2020 Showcase

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 2020 Career Innovation Showcase features 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.  

2020 Winners

University of Connecticut

University of Redlands

DePaul University

Scroll to see all nine (9) finalists

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Video Overview

Career Everywhere at UConn

According to Gallup, “Students spend more time with their professors than any other college advisor, counselor, or support professional, which makes faculty best positioned to have the greatest impact.” To maximize campus-wide impact, UConn’s Center for Career Development leveraged on- and off-campus partnerships and virtual offerings to broadly expose students to consistent career messaging and resources. A culture of career readiness, empowering students during their career exploration, evolved into the formalized “Career Everywhere” program. Career Everywhere brings the campus community together for training and idea sharing, providing faculty/staff with the most up-to-date career resources, trends, data and information. The program includes a robust marketing campaign, web resources, town hall meetings and 1:1 support. Components include Career Champions, Career Communities, Liaison outreach, career modules for curriculum development, and a Career Everywhere Advisory Board. Launched in 2019 with a “State of Career” event keynoted by Gallup, this highly successful event was attended by 150 participants, including Vice Provosts, Deans, Department Heads, faculty, and staff. 141 campus partners have become Career Champions increasing utilization of virtual resources including Big Interview, Handshake, and the Career Center website. Career Everywhere has been featured in UConn Today, the University’s main messaging vehicle. The program serves 32,000 students, our 15 member Employer Advisory Board and 141 Career Champions. Employers and alumni will continue to be integrated as Career Champions, expanding Career Everywhere beyond the ‘four walls’ of the campus community. Ongoing training will be offered to new and existing Champions, and curricular ideas will be integrated.

University of Connecticut

Center for Career Development

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Video Overview

The Future of Work

Developments in technology, artificial intelligence and other innovations are impacting how we will work, where we will work, and the skills needed to work. Thus, the work-world is changing and experiencing revolutionary and transformational developments. The Presidential Career and Leadership series (known as PCLS) is helping to bridge the skills-gap that employers are seeing with both soft skills, such as communication and teamwork, and technical skills related to data analysis and coding. There is a massive paradigm shift in how employers and industry are expecting career centers to prepare students for the types of skills employers now require. Enter Miami’s Presidential Career & Leadership Series. President Gregory Crawford and the Center for Career Exploration and Success have partnered to create PCLS now in its second year. The 2019–2020 series promotes awareness of new realities related to the job market, which prepares students for future jobs, and provides students with the tools to create a path from college to work for career success. PCLS elevates the attendees career and professional trajectory. This series is designed to benefit all students by offering different topics in a variety of formats, and engage students in the overall concept of the future — and how to prepare for it. Through workshops, panels and reverse career fairs, topics include: Code Demystified, Storytelling through Data, the Technology, Innovation and Design Expo, Leadership Bootcamp, and future-proofing your career, to name a few.  Artificial intelligence algorithms and intelligent machines will be co-workers to humans. President Gregory Crawford and The Career Center collaborated together to create relevant topics and content specific to the Future of Work. Nothing was off limits. Technology will continue to shape the role we play in the workforce, so everyone will be required to adapt their skills throughout their working lives and how students can prepare for jobs that don't yet exist. Throughout this PCLS series, 12 events have occurred to date, approximately 800 students have been impacted, and 86 employers have participated.Our partnership with President Gregory Crawford will continue through the planning another installment of the PCLS, focusing on how we can prepare students to acquire the new skills needed for this fluid shift in industry. We will continue to provide platforms in this series for students to begin taking steps to adapt to these changes and needed skills such as creativity, imagination, adaptability, storytelling, social and emotional intelligence, and passion. Join us as Miami explores ... The Future of Work!

Miami University

Center for Career Exploration & Success

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Video Overview

OPCD Everywhere

The Office of Personal & Career Development (OPCD) at Wake Forest scaled and broadened interactions with students from underrepresented and under-engaged populations, empowering hundreds who were disinclined or unable to access the office to connect by “meeting them where they are.” “Mobile OPCD” was initially designed to meet the needs of students employed on campus through internships or work-study programs who face barriers to accessing career programming. Partnering with campus employers, OPCD coaches visit workplaces to teach students to quantify and highlight accomplishments on resumes. Many employers invite the OPCD back for additional training on elevator pitches, interviewing, etc., indicating the success of the program. More than 1100 students attended a Mobile OPCD event. Nearly 50% indicated it was their first OPCD interaction. This programming has created new pipelines to under-engaged student populations – including student-athletes, RAs, students of color, and first-generation students. In addition to workplace presentations, Mobile OPCD also includes programming like Diversity Matters. At this event, the night before Career Fair, students from diverse backgrounds develop professional relationships with employers. Three hundred plus students attended Diversity Matters this year and fall attendance increased more than 300% YoY while 64% of spring attendees went to the Career Fair the next day. Both approaches reach more students and meet students where they are – in their workplace or in their desire for informal employer interactions. We are constantly looking to refine these programs to better meet student needs and look for ways to further support students and employers.

Wake Forest University

Office of Personal and Career Development

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Video Overview

Embedding Career into the Curriculum: UR Career Faculty Fellows

Like career centers, the University of Redlands Office of Career & Professional Development (OCPD) faces the challenge of trying to help more students than ever before with limited resources and staff. The Career Faculty Fellows Program was initiated in 2019 to help the institution scale career services, and embed career preparedness more intentionally into the curriculum, with the goal of having 100% of students have access to career education. The 5 Faculty Fellows were selected via a student nomination process. With financial support from the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Dean, faculty fellows are paid a small stipend for their work. As Career Faculty Fellows, they are required to meet monthly with OCPD staff, integrate career concepts into their curricula, identify additional areas on campus where career and professional development support could benefit students, partner with assigned department liaisons to share their work and encourage them to join the effort, and facilitate trainings for their colleagues. The goal for the program is to create a career ecosystem where multiple faculty are joining the effort to help all students be prepared and have a plan when they leave the university. CAS’s Dean, Kendrick Brown, says this about the program: “This increased partnering on the part of OCPD means that boundaries between academics, degree requirements, and career development have started to loosen. The “… Across the Curriculum” is an ideal and practice at the University and now career and professional development is a part of that.”

University of Redlands

Office of Career & Professional Development

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Video Overview

Scaling Career Readiness

Problem: Residence Services contains student employees with vastly different job responsibilities (13 different job descriptions). The department struggled to define outcomes that would pertain to all student employees leading to being disjointed and lacking in a clear vision for the professional development of student staff.

Innovation: Adopted NACE competencies for Career Readiness as the learning outcomes and intertwined competencies throughout the student employment process. Implementation:

-Job Descriptions and Student Agreements reflect NACE Competencies

-Student job training and professional development is based on competencies (Online, In-person, Blackboard)

-Students are evaluated based on NACE Competencies

-Disaggregate Reasoning *Individually students know what is expected of them *Development/Student Learning connected to Career Readiness *Understand how current position is creating transferable skills that will make them ready for their career *Encourage developmental conversations between supervisor and student

-Aggregate Reasoning *Competencies we are assessing are nationally recognized by employers and colleges

*Compare supervisors, offices, departments, divisions, KSU to other institutions

Results: 367 Student Employees (82 different majors from 11 different colleges) learning how to develop and articulate their transferable skills. Stakeholders: Division of Student Affairs, Department of Residence Services, Career Exploration and Development

Future Iterations: Focus on outcomes through assessments given to student staff before and after monthly professional development on each competency. Analysis of data from assessments to make sure that our supervisors are effective in their PD sessions. Development of more training for supervisors on the NACE competencies and how to do PD sessions so that they can continue to grow in this.

Kent State University

Department of Residence Services; Career Exploration and Development

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Video Overview

FLASH Internship Program

The Center for Career and Professional Development at Ripon College is introducing a brand new project to bring opportunity to Ripon College students as well as engage with Milwaukee-based business/employer partners. The FLASH Internship Program provides project-based micro-internships that benefit both students and employers and revolutionize how students engage in internship experiences. The Center worked collaboratively in an innovative partnership with The Commons in Milwaukee, an initiative of The Greater Milwaukee Committee that brings academic and business communities together. “We are re-thinking how the internship process can be more equitable and innovative,” says Lindsay Blumer, Assistant Dean of Career & Professional Development, “especially for skilled liberal arts students and entrepreneurial-minded businesses.” FLASH Internships partner a Ripon College student and their problem-solving skill sets with a company or organization for short-term projects or as part of an ongoing program or project that requires a fresh perspective. FLASH Internships are the only project-based short-term experiences in Wisconsin that are designed to get results for the employer and for the student and create an innovative talent pipeline for high-performing organizations. Students have already engaged in FLASH Internships including at The Water Council, Workshop Architects, Brainchild Studios and more. Plans are underway for another round of FLASH Internships in the next academic year with the vision of expanding the program to businesses and employers throughout Wisconsin.

Ripon College

Career & Professional Development

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Video Overview

Creating a Micro-Learning Focused Career Library

The DePaul Career Center recently completed phase one of a deep library of digital resources that can be used to help students develop critical competencies and get career ready. This library features over 50 handouts created with a focus on micro-learning, scaffolding content, meeting students where they are, and making career development actionable. This project also resulted in a growing library of activities for use in classes and other co-curricular experiences and 15 videos introducing career readiness topics in an engaging and approachable way. This project is distinctive because of our focus on “chunking” content, providing interactivity, and using design and tone to communicate optimism and actionability. Rather than producing textbook style dry text that reduces career readiness content to glossary words and action verb lists, we wanted students to be able to “grab-and-go” information on the specific subject they are interested in - with tactical advice on how to navigate the career development/career management process. Because of the diverse needs of DePaul’s 19,000+ students, ⅓ of whom work full-time and over 40% of whom are non-traditional, this library spans a wide range of topics - from Tailoring Your Resume and Cover Letter to Navigating Multiple Job Offers. We’re excited to present our Career Library as a model for scaling services, creating consistency across professional and peer career coaching, integrating into the curriculum, and providing career readiness checkpoints for all students.

DePaul University

Career Center

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Video Overview

Careering While Queering: Addressing Our LGBTQ+ Population with Innovative Programming

Columbia College Chicago found 41% of students identify as other than heterosexual and expressed a lack of support on campus. In response, the Career Center developed Careering While Queering (CWQ), an LGBTQ+ leadership, mentoring, and advocacy program that assists students with transitioning between academic life and careers. Each semester a new topic is selected, relevant professionals are invited to speak during a moderated discussion. An interactive exercise, reflection, and communal meal are also built into the program design. The Career Center enlisted Student Diversity & Inclusion (SDI), The Library, and The Doc Unit as partners. SDI is a valuable resource for reaching students by culture, gender, and identity. The Library creates an installation for CWQ of books and magazines addressing the intersectionality of the semester’s topic and LGBTQ+ and careers. Finally, the Doc Unit gives students studying documentary filmmaking, the opportunity to create recap videos and hone their skills. In three events held thus far, we have served 70 students, brought in seven professionals, covered topics such as Queer Identity & Style in The Workplace, Being OUT AT WORK, and Queer Health & Wellness & Self-care. The upcoming cycle addresses queer business creation as students consider summer jobs and internships vs self-employment. Post-event surveys suggest students value the program and we have buy-in from faculty who encourage students to attend. A direct result of CWQ has been the creation and success of “The Rack”, a service through SDI, allowing students access to free professional clothing for job interviews and internships.

Columbia College Chicago

Career Center

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Video Overview

Lerner Executive Mentoring Program

The Lerner Executive Mentoring Program matches Business students (undergrad and grad) with executives (10+ years into their career) whose professional backgrounds are complementary to the students’ career objectives. The formal and scalable program was created to provide students with an executive mentor who could provide guidance and support around professional and personal development. In the past 2 years, this program has: • Expanded from 60 pairings to over 500 • Become a priority for the Business College, Development and Alumni Relations • Resulted in additional staffing (full-time Coordinator and part-time Engagement Specialist) for the Lerner Career Services Center as well as the purchasing of Salesforce software. • Raised over $100,000 in outside donations and pledges • Serves as an umbrella to support priority programs including Speed Networking for First Year Business students, Graduate Internship Program, Road to Wall Street • Increased faculty partnerships with mentor referrals and engagement. • Brought in over 30 additional internship and job postings that would not be sources through the traditional HR pipeline. Moreover: • Annual surveying has shown that 91% of our students strongly agree that they have received guidance toward professional goals, focused on professional development and growth, expanded and strengthened their professional networks, and feel more prepared to enter the workforce which are the goals of this program. • Approximately 90% of students and mentors in the program rated their overall mentoring experience as good, very good or excellent. Additionally, this past January, we participated in National Mentoring Month which allowed us to highlight the impact of this program. We had almost 2000 engagement points with people sharing, liking, or commenting about our program across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

University of Delaware

Lerner Career Services Center



  • 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. 

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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. 


  • Deadline to Submit: March 2, 2020

  • Finalists Announced: March 6, 2020

  • Winners Announced: April 9, 2020


To submit, please fill out the below: 

First Name *

Last Name *

College/University *

Office or Department Name *

Email: *

Phone: *

Your Career Innovation Title *

Link to 3-5 minute unlisted youtube video explanation. *

Additional related website links that describe or display your innovation

250 Word Desciption *

Thank you for submitting for 2020. We have received your submission.