Trustee Task Force to Address Career Development

A task force comprised of Pomona College trustees, students, and faculty has been created this year to evaluate the ways in which the college is preparing its students for life after graduation.

Each year, Pomona forms a committee to analyze one aspect of student life. Last year’s task force examined Pomona’s alcohol policy, and this year the topic is career development.

“We’re asking how the liberal arts education at large at Pomona prepares us for life after college,” said Cosimo Thawley PO ’11, one of the six students on the task force. “This includes internships, the Career Development Office, study abroad, and classes.”

The committee evaluated the Career Development Office (CDO) during the 2003-2004 school year and decided to revisit issues of career development this year.

Carl Martellino, Director of the CDO, said unlike during the 2003-2004 school year, the current task force is trying to look at a much larger picture surrounding career development.

The task force is not only “evaluating how well Pomona College is preparing students to be able to go out into the world, but also how to articulate how they can apply their liberal arts education,” Martellino said.

The committee will meet every month, and four of those meetings will include the nine trustees who are on the task force. This year, the task force complements the Oct. 15 Trustee-Student Retreat topic: “Real World Engagement.” At the retreat, Thawley and Stephanie Almeida PO ’11, the two ASPC representatives on the task force, will give a presentation on the college’s resources, and other members of the task force will lead a discussion.

According to Martellino, last year’s Consortium on Financing Higher Education survey revealed that the CDO is relatively successful. Furthermore, external reviewers from other colleges have visited campus this year to continue to evaluate the office.

“We’re working with the assumption that the CDO is in good shape,” he said.

However, not all students agree the that the CDO has done a good job preparing students for life after Pomona.

“I feel that Pomona students are at a serious disadvantage to their counterparts at Ivy League schools and other larger universities that bring hundreds of very desirable recruiters that hire hundreds of students,” said Zack Mattler PO ‘11. “In my time here, Pomona has only brought four or five firms that I’d be interested in working for. I think Pomona should address this by, first, educating students about the options avaliable to them and, second, reaching out to more recruiters.”

Martellino said a four-year, required sequence of workshops for all students has been discussed and is a possible outcome of the task force. One of the goals of Pomona’s current capital campaign is the creation of paid summer opportunities for all students, and the task force could potentially focus on this topic as well.

The task force’s evaluation could result in policy changes, but it is too early in the process to know what those might be.

“Last year’s alcohol policy task force resulted in very definite policy changes,” Thawley said. This year, he continued, there will be “changes if they are seen as necessary.”

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