Magazine article University Business

Repositioning Positions

Magazine article University Business

Repositioning Positions

Article excerpt

THE NEED TO FIND A BETTER WAY of doing things was evident to Troy Behrens from the day he arrived as the new assistant vice president for student affairs at Southern Methodist University (Texas) and walked into SMU's Hegi Family Career Development Center. "The red flag that I noticed right away was stacks and stacks of job postings," he recalls. "They went back three or four years. There were binders upon binders piled up. It was nearly impossible for students to find what they were seeking, and it was impossible to guarantee to employers that what they were sending us was being seen. We were getting complaints."

And for good reason. Each of the 3,000 job and internship listings received annually from 700 employers had to be submitted on paper, photocopied three times, placed into binders that were displayed around campus, and entered by one (and only one) administrator into an HTML template for online posting. The average wait time for an employer's position to be posted was a whopping six weeks, by which time the job often was filled. SMU calculated the cost of copies, binders, and wasted time at $45,000 a year.

Behrens convened an employer relations team to triage the handling of submissions. The team's first step was to eliminate copying every listing and inserting it into a binder. All positions would be placed into an online database. Next, SMU purchased an online career services system from the company CSO that helped to automate the web-based posting process and reduce duplication. At the same time, responsibility for reviewing and posting was decentralized, freeing up the time of the administrator who had been solely responsible for all postings. Finally, Behrens designed and developed from scratch an online orientation program, SaddleUp, to familiarize students and alumni with the new job posting and searching system.

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While the software solutions improved things a great deal--a student now can easily search for internships targeted at philosophy majors, say, where previously those opportunities were buried in paperwork--Behrens believes that untangling the process and workflow was the primary factor in streamlining the Hegi Center's operations. …

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