Earlier this month, University of Puget Sound’s Compass Puget Sound program was awarded the National Association of Colleges and Employers 2019 Career Services Excellence Award in the small school category.
Jointly developed by Puget Sound’s experiential learning program and Career and Employment Services, Compass Puget Sound relies on four brief, reflective conversations between student staff members and their supervisors to develop meaningful, mentor-based relationships. Internal studies have shown that students who participate in the program demonstrate a stronger connection to campus; better recognize links between their academic learning and on-campus employment; and report enhanced critical thinking, verbal communication, and time management skills.
Program co-creator Elizabeth Wormsbecker ’05 (pictured) experienced Puget Sound's student employment program firsthand as an undergraduate student working with Security Services. “In my role as a dispatcher, I developed the confidence to know I could handle stressful situations and learned how to build strong professional relationships,” Wormsbecker says.
“I’m proud to be an alumna and now staff member at Puget Sound, where we strive to create an inclusive environment—where every student has access to opportunities that help them build career-related competencies that employers value,” continues Wormsbecker. “Compass Puget Sound is a prime example of that commitment, with campus supervisors playing a key role in the success of the program.”
Director of Career Services Alana Jardis Hentges says that outcomes from the program have exceeded expectations. “More than half of Puget Sound students work on campus for at least one semester,” she says. “Compass Puget Sound leverages that experience and shifts the narrative such that part time jobs are recognized as high-impact experiences.”
“This program provides access to important career skill development,” adds Renée Houston, associate dean for experiential learning and Compass Puget Sound co-creator. “Students emerge from their on-campus employment better able to make career-related decisions, to articulate their value to an employer, and to enter the workforce prepared to establish themselves as competent and confident team members.
"As we continue to craft authentic, whole-person experiences for our students, we’re honored that the work we’ve accomplished has been recognized by our national peers.”
Visit pugetsound.edu/compass to learn more about Compass Puget Sound