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Don't Cancel...

Career Services can keep students in the classroom

We’ve all been there. You wake up for class and your head is pounding and your throat feels like sandpaper. You try to make it to your 8 a.m. class, but you just can’t. You’re sick. It’s bad enough when a student is ill and misses a class, but when the professor gets sick and can’t teach, it’s like an epidemic. The whole class suffers.

Courses Offered

• Leveraging Technology in Your Career Search
• Behavioral Based Interviewing
• Graduate and Professional School Application Process
• Creating Professional Resumes and Cover Letters
• Financial Planning
• Negotiating Salary and Benefits
• Business Etiquette Know-How
• Valuing Diversity and Cultural Understanding in the Workplace
• Networking and Success Strategies
• The 30 Second Self-Intro - How to Market Yourself
• Career Fair Success Strategies

Or does it?

At Ohio Northern University, a program offered by the Office of Career Services called Don’t Cancel That Class! keeps students in the classroom if a faculty member is sick, has professional obligations or cannot make it to class for another reason. The program, which began more than 10 years ago, was initiated as a service for faculty members to make sure students get the most out of their Northern education by providing stand-alone courses in career training that can be deployed whenever the need arises.

A member of the professional staff at the Office of Career Services comes into the faculty member’s classroom and makes a presentation on some aspect of the career search. Professors can choose from a wide variety of topics depending on their students’ interests or class level. Some common topics include Negotiating Salary and Benefits, Behavioral Based Interviewing, Career Fair Success Strategies, Business Etiquette Know-How and The 30-Second Self-Intro – How to Market Yourself. Custom presentations can also be developed that take into account the subject of the class, the students’ majors and grade level, or the professor’s preference.

If the professor just wants someone "to come talk about career services,” the office can do that, too, says Nancy Sheely, assistant director of Career Services. “I’ve gone into classrooms where we’ve had an open forum. The students ask questions about internships, interviews, résumés and more, and we have a discussion about them.”

As any senior can attest, exiting college can be very stressful. The courses provided by this program can make the transition easier on students by exposing them to career strategies early.

“Our presentations are focused on helping students see that planning a college exit strategy doesn’t have to be that scary or stressful, particularly if they get started on it before they’re one term from graduation,” says Sheely.

Brian Hofman, associate professor of sport management, has used the Don’t Cancel That Class program several times. “I have found that the sooner students start thinking and acting like professionals, the more fulfilling their time is at ONU and the more they set themselves up for success after their degree. Career Services helps in creating this mindset, and it also reinforces a message I send in the classroom.”

While the Office of Career Services has other programs available for students outside of the classroom, Sheely says this service is important because it “gives us a chance to meet with a ‘captive audience’ to get students thinking and moving with their career search.”

Although the program is extremely beneficial for students, it is not used as frequently as the Office of Career Services would like. Many faculty members prefer to ask colleagues to cover their class so that the students do not miss out on the academic content. “Given the amount of content in the coursework and the academically rigorous reputation of Ohio Northern University, this is completely understandable,” says Sheely.

There also is an assumption from faculty that students will seek out career-search strategies on their own.

“Unfortunately,” says Sheely, “this doesn’t happen as much as we would like.”

If you would like to learn more about the Don’t Cancel That Class! program at ONU or would like information on other career training services, contact Nancy Sheely at the Office of Career Services.

—Katie Hozan
Junior, Communication Arts major
Homerville, Ohio