What is your College President FOCUSED on?

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Fundraising, Construction, Admissions, Retention?

I recently attended a pre-homecoming luncheon for a large state college where the president of the university gave a short pep talk about the improvements and changes that are happening on campus.

As you know, my focus, my sole interest is that we find ways to help more grads have jobs on graduation day, so when the president rolled into a rapid fire litany of improvements, I was looking for some direction and clues as to what his cabinet’s plan was to increase the percent of grads with jobs on graduation day.

So I waited.

I heard how the college was investing hundreds of millions of dollars on rehabbing buildings on campus and how a number of buildings were already upgraded to state of the art facilities that “our students deserve.”   The president talked about a strong new partnership with the community which was building a bridge to the town to create a whole new experience for students and alumni and would more importantly to revitalize the town.

Then I heard him talk about the incredible success the college had, of course with the support of alumni, to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for the university so the university can fund scholarships for students.

With a great deal of pride, the president shared how the college had become the second largest college in the state and that their admissions team is continuing to work hard to build on the positive buzz about alumni success, the renovations, new programs added to the college, and the success of the sports program.

Then, finally I heard the president talk about increasing retention of students and doing everything he could do to make sure students graduate on time.

As he ended his presentation, we were challenged to go back to work and make a lot of money to help support the needs of the college.  (Unfortunately it was a beautiful Friday afternoon and I had already planned to take a bike ride!)

To be honest, I was impressed with the progress the relatively new president and his team had made.   The physical campus was reaching a mature level that gave it a luster and “class” that was missing.   It was becoming a place that was sure to attract students, make alumni proud, and keep it higher in national admissions rankings.

However, what I came to hear, what I wanted him to share – was that he was going to invest more resources in the career center, and focus next on increasing the number of grads with jobs on graduation day.   That didn’t happen.

So what does your president focus on?  

  • Fundraising?
  • Building out the infrastructure?
  • Increasing enrollment?
  • Improving retention?

Your president is more than likely focusing on things that he/she and the board feel are critical for your college.  At this point in time, students are not complaining to the administration that the college is not doing enough to prepare them for their first professional job searches.  Parents who are stuck with a huge loan to pay off are not sending letters, emails or calling and complaining.  Even the media and government for the time being are giving the college some slack and not asking them to provide a plan.  Until somebody does, I’m afraid the president, his administration and board will not pay attention to the plight of their graduates – AND alumni!

That’s where YOU can help!

The recent survey by CAB indicates:

  • 55.4 percent of career professionals don’t think grads’ resumes are ready for prime time
  • 48.1 percent don’t think grads are ready for their first professional job searches.

So if you are agree, you need to find ways to get the president’s help to do something about it!

Your job is to remind him or her about your students’ and grads’ needs.  

Try to find ways to get your message across to your boss.  See if you can engage students who are committed to career exploration to become more vocal about their needs.   Make a commitment for 2013 that you will get your president focused on helping more grads get jobs!



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Don Philabaum
Love to find ways to use technology help more grads and alumni develop successful career strategies.
Don Philabaum
Don Philabaum
Don Philabaum

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