Toppel expands opportunities for career advice

By Janette Neuwahl Tannen

Toppel expands opportunities for career advice

By Janette Neuwahl Tannen
The Toppel Career Center is offering an alternative to faculty members if they have to reschedule a class. Let one of the center’s advisors provide a virtual presentation highlighting career resources during that time period.

When Brenda Owusu designs her graduate nursing classes, she often makes a point to include a day where a Toppel Career Center staffer can come speak to her pupils about how to navigate the job search when they graduate.

Owusu’s students, who graduate as nurse practitioners, often say the class spent with Carly Smith, director of career education at Toppel, is always worthwhile.

“She gives them resources, in terms of websites they can visit for job placements. She assists them in setting up a digital portfolio and talks about how to word letters to potential employers, as well as how to approach interviews,” said Owusu, an assistant professor of nursing who also directs the adult gerontology primary care program. “I’ve had lots of reviews at the end of the semester talk about how helpful her presentation was to them.”

Owusu is planning to ask Smith to return next semester. And Toppel is hoping that this fall, even more faculty members will invite career advisors into their classrooms. Toward that goal, the center is piloting a new program called Toppel in the Classroom where they are offering faculty members an alternative if they have to reschedule class because of unforeseen circumstances. Rather than rescheduling or possibly canceling a class, Toppel is encouraging faculty members to let a career advisor provide a virtual presentation to the class. Staffers will show students the career resources available at Toppel, offer tips about entering the job or internship market, and answer students’ questions on the spot. And professors can reach out as late as the day before a scheduled class, Smith added.

“We’re happy to come in and talk about anything relevant for that group of students, and we have some go-to content already prepared,” Smith said.

Also, if professors give Toppel staff enough preparation time, advisors will tailor their presentation to the students’ majors. So they are providing industry-specific expertise.   “We can work with faculty members to make sure we are sharing information that is relevant to that group,” she added.

In the past, Toppel staff members have visited classes when professors requested it. But this year the career center is trying to expand its reach, so that students are aware  that Toppel staffers are readily available to help them.

“We know that for many students, a lot of their attention is focused on the classroom, and rightfully so. But some don’t always take advantage of all the resources available to them on campus,” Smith said. “So, anytime we are able to partner with faculty, it’s beneficial to us. Because by having the support of that faculty member, we are able to reach those students that may not have utilized Toppel before.”

For more information about bringing a Toppel advisor into your class, please fill out a request form or contact Toppel’s assistant director of campus outreach, Douglas Neese.