Administration re-envisions Career Services

Last week, Director of Career Services Bob Hvezda left Mercyhurst College to pursue other options, according to Vice President for Student Life Gerry Tobin.

“He left on good terms with us and we wish him well,” Tobin said, not wishing to disclose Hvezda’s reasons for leaving.

Associate Directors of Career Services Frank Rizzone and Kyle Foust will take care of the internships organized by Hvezda.

According to Tobin, the opening of this position caused Student Life to rethink the role of Career Services. Tobin said his department plans to reorganize several areas in the department to create a Center for Experiential Learning.

The person who replaces Hvezda will be the executive director of this new center, which will be responsible for service learning, career development, student engagement and leadership.

“What it’s created is an opportunity to re-envision Career Services,” Tobin said. “One of the things Dr. Gamble has stressed in the last year is how do we justify the private school premium.”

At approximately $34,000 per year, students want to be confident that they will have good graduate school and job opportunities when they graduate.

“As much as we try to keep prices low, compared to state schools Mercyhurst is a big-ticket item,” Tobin said. “We’re looking at all the things that make a student marketable.”

To improve students’ marketability, the new center will attempt to combine students’ extra-curricular activities, leadership positions, service learning and internships into online portfolios.

“Our eventual goal is to develop e-portfolios where all extracurricular activity is recorded….There’s nobody that’s taking paper copies of résumés anymore,” Tobin said.

Another new focus will be giving undecided students a place to discuss their futures.

“Being undecided does not mean you should be unguided….Part of that guidance is getting to know the work world, and part of it is ‘What do I want to do?’” Tobin said.

In addition to changing Career Services, Student Life plans to rethink Mercyhurst’s health services. Director of the Cohen Health Center Christine Dimperio plans to retire at the end of this school year.

Tobin said the administration would like to create a Wellness Center that would oversee the counseling and health centers.

Creating a Wellness Center and a Center for Experiential Learning will not call for new positions; it will merely be a “realignment of responsibilities” for the two existing positions.

The college is currently doing a national search for qualified applicants for these positions.

Once the administration has reviewed résumés, it will invite several applicants to interview. The review process is rigorous and involves representatives from the student body and those departments directly and indirectly affected by the changes.