Handbook for the College and University Career Center

By Edwin L. Herr; Jack R. Rayman et al. | Go to book overview

Preface

In contemporary American higher education, there are continuing questions, among others, about mission and purpose, the diversity of persons being served, and the effectiveness with which this is being achieved, as well as the implications for the content and services offered by higher education institutions as they continue to implement national goals of democratization of access to the collegiate experience. Within the array of issues related to the purpose or mission of higher education in a time of dramatic change in the political, economic, and social challenges being confronted by the nation, there continue to be questions about whether the collegiate experience should focus on education for its own sake or education as preparation for more instrumental ends: citizenship and work. This reference book focuses on the latter: the rise of career centers in American higher education and the increasing comprehensiveness of their goals both to facilitate the career development of students and to provide direct assistance in the placement of students into specific jobs following graduation. As the ensuing chapters portray, both of these goals are complex in their possibilities, planning, and management of personnel and resources, as well as in their implementation.

Career centers are unique entities in higher educational institutions because they stand astride two cultures: academe and the corporate world of employment. They must be credible to both cultures in their goals, credentials, and services offered. They must respond to and reflect the values of the academic culture as they foster the career development of students; they must respond to and reflect the values of the corporate culture as they help match the placement or employment needs of students with the human capital needs of diverse corporate organizations.

As this reference discusses, career centers in collegiate environments have been evolving in the United States since late in the nineteenth century. In historical terms, their goals and structures have continued to unfold from early and relatively

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