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The Future is Now:
Higher Education Re-envisioned

Discover. Develop. Distinguish: A Pathway for Academic and Career Success

Plymouth State’s new Academic and Career Advising Center has brought together the Center for Student Success and the Career Development Office, creating a central hub for all career and advising needs for students, faculty, and staff.

By strengthening and expanding PSU’s integrated and holistic advising services and programming, professional academic advisors now have more in-depth conversations with students about future career goals and how to utilize their degrees in the future. The new center’s credo—Discover, Develop, and Distinguish—summarizes the process of addressing needs and highlighting strengths.

“Smaller caseloads enable us to have longer and more frequent meetings with students,” says Kelsey Donnelly ’14, ’16G, who previously led the Center for Student Success. “We have more targeted career conversations, dig deeper, get to know students better, and help them evaluate if they are on the right path.”

Leslie Blakney ’07, director of career development, adds, “The key benefit for students is more proactive advising and resources around making major academic and career decisions. We’ve reduced barriers.”

Six advisors have been cross trained in academic and career advising. “We are better able to help students understand their college degree choices and how they translate that to the career decision-making process, the job market, and workforce,” Blakney says. “This move has made us a unified, bigger team to help support all students and their future goals.”

The combined facility, centrally located in the Guy E. Speare Administration Building, offers a broad scope, including academic advising, education workshops, career fairs, academic and career training resources, academic recovery support, GPA calculations, degree audits, and assistance with on-campus student employment and internships.

Like many students, English major Colton Gaudette ’23 hadn’t previously realized all that PSU had to offer in terms of guidance, but since joining the center as an academic career and peer ambassador he’s taken greater advantage of many valuable offerings. “’I’m really glad I’m working here because I get to learn so much about the advising process and all kinds of helpful tips, and I feel more confident about my future career. I wish I had learned about these services earlier.”

Hailey Botelho ’22, ’23MBA, agrees that the earlier students get involved, the more confident they will feel in their senior year and beyond. She adds, “Plymouth State approaches career development with an integrated model format, which motivates students to build upon their classroom experiences.”

Since the new model’s launch this summer, the focus has been on enhanced training for experienced staff in both academic and career advising to better support all students, including those whose major is undeclared and individuals needing extra support during the academic year. Center advisers are also addressing earlier career preparation steps such as résumé writing, learning about job opportunities, and awareness and utilization of University resources.

William Loughlin ’25 a political science major, has taken advantage of academic and career assistance since his first semester at PSU. “They helped me to transfer in credits from high school and to sort through classes. Since then, I’ve built a strong résumé that reflects my experience and have had opportunities to meet with possible employers through job fairs and other events on campus.”

In addition to supporting students, the center focuses on ensuring that faculty advisors have the tools and resources needed to support their students, including increased access to training and resources.

“I am very excited about our new model,” Donnelly says. “There are so many benefits of working with a combined team, in sync and collaboratively.”