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Recognizing outstanding initiatives in college and university career services. 

2022 Winners

  • Belmont University

  • Cal State Fullerton

  • Endicott College

  • New York University

  • Santa Clara University

2022 Winners

Belmont University

Explore, Prepare, Connect, Flourish: Embedding Career Readiness

Embedding career readiness into the curriculum is a priority at Belmont University. Through steady attention and intentional relationship building, we are making great progress and have multiple, scalable, career readiness touch points with a majority of students in the Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business at Belmont University. Our first win began in 2020, when staff presented to each MBU 2000 class (pre-req for all students interested in completing an internship for credit) and worked alongside instructors to incorporate the assignment of cover letter, resume, and reference document approvals within Handshake into the class curriculum. This assignment resulted in a 32% increase in online resume reviews and we’ve maintained an upward trend as this is now standard practice for this course. The disruption created by COVID and resulting shift to online programming and compressed semesters led us to innovate and ultimately helped us to achieve our goals. Through delivery of a Senior Strategy 5‐Step Guide we are now fully integrated into the CEMB Senior Capstone Course, a requirement for all seniors. Working with faculty, the team created five reflection assignments and video content designed to guide students in developing their post‐graduate job search strategy. The video is delivered in the courses and embedded into email communication to CEMB seniors. That shift resulted in over 800 students engaging in material. The completion of this goal has resulted in positive career conversations across campus. The faculty are more equipped to share career guidance with students and students are receiving the information and making progress on their career goals before they schedule their career coaching appointment. Overall, the Senior Strategy 5‐Step Guide continues to grow as an integral part in our students’ education at Belmont. Through intentional faculty partnerships, the creation of targeted content and the comprehensive distribution of materials via multiple formats —we’ve successfully embedded career readiness.

New York University

Integrating Wellness and Career: Embedding skill development in first year wellness course through Career Accelerator Certificate

The Wasserman Center embedded the Violet Ready skills into RADical Health classes for first year students in Fall 2021. Violet Ready skills are based on NACE competencies and are transferable skills that employers seek in candidates. RADical Health is an interactive four-week program that provides students with critical wellness resources in a cohort setting, empowering them to conquer the semester with confidence and peer connections. On the surface, career services and RADical Health seem unrelated. However, this innovative collaboration demonstrated the benefits of introducing skill development within non-traditional career courses. Ultimately, this approach reaches students that may not have engaged with career resources in their first year. All students who participated in the RADical health course (2,807) were introduced to one Violet Ready skill each week by their instructor, related to that week’s wellness content. The four Violet Ready skills embedded in the curriculum were Reflection, Self-Awareness, Communication and Collaboration. After each class, students were invited to complete a career related assignment. Those who finished the four assignments received a "Career Accelerator" certificate. The homework assignments and certificates were both opt-in and 373 first year students completed all four career assignments and received the certificate. We collected data on completion of assignments and asked students to outline their career related next steps after this course. Nine themes emerged from that data, examples including resume building, applying to internships, meeting with a career coach, and networking. Two months after completing the course, we sent a Qualtrics survey to students who received the certificate to determine how they have engaged with career services since participating in the course, as well as their satisfaction with the certificate incentive in general. We also offered an optional 15 minute interview to collect qualitative feedback. 90% of students agreed that participating in the Career Accelerator Activities made them think about their career development or path beyond NYU. Two months after completing the course, students engaged with Wasserman or their career development in the top four ways: 31% Explored additional Wasserman Resources 22% Worked on resume or cover letter 14% Joined a club or volunteer opportunity 12% Applied to a job or internship Additionally, 95% of students would participate in additional skill development training or certificate programs in the future. The impact is evident. Even 2 months after the course, first year students continued to think about their career trajectory and began interacting with the Wasserman center. We are achieving our objective of early exposure and equity in access to career services. This was the first time Wasserman incorporated the Violet Ready skills into an academic class and used a certificate incentive. The success of this pilot and student feedback is encouraging. It provides a model of embedding career skills and assignments into the academic curriculum —one we hope to build upon. We are actively exploring other courses outside of the first-year experience to introduce this model.

Cal State Fullerton

I Am First program

The I am First to… Empower, Explore, and Execute program was designed to provide students with the tools and resources to become Empowered, Educated, and able to Execute their goals. This program consists of a cohort-based model that aims to provide freshmen through senior first-generation college students with the tools, resources, and confidence they need to pursue their career-related goals. The mission of the program is to work toward increasing retention rates and closing the equity gap of underrepresented students at CSUF. Another key component of the program is providing a sense of belonging among the students in each of the cohorts through intentional programming and connecting them to CSU Fullerton alumni and an opportunity to be matched with a mentor. Being that this program has had a multifaceted approach to several components of student success, and considers an intentionally holistic approach to better serve our first-generation college students, it has grown traction across campus and other departments beyond the Career Center have now tailored the model and framework into their programs. For example, the College of the Arts at CSUF developed their I am First: I am an Artist program in collaboration with the Career Center at CSUF. This version of the program was designed to support first-generation college students explore career options in the arts. In 2021 we partnered with Career Launch which has also added a great value to the program and students through the addition of Career Launch Workbooks, Micro-Learning Texts, and Career Readiness Assessments. The success of this program has been measured by several assessment tools including both qualitative and quantitative data along with the Career Launch Readiness data analytics dashboard. The inaugural Spring 2020 cohort of I Am First participants showed an overall student retention rate of 97.5% for our first-time freshmen. However, one of the measures of success that can’t always be quantified is the level of social and cultural capital that the students gain from completing the program. Several gain the confidence, empowerment, and courage to take on other opportunities on and off-campus, such as student leadership opportunities, on-campus jobs, serving as peer mentors, taking on internship opportunities, and so on.

Santa Clara University

Widespread Career Curriculum Used to Increase Enrollment and Student ROI

Embedding social capital curriculum throughout Santa Clara University’s ecosystem has provided staff, faculty, and students with common language for career development best practices. We leveraged key champions in our Career Influencers Network to expand the great cross-campus program established by our Career Services team. We view career services as a social justice issue given the data about underrepresented students utilizing opt-in services. Another equity issue we’ve identified is access to social capital. We’ve taken deliberate steps to combat these challenges by implementing teachings about social capital creation in credit-bearing classes (College of Engineering, Leavey School of Business, and the LEAD scholars first-gen courses), community-based programming with the Latinx Leadership Incubator, the Ciocca Center for Entrepreneurship, the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, the Leavey School of Business, and the first-generation program (LEAD Scholars). We utilized the Career Launch social capital curriculum in each instance. These efforts at Santa Clara University have resulted in: 84.4% of Santa Clara University students who have completed the Career Launch program have had an internship prior to graduation. It has provided more valuable talking points in our recruitment efforts. The Undergraduate Admission Office admitted an incredibly diverse and accomplished Class of 2026 from a total of 16,641 applications, the second-largest applicant pool in SCU history. From an enrollment and admissions vantage point, we view our social capital efforts as a difference-maker and a competitive advantage both in terms of recruiting prospective students and increasing student ROI by increasing experiential learning, internships, and strong first jobs.

Endicott College


Description: DEI@Work is a self-paced, non-credit, online course designed to educate students on the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) in the workplace. As a college that requires three internships for all students, we strive to prepare our students to succeed in the workplace, and a crucial part of that preparation is helping them understand the impact of bias, stereotypes, and privilege in a work setting, as well as how DEIB benefits the workplace. Because the content is delivered using Canvas, it is very familiar and easy to navigate for our students, as well as easily replicable by others using any LMS. Process: Any student, faculty, and staff member can enroll; it takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete. A number of faculty make DEI@Work an assignment for their course. Each module begins with a brief introduction to define the topic, followed by a set of slides and brief videos and/or readings that go into more detail, provide examples and cite studies, etc. Each module ends with a reflection assignment. Outline of material covered a reflection topic: Identity Topics: key tenets of identity; descriptions/examples of psychosocial identities; microaggressions; overview of protected identities in the workplace. Reflections: 1) describe identities that they think of most/least often and are most likely to impact them in the workplace. 2) watch TedTalk from America Ferrara and reflect on which aspect of their identity is their “superpower”. Culture Topics: an overview of features of culture, surface vs. deep culture; video introduction to The Culture Map. Reflection: describe a workplace or classroom example of when they’ve observed a cultural difference in that setting and its impact. Stereotypes and privilege Topics: overview racism and discrimination in our society; implicit bias; privilege. Reflection: after completing an exercise on implicit bias, reflect on an example in their own experience with earned and unearned advantages and disadvantages. Belonging Topics: the impact of belonging from the employee and employer perspective; allyship; how employers can successfully build a sense of belonging. Reflection: after viewing a video on being authentic at work, reflect on either the impact of covering an aspect of identity at work or on how the individual can promote authenticity at work. Results: For the Fall 2021 semester, 44 students and 14 faculty (not including course instructors) enrolled in DEI@Work. Currently in the Spring 2022 semester there are 65 students/faculty enrolled. Students are asked to complete a survey when they complete the course. Questions include 1) demographics (major, class year); 2) whether students are receiving credit as an assignment in one of their classes (this allows us to inform faculty that their students completed the course–we do not share the students’ assignments); 3) questions related to their learning and reaction to the course. Survey summary of Fall 2021 class: 21 students completed the survey; 16% were freshmen; 47% were sophomores; 5% juniors; 37% seniors 91% were receiving class credit (assigned by another class) 100% answered “yes” to “I feel better prepared for success in a diverse workplace” 95% said they’d recommend the class to other students 81% said it should be required of all students doing an internship Overall, the feedback from students was overwhelmingly positive, with students citing the impact of the program on them, as described in the Program Evaluation section. We are excited to build on the initial success of this program and incorporate it into our pre-internship courses starting in Fall 2022 so that all of our undergraduate students can increase their self-awareness and knowledge of the impact of DEIB in the workplace.



  • Unique and impactful career development initiatives that are related to at least one of the following: scaling career development or employer relations, using career data effectively, embedding career development into the campus ecosystem, DEI in career services, faculty engagement in deploying career development, and/or brand/marketing success. 


  • Submissions must be from colleges and universities.  

  • Submitted program or initiative must have been implemented in at least an initial pilot phase to be able show results.  No concept-only submissions accepted. Concepts are not innovations, they are ideas. 

  • In your description, be sure to clearly state: 1. the purpose, 2. how you implemented, and 3. the results you achieved. 



  1. Does my innovation have to be something we recently launched? No. Well-baked innovations are quite welcome. Innovative does not equal recent, though it can.

  2. How many innovations will get awards? We are not sure. It depends on how many are innovative.  More than 1, less than 6. 

  3. Can 'using a new tech tool or product' be our innovation? No. Not unless you created the tech tool or product. If a tool or product is mentioned in your description, no problem, but it can't be the primary part of the innovation. 

  4. Are we submitting on behalf of a person, office or our institution? Institution, but you can list names and offices that contributed. And, the submission does not have to be from a career office, proper. 

  5. Do we have to be a member of The Collective to win? Nope...uh, but why are you not a member? 

  6. What do we win? Glory and stardom. Ok, but seriously, you will get recognition for sure...on the Collective website, in social media and in our newsletter, plus a nice plaque for your office. Shout it from the rooftops - you deserve it. Oh yeah, we will also provide your campus with a $250 credit toward anything with The Collective


  1. Read all application instructions

  2. Submit by Friday, June 3

  3. The Collective team will review applications from June 4-June 13

  4. Winners announced at the The Collective 2022 Virtual Conference on June 17 during the opening session.  


2022 Career Innovation Awards

Closed until 2023

Sorry to let you know that submissions are closed for 2022, but will re-open in 2023.


PAST Winners

  • DePaul University, Chicago, IL

  • Miami University, Oxford, OH

  • Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ

  • University of Connecticut, Hartford, CT

  • University of Nebraska, Business Career Center, Lincoln, NE

  • University of Redlands, Redlands, CA