The 2019




The Most Innovative Career Initiatives

at Colleges & Universities Today!

The Career Leadership Collective has seen fresh, scaled, thoughtful, reimagined career initiatives all around the world. The 2019 Career Innovation Showcase featured sixteen finalists, with three winners, that have created innovative career initiatives related to: unique connections for career services within the campus ecosystem, scaling career services to reach more, career in the classroom, data visualization and story telling efforts, new models of career on campus, innovation in diversity and inclusion, successful change efforts, and other novel ideas. 


Make sure to register for an in-depth session about each winning initiative in our Special Accelerator Series in June and July of 2019. 

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Miami University,

Oxford, OH

Humanities Works is spear-headed by the Career Center, Senior Associate Dean of CAS, and the Humanities Center. This initiative involves faculty from humanities departments exploring the value of these degrees. The number of humanities majors enrolled are 2,987 students.


Institutions have heightened pressure of ROI and how degrees can translate into careers. The value of a humanities degree is under pressure resulting in several institutions cutting degrees. In response to this, the Career Center has established a faculty/career center work group. This traditionally hard-to-reach population is highly dependent on faculty support. The project empowers faculty to promote the value of humanities degrees in the contemporary workplace. It also educates faculty on how to better prepare their students for career readiness in partnership with the Career Center.


Faculty learn about services provided by the Career Center, universal skills important to employers, and expectations students have related to their professional preparation. 12 faculty from Humanities disciplines have cycled through the work group. Faculty must create print and digital media as well as customized career advising plans for their departments.


The statistics indicate our success; a staggering 329% increase in humanities students at our career fair, and 266% increase in career advising appointments with humanities majors.


The third cycle will begin, which will focus on redefining career success, problem-based learning in classes, experiential learning opportunities, and externships. This will infuse long-term cultural change with faculty to foster employer partnerships with the goal of helping students gain relevant skill training in their majors. 

Humanities Works

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Northern Arizona University

In spring 2016, NAU Career Development was contemplating how best to empower students to navigate their careers, while preparing them to meet prospective employers’ expectations of being “Career Ready”. As a small department, we knew that our approach had to be scalable. We soon learned that NAU’s Internal Audit department recommended the centralization of Student Employment within our office, and we knew that was the opportunity we had been seeking. Charged with establishing processes, tools, and templates for a workforce of nearly 4,000, we looked to the NACE Career Readiness Competencies to anchor our program. We embedded the competencies throughout the entirety of the student employee life cycle.


Beginning with recruitment, we coached our on-campus employers to list competencies as preferred qualifications in Handshake, great practice for students’ eventual full-time job search. To support selection, we developed an interview question bank mapped to all of the competencies and their associated transferable skills. The competencies were an obvious choice when creating a standardized electronic performance appraisal, providing a rubric for students and their supervisors to reflect on each individual’s current proficiency in each competency. We also revised our Student Employee of the Year (SEOTY) nomination criteria to map to the competencies. In the coming year, we plan to empower supervisors in our 200 campus departments to have competency-based developmental conversations with their student employees. We are preparing to pilot a starter pack of 40 cards with questions tied to each competency to fuel developmental conversations. Related link

Student Employment at NAU: Preparing for the 21st Century Workforce


University of


One of the fundamental programs of Nebraska’s Business Career Center (BCC) is the Professional Enhancement Program (PrEP), which includes four, one-credit career development courses. The challenge this program faced is how to meet enrollment demands of teaching nearly 1,000 students per semester, while simultaneously striving to be innovators in career curriculum.  In 2018, the BCC strategically created a Peer Career Coach Program. Our approach was not peers supporting drop-ins, as in traditional career services, but instead having peers support career curriculum. Implementation involved identifying ways peers could support curriculum, researching peer teaching benefits, and understanding undergraduate teaching assistant models.


The team then pitched the idea to leadership, emphasizing it benefited the College in ways beyond simply meeting enrollment demands by:

- Ensuring stronger peer-to-peer learning

- Developing an opportunity for students to gain experience and strengthen coaching abilities

- Creating a more active student voice in PrEP curriculum.


In its pilot year, 6 Peer Career

Coaches have:

o Assisted 840 students in PrEP courses

o Met with 480 students for 1:1 resume coaching

o Ensured 97% of students felt able/ready to take actions to resolve career-related questions

o Saved FTE staff 980+ hours (based on estimated grading, resume coaching, and course performance moderating)

Related link

Leveraging Peer Coaches
in Career Curriculum



University of Rochester

At the University of Rochester Gwen M. Greene Center for Career Education and Connections, we’ve been diving deep into not only how students can design their lives, but also how we can actively engage design thinking to inform our services and strategic planning efforts. As we look forward to our 2019-2022 strategic plan, we asked the question, “how might we engage students in a discussion about the future of work, empathize with their concerns and excitement, and build a way forward with them to prepare future ready grads?” From this, and in partnership with our colleagues at the campus iZone innovation studio, the Future of Work Design Challenge was born. Students registered as individuals or as a team, resulting in 22 academically, demographically, and internationally diverse students who committed 10+ hours right before finals to learn about both the future of work and service design. During a six-hour Saturday sprint, students learned about FOW predictions, conducted empathy interviews on campus, defined a problem, and ideated as a team. Sunday was a flexible workday, with an on-site prototyping lab and presentation consulting. The challenge closed Monday evening with a concept showcase, judged by a team of elite career professionals. Challenge assessments showed that participants grew their familiarity with design thinking and the future of work by 34%, and an overall NPS score of +57. Iterations in the future will look at timing of the challenge, designing around a single element of the future of work, and balancing time for deep group work with the positive pressure to move and respond quickly. More than anything this challenge taught us at the Greene Center that the future of work and design thinking are amazing ways to listen to and collaborate with our students, team up with innovative campus partners, and walk our talk in embracing ambiguity, optimism, empathy, learning and iterating our way forward. This experience will inform our strategic plan goals for the next three years, as well as much of our work around partnering with students to build OUR way forward together into the Future of Work. Related link

Future of Work Design Challenge

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The University of

the South

Our numbers each tell one story: 97 percent of graduates employed/continuing education/fellowships/service commitments within six months, 97 percent engagement with our office before graduating, and 99 percent satisfaction with their engagement. We chose to tell stories of outcomes and engagement BEYOND the numbers through our social media channels for several reasons: to provide content that would be beneficial to important, mission-critical partners like Admissions as they seek to enroll new students; to demonstrate for our current students all of the ways that fellow students are involved with our office; to highlight the outcomes that our students achieve; and to capitalize on annual #TigerTuesday fund-raising opportunities organized by our annual giving office. In 2017, an incoming first-year student, Jack Holloway, approached our director about working with our office to use his interest and experience in video and social media on our behalf. He launched our Instagram account and YouTube channel in September 2017, and provided content for them and our existing Facebook and twitter channels. We have seen our audience grow on Facebook to over 1000 followers and to nearly 500 followers on Instagram. Across all four social media channels, we reach over 1000 visitors each week. During the 2017-18 academic year, we launched #TestimonialTuesday to invite students to share the many ways they engage with our office. During the 2018-19 academic year, we added #LifeAfterSewanee to highlight outcomes of our graduating seniors. We have received great feedback from campus partners, and individual students enjoy having their story featured. Related links.

Storytelling through

Social Channels

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University of Miami

Miami, FL

The University of Miami's Toppel Career Center has implemented a comprehensive Talent Engagement Program over the past academic year. A menu of options was created to replace the traditional on-campus recruiting model, which became stagnant and unattractive to students. The program includes a variety of opportunities that allow employers to develop genuine relationships with UM students. Menu items are broken down by active recruitment, focused on activities related to hiring, and educational recruitment, geared toward the career development of our students. Employers are also able to create a customizable recruitment strategy based on their preferred style of interactions. We have highlighted a few of the initiatives that have resulted in positive outcomes.


The Career Conversations program gives recruiters the opportunity to offer career consultations to students. A few examples of the companies that participated in this program include Google, Citi, Federal Reserve Board, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Under Armor, and Raymond James. Employer of the Day is a digital option for employers to showcase their organization using social media and our e-newsletter. Employer Site Visits provide students an opportunity to tour the company and experience a day-in-the-life of the organization’s employees. Finally, Toppel Day of Service bring employers and students together to give back to the Miami community. This is an opportunity for our recruiters who represent organizations committed to corporate social responsibility to engage with students who share those values. Overall, Toppel had 216 events with 2364 students in attendance, and that is a significant impact! Related links.

Toppel's Talent

Engagement Program

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Northeastern University

Northeastern University’s B.L.A.C.K. (Black Leaders Accessing Consciousness through Knowledge) and L.A.T.I.N.X. (Latinx Accessing Their Intellect through Networking and Exchange) initiatives are a collaboration of the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, Employer Engagement and Career Design, and the Latinx Student Cultural Center.


Northeastern students are expected to go on co-op very early in their professional careers, but some students do not have the networks or experience to develop key relationships with employers to form career opportunities. B.L.A.C.K. was originally launched to provide students of the African Diaspora with the opportunity to interact with some of Boston’s most prominent Black professionals. After recognizing that many of our Latinx students were also interested in participating, we expanded the program this year to include students from the Latinx community.


The Spring Break immersion program, in its 3rd year, includes site visits, professional development workshops, and career planning tailored to the emerging Black and Latinx professional. Employer partners have included: Ernst & Young, Partners Healthcare, the Museum of Fine Arts, and more!


B.L.A.C.K. and L.A.T.I.N.X. Treks launched this year as a half-day employer site visit outside of Spring Break. The goal is to expose students of color to work environments and interact with professionals sharing their identities, while introducing employers to a diverse candidate pool for internships, co-op, and full-time hiring opportunities. Google was the premier B.L.A.C.K. and L.A.T.I.N.X. Trek, which reached capacity, and a Trek to the US District Court is scheduled for the Fall semester. Related link

B.L.A.C.K. (Black Leaders Accessing Consciousness through Knowledge) and L.A.T.I.N.X. (Latinx Accessing Their Intellect through Networking and Exchange)

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Michigan Technological University

Michigan Technological University (MTU) is a STEM-focused school, and while our students possess important technical skills, we know that employers also want to see skills in communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving. These skills aren’t easily taught in a traditional classroom or workshop. In the fall of 2017, MTU Career Services set out to engage students in conversations around the importance of these skills in an engaging and innovation way. The solution came in the form of an escape room. Escape rooms are team-building activities that use riddles, clues and puzzles to reach a set goal in a set amount of time. Myself along with the help of two students, converted an empty interview room in career services into an escape room as a way to put our students through a problem-solving scenario in which they used needed to use the skills mentioned above. We have now run different themed rooms for the past 4 semesters, with over 1,000 students, staff, faculty, community members and corporate partners participating.


While the main goal of the room was to have conversations with students about the skills they used to solve the problem and why they think those skills are important to employers, we were also able to engage with a new group of students as thirty percent of the students who went through the room had not engaged with our office prior to this event. In addition, staff and faculty began requesting the escape room as team building for their department, which allowed us to develop closer partnerships around campus. To take our escape rooms a step further, this past fall three of our steel corporate partners sponsored the escape room to include a steel industry theme in a mobile trailer. We were able to park the steel-themed escape room trailer in various locations around campus to teach students about the steel industry while they were using the skillset employers are looking for. Related links

Michigan Tech Career Services Escape Room

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Ball State University

The Muncie Intern Collaborative partnered economic development, businesses, non-profits and career services to promote the benefits of our community and support interns across different sectors in professional development. Modeled on larger cities’ programs, the group worked with existing community resources to influence five key outcomes: internship preparation; networking among participants; social and professional development opportunities; strengthening knowledge of local employers; and engendering a more positive view of Muncie.


Participating organizations sent 30 interns to at least one of the 10 sessions. 26 of 27 respondents (96%) reported a better/more positive view of our community at the conclusion of the summer. From its inception, our steering committee wanted to accomplish very specific goals. Ultimately, we shared the same desire: working together to make our city better. Our overarching purpose was that interns would catch a vision for living and working in Muncie and Delaware County after graduation. Each committee member brought their ideas and needs to the discussion and in the end we arrived at five main outcomes: develop a pipeline of well-prepared interns; create a network of students interning in the area; provide social and professional development opportunities; strengthen knowledge of local employers; and, build a positive brand for Muncie. Related links.

Muncie Intern Collaborative

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Queens College, CUNY

To provide augmented guidance to students on the connection between the classroom experience, career skills, and the job market, we are developing an integrated academic and career learning environment launched in Spring 2019 and currently being piloted by 295 students. The platform we are building allows students to explore and develop career competencies gathered from career educators and faculty, engage with employers, understand the skills and career competencies associated with academic majors, and build their own career maps. Five career educators and five peer mentors are working with Queens College students as they navigate the new Symplicity module, utilize services, and attend events on career readiness. To enroll, some students attended an orientation, and others watched instructional video.


Participants engage, document, and track their experiences as acquired from career services, workshops, classes, events, co-curricular experiential, or work. Students reflect on their emerging career readiness competencies and choose from a menu of options for growing their skillset, including activities on career education, networking, internship application, training and conference participation. In-demand skills training are also available on topics such as communication, digital literacy, and team building.


Five faculty advisors—from Art, Computer Science, Economics, Psychology, and Secondary Education—identified career readiness skills in existing courses, which in a future phase of the project will be presented to students as academic-and-career program maps. Student participants receive incentives such as priority registration and admission to employer events, gift cards, t-shirts, and mobile accessories. Students who successfully complete the Pathways learning modules receive a certificate. We are collecting student narratives and tracking their activities in the project. Slightly over 17% of student participants have completed at least 25% of the learning modules; over 65% have completed at least one activity; 39% of students have submitted resumes in the system for review; 12% attended the Career Fair, and 9% attended communications or digital training.

HireQC Pathways: Integrated Academic and Career Map


Augustana College

Augustana College’s Viking Score is an innovative approach to guiding you through all of the resources available to promote your career success. The enhanced Viking Score is focused on EXPERIENCES which facilitate building a particular skill or developing a certain insight. By seeking out transformative experiences students are exposed to something new which helps them develop purpose. Another goal of the Viking Score is for activities to be DEVELOPMENTAL; students where they are rather than where they “should” be, giving students flexibility and permission to explore career development on their own timeline.


Assigning a learning outcome to each activity allows students to better understand the purpose of the activity; creating PURPOSEFUL LEARNING which, studies show, contributes to greater motivation and attainment of goals. We’ve added activities that require students to connect, process, and reflect on their experiences with a Career Coach, Advisor, or Mentor. This REFLECTION increases self-awareness leading to more purposeful learning and meaning.


Lastly, we have INCENTIVIZED the Viking Score which, we hope, will increase students’ motivation to complete each phase.


I am excited to share more about the Viking Score including:

• Process used to enhance the Viking Score

• Deep dive into Experiences and Learning Outcomes

• Logistics on tracking and incentives

• Outcomes from first year

Related link

The Career Checklist

Students Actually Use


Northeastern University

Northeastern University’s Annual Reach(OUT) LGBTQA+ Career Conference, in its 6th year, focuses on the perspectives and concerns of LGBTQA+ students in preparation for co-operative work experiences, internships, and professional life beyond campus. During this two-day event, students have the opportunity to engage with their peers and to hear from alumni and professionals in various industries about topics such as navigating microaggressions, corporate culture, gender presentation, and finding the best fit, among many other topics.


Northeastern’s LGBTQA Center, Employer Engagement and Career Design, and the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion chair student and staff committees to plan for the development and execution of the conference based on student need. We feature a series of panels, keynote speakers, and networking sessions organized around topics relevant to career success and identity-related authenticity. The topics are selected by students, and staff recruits guest speakers - LGBTQA+ professionals from a variety of industries - who are willing to share their professional and personal experiences, lessons, and advice with students. The conference is open to any college student, and has grown each year, with over 150 attendees, 30+ speakers, and 6 internal/9 external sponsors in 2018. While our sponsors include companies and organizations that seek to hire Northeastern graduates, we do not facilitate recruitment at the conference in order to encourage more transparent discussion about the full range of experiences, including difficulties.


The conference has been recognized by the National Association of College and Employers with the "2016 Outstanding Diversity & Inclusion Program" Award.

Related link


Career Conference

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Kent State University

Problem: Student Employee Appreciation Week

• Time consuming to develop numerous events (ex. bowling, ice skating, exercise classes, etc) and t-shirt giveaway stations

• Lacked student participation; departments were not connected


Common theme - students wanted to connect and be recognized internally with their co-workers, supervisors, and department staff Innovation Changing the mindset - Bring the celebration to the departments, provide the resources necessary to create their own celebrations



1. Thank You Cards covering 3 aspects: a. Thank you message from Career Exploration and Development b. Space for supervisor/department to personalize message c. Coupons for students to engage in activities on and off campus at their leisure

2. T-shirt and card delivery

3. Social media contest - Prizes to the departments with the most interactions on social media showing their celebrations Providing these three items gave the departments the tools necessary to personalize and craft their own celebrations and allowed us to scale our operations and reach more stakeholders.


1. Distributed over 3,600 t-shirts and hot cards (1,500 previous year)

2. Distributed over 3,000 hot cards regarding career readiness, providing students language to articulate their professional and academic experiences

3. Over 550 interactions on social media, 200%+ increase over 2018

4. University communications dept. released video highlighting the week and benefits of student employment



3600 Students

100+ departments on-campus

500+ Supervisors 3 new off-campus partners


Future Iterations Continue to develop the intimate and personalized experience honoring individual student workers and highlighting their contributions. Connect with additional community partners. 

Student Employee

Appreciation Week


Nazareth College

Three years ago, Nazareth College formed the Center for Life’s Work. It brought together three previously separate offices (career services, academic internships, and civic engagement). Our goal was to shift from a “come see us if you want to/when you want to” office, to an “early and often” office delivered by a team integrated with campus. However, senior administration was asking for numbers of 1:1 appointments as a key metric. We tried - but found we were exhausted and resorting to bribery! Additionally, we knew appointments were just ONE way to engage with students.


We needed a powerful way to show that our efforts combined would make for a much more effective and strategic shift. We partnered with Institutional Research to create a Tableau dashboard of engagement. The dashboard took touchpoint data from several sources and then linked to the overall data warehouse to demonstrate how and when we were seeing students. We were also able to take it a step further and link engagement to retention and graduation rates.


As a result, we were able to show that we were engaging with 90% of all undergraduates and 93% of underclassmen with an average of 4.26 interactions per student. We could also share outcomes beyond first destination data. Students who worked with our office had both higher retention and graduation rates. Our next iteration is to use the data to be structurally unavoidable, but still personalized - and that requires knowing how to target and differentiate (e.g., music students need different types and times of experiences than physical therapy students).

Using Data Dashboard

to Support an Integrated Approach


Linfield College

Linfield College Career Development teaches more faculty and more students in the classroom than any other department on a 1,500 student campus. Career education is taught to 1,800 students annually through guest teaching in 85 courses in collaboration with faculty. This innovative “teach in the seats” method reaches most academic departments and allows a department of 2.3 FTE to maximize limited resources and allocate time.


Career Development annually engages students through 190 career content programs, teaches two Jan Term career plunge courses and empowers a team of nine student specialists to provide frontline and program support, while understanding and achieving career readiness competencies. Career Development employs the advice given to students, connect individually with the experts you want to engage. Specific career content strategies were then created to match the faculty’s syllabus and course content. Career Development’s approach to collaborating with faculty avoided department meetings, faculty assemblies, or all faculty e-mails. As conversations and in-class teaching expanded, individual faculty started learning about Career Development’s quality of work with students. Additional faculty then started to reach out with specific requests because of other faculty’s recommendations.


The reception and perception of career development on the Linfield College campus has positively transformed because of this faculty buy-in and ingrained career education in the classroom. Additional academic career support requests from faculty have expanded beyond the classroom and have included career excursion programs, mock-interviews with outside employer interviewers, industry career panels and professional connection opportunities.

Teach in the Seats


University of

Technology Sydney

In 2018, the Careers Service at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) partnered with the School of Engineering to re-imagine and re-design their existing internship preparation course with an aim of increasing student engagement and quality internship placements.


Three core considerations were identified during the re-design phase:

1) Scalability – Up to 500 students can enroll each semester

2) Student engagement – Lectures were previously delivered online. Viewership was low meaning that students missed key messaging around how to find and succeed in their internship.

3) Incorporating diverse perspectives about the internship journey – Course content could be enriched with perspectives from industry, past interns and recruiters.


Careers was involved as a trusted advisor in the course re-design and facilitation. Online lectures have now been replaced with four in-person seminars with an emphasis on active learning and involvement from guest speakers.

Career learning innovations include:

· ‘Be the Recruiter’ Activity - An experiential learning exercise where students act as a recruitment selection panel. Students learn about personal branding and best practice application writing through the lens of a hiring manager

· Implementation of V-Mock resume reviewing software to reduce the staff required for application reviews

· Q&A discussion panel with past interns and guest lectures from engineering professional associations

· Emphasis on digital footprint and using LinkedIn as a career research and personal branding tool

· A streamlined process to refer students to Careers. Students with non-competitive resumes attend a consultation to discuss their internship goals and experience-building activities

Preparing Students for Internships: A Collaborative Approach Between Careers Service and Faculty


  • Participants will submit a text and video description of their innovation. In both the text description and the video, please explain: the problem you were solving, the actual innovation, how you implemented the idea, the results your effort, the number and populations of students or employers or other stakeholders that you served, and how you hope to iterate more on your innovation. 

  • The Collective is interested in submissions related to unique connections for career service within the campus ecosystem, scaling career services to reach more, career in the classroom initiatives, data visualization and story telling efforts, new models of career on campus, innovation in diversity and inclusion with career development, successful change efforts, and other novel ideas.  

  • Submissions must show how you solved a clear problem, and may not be in the initial ideation phase; the innovation needs to have been implemented at least once prior to submission, even if as a pilot. 

All innovations remain the intellectual property of the university submitting to the showcase. 


  • Finalists are featured in an our online showcase that details their project. They are also recognized in Collective newsletters and social channels. 

  • Top 3 winners will receive an award in the mail to display in their office, will be showcased in the online repository, as well as in a 60-minute online Accelerator, and will receive a $500 credit to use on not-previously purchased Career Leadership Collective events or services within one calendar year of the showcase winners being announced. 


Do you know of Innovations at other universities that you believe should be in the showcase? Please email us your nomination and we will reach out to them.


The Career Services Innovation Showcase is open to both Members and Non-Members of The Collective, as well as any office or department on a college campus.  The showcase is not open to employers or vendors.  Video explanations will be made public if accepted into the online showcase. 


All submissions for 2019 are closed, however, we keep our submissions open year-round for 2020.  You are welcome to submit at any time.  To submit, please fill out the below: 

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