in between. How can we better prepare and send students? How can we better receive them? What role can all of us play in addressing what is, for many students, the largest transition they have faced?

I would love to engage in this conversation with all of you, whether on this blog or offline. You can reach me by email at kelli.muilenburg@gmail.com.

– Kelli Muilenburg,  SDA Class of 2013

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