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Search for Career Office Head Begins

By Zareena Hussain
Associate News Editor

Dean for Undergraduate Education Rosalind H. Williams recently appointed a search committee to find a new director of the Office of Career Services and Preprofessional Advising.

The former director, Robert K. Weatherall, left last June for retirement, said Interim Director Elizabeth A. Reed.

Although Weatherall retired last June, the search committee was not formed until the recommendations of the career assistance redesign re-engineering team were recently released.

"That report [from the re-engineering team] was completed just a short time ago. Really the final draft was done in January," Williams said.

"That report formed the basis of the job description," Williams said. "I did not search for a new director until the team completed its report to make sure that the job description matched what the re-engineering team wanted," she said.

Team calls for changes in office

The position of director will be expanded from what it was in the past, said Associate Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering Borivoje Mikic, who heads the committee. The change is because of the greater number of functions that the office will take on as a result of the report on the recommendations of the re-engineering team.

There were five to six principal recommendations made by the re-engineering team, Reed said. One was to strengthen the relationship with academic departments, develop closer ties with faculty and academic administrators, and coordinate all career services so that students know the wealth of services offered at MIT, she said.

"We're not trying to centralize things, but we're trying to make sure we're well coordinated, partly out of a desire for efficiency, but also to make sure that students know where to go," Williams said.

Many recruiting programs take place at the departmental level outside the office. Departments and the office have always tried to coordinate these efforts, Williams said. "A person would go to a department and would work with them to develop career outreach. It's clear that in the future they need to do more of this," she said.

"There are a lot of offices at MIT with overlapping functions," Mikic said. "We want someone who would work in a nicely coordinated way with others."

New technologies impact position

"The emphasis will be on someone who can work Institute-wide," Williams said. Another requirement of the new director will be the ability to recognize the importance of technology in the "mission of career service assistance," she said.

"The biggest change has to do with technology," Reed said. Important new innovations include the availability of job listings and the ability to sign up for interviews via the Internet.

The new director "will have to understand the potential of information technology while keeping one-to-one interactions with employers and students at a premium," Reed said.

Another recommendation of the re-engineering team examining career services was the development of a comprehensive career development program to help students meet the demand of the job market, Reed said.

The program would emphasize effective management, communication, presentation, and teamwork through the use of role-playing workshops.

The search committee will look for candidates from the Institute and elsewhere, Williams said.

"We want to find the best candidate," Mikic said.

"There is no deadline, but we want to find someone by the end of the term," Mikic said.

Career Services Office very busy

This year the Career Services Office witnessed a record number of companies recruiting on campus. The number of companies utilizing career services rose from 393 in 1994 to over 700 this academic year.

"It's been a stressful demand this year," Reed said. While the number of companies recruiting through the office has increased, the number of recruiting staff has remained the same, she said.

"We are severely understaffed," Reed said. "Under the auspices of the new reorganization, we are searching for expanded resources. There is a wealth of resources but it is all scattered."

Dan McGuire contributed to the reporting of this article.