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The Career Center & Its Fabulous Successes

Did you know that 80% of first-years have met with someone at the Career Center already? We’re quite a special bunch, aren’t we? Let’s return, for the second time this week, to the Career Center singing our praises:

 

We leave you with an upbeat note from Mike O’Connor, Associate Director/Director of the Career Discovery Program…”Congratulations to the Class of 2020, who have been utilizing the Career Center at unprecedented levels! Nearly 80% of the class has met with a counselor already, which is truly impressive. Personally, I’ve been pleased with the number of students whom have already drafted college-appropriate resumes, as this leaves them better prepared to compete for summer job and internship opportunities. Well done, first-years!”

 

Gee, I wonder why that could be? Is Williams finally on the verge of creating a maximally careerist student body? Has Admissions finally got a handle on how to weed out all the would-be professors and regular ol’ burn-outs? This email from a few months ago is appended without comment — draw your own conclusions as to why frosh are “utilizing the Career Center at unprecedented levels”:

It’s with great pleasure that I welcome you to the Williams Career Family!   At Williams, Career Development as a four year process of exploring, defining, and achieving your life goals; all starting now!

€‹Fortunately, during the first three weeks of the Semester you’ll be meeting with your college Career Guidance Counselor to convert your high-school resume into a college format, learn about incredible internships, and begin thinking about how to make best use of your college years ahead.

All Class of 2020 incoming students are expected to Schedule an appointment immediately.  To do so…

  1. Log into Rt. 2 using your abbreviated email address as your username (e.g., mko1@williams.edu) and 7 digit Student ID Number without the W as your password (e.g., 1234567).
  2. Click “Schedule A Counseling Appointment” from the Shortcuts box on the right side of the page.
  3. For this first appointment, please follow these specific instructions. Select Appointment (In Person) under “Type”, and select Date Range as “2016-08-29″ to “2016-9-30″. You may choose your preferred time parameters in the “Time Range” field. Click the + icon underneath “Counselors” to select all available counselors, and choose the days that you’re available (our counselors are here Monday through Friday).
  4. Click “Check Availability” and select a day and appointment time by clicking on a counselor’s name.
  5. Type “Introductory Appointment” and any details you wish to share with your Counselor in the “Reason for Visit” box.
  6. Click “Submit Request” and you’re done!

To get even more out of your appointment €‹bring a draft of your resume modeled after the attached college template.

Enjoy your last few weeks of summer!  We can’t wait to meet you!

Sincerely,

 

Michael O’Connor
Director of the Career Discovery Program
Williams College

(Bolding, pointedly, not mine.)

But since I’m just out of midterms and could really use a chuckle, here, for your enjoyment as much as mine, is the sample resume provided, the Williams student of the administration’s ideality: First_Year_Resume_Template_Updated (1)

Pretty much bang-on, if I do say myself. If you took all the students that get put in the promotional errata and stuck them in a blender, this is just about what you’d get: from NE, plays a sport, has enough gall to study something interesting (Arabic, in this case) but not enough to not major in Econ too, politically “active” (read: aimlessly volunteerist; actual political/social energy is bad, better to be “fostering discussions”) and does some kind of inexplicable thing with computers, “Java” or whatever that’s supposed to mean.

I don’t think I could do a better job of creating a stereotypical Williams student. If anyone in the comments would like to try, please, do.

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Two Events

There are two interesting events on campus today. First:

2020 International Initiatives: Where should Williams be going?
2:45 p.m., Weston 10

International Studies Colloquium open forum on the 2020 International Initiatives. Come join the discussion!

See here for previous discussion about 2020. I think that there are a variety of issues that fall under the 2020 project and that this forum is just about the international ones. Or does the “2020 International Initiatives” phrasing mean that all 2020 issues are international? Updates on this important topic are welcome. And, as always, more transparency, please. Why can’t the rest of us see some of the background briefing material that the College gives to the Trustees?

Second event:

Hooking Up and Effortless Perfection: Understanding College Social Culture
7:30 p.m., Brooks-Rogers Auditorium
Most people think of college as a special and carefree time, four years to learn and have fun before the pressures of the “real world” intrude. Research done at Duke University on undergraduate social culture suggests otherwise. Students described their drive for “effortless perfection” in academic and social endeavors, and a hook-up culture that met the needs of some, but left most dissatisfied. Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education Dr. Donna Lisker (Williams ’88) will describe her research in a compelling and entertaining talk highly relevant to Williams undergraduates.

Interesting stuff. “Effortless perfection” reminds me of effortlessly Eph as well as Brandi Brown’s ’07 work on Ephailure. But aren’t claims about a “hook-up culture” that leaves most students “dissatisfied” more associated with Wendy Shalit ’97? Just asking!

And if my friend Donna tells any amusing stories about her senior year roommate’s idiot boyfriend, let me just say that there is no such thing as bad press!

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CC Minutes 2008-04-09

Another amazingly detailed set of College Council minutes from Emily Deans ’09. Morty was at the CC meeting and answered all sorts of interesting questions. Here are some of the highlights (and my comments) but read the whole thing.

Thomas Rubinsky (Class of 2010 Rep) asked whether the college was doing anything about the loss of the rectory as a co-op?

President Schapiro responded that he did not know whether the college was going anything but made several comments about how much he likes co-ops. He said that there may be some opportunities to turn buildings into co-ops once the North and South buildings are completed.

Good news! Co-ops are indeed one of the very best parts of student housing at Williams, and it is good to know that Morty agrees. One of my concerns about Neighborhood Housing was that the inevitable failure to create meaningful neighborhood community would lead the Administration to try to salvage the project by pulling seniors back into the neighborhoods, mainly by attaching co-ops to neighborhoods or by decreasing the number of seniors allowed to live off-campus. Perhaps there is no need to worry about that now.

Yet it is still a shame that the Administration take the obvious next step. If co-op housing is wonderful and popular (more than 1/2 of all juniors applied), why not create more co-ops? Genius, eh? Someone from Gargoyle or College Council ought to look into this, ought to come up with a plan that increases the number of co-ops even if it means taking nice senior housing away from the clusters. Such a plan could, if anything, make senior housing in the neighborhoods more equal than it is today.

Narae Park (Dodd Board Rep) then asked about the 2020 Committee.

President Schapiro said that the idea for the 2020 Committee is that we are supposed to look ahead about a dozen years to see what kind of challenges are going to confront Williams. Some examples he gave were improving the public schools and being competitive with our peer institutions in terms of financial aid packages. Williams keeps changing the financial aid packages but it is hard to compete with Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, etc. and we are competitive but part of discussion is financial aid and part of financial aid is trying to create a more inclusive society. He also mentioned the 1.5 million dollars the college has for next year for environmental initiatives. Then President Schapiro talked about globalization and bringing the world to Williams and Williams to the world. He said that part of the 2020 effort is to position the college to be a more attractive place that does a better job of educating students.

It would be nice if the College were to be more transparent about the 2020 planning process. We can’t all be invited to the special retreat in Oxford, but why not share 90% of the material that was passed out at those meetings? (Redact anything particularly sensitive.) A College Council member ought to ask to see this stuff.

Spending more money on the public schools is about the most inefficient means possible of making Williams a better college. But it does make the faculty happy!

Is it just me or is the number one most obvious priority matching the financial aid packages of Harvard/Yale/Princeton/Stanford? I am not arguing that the College needs to be more generous than these schools, just that we shouldn’t force an applicant to pay $10,000 more to choose Williams.

Rachel Ko (Wood At-Large) asked about bringing the world to Williams and Williams to the world. Some students have been trying to push for experiential learning on campus and a lot of classes aren’t using local resources to really allow students to learn in the field.

President Schapiro said that faculty are very skeptical about giving credit for experiential things because it is very difficult to do it right. Most professors like what they teach and how they teach it and are skeptical about giving up control. Bringing the world to Williams means having a more globalized student body, faculty, and staff (increase international students) and that has made a difference. He thought that the curriculum and student body were in a pretty good place and want students to have a lot of experience outside of classroom but thought that it would be a tall order to ask faculty to give up control.

Exactly right. Although it is tough to know the exact meaning of “experiential learning” in this context (and I am a fan of Rachel Ko), no course credit should be given for anything outside of faculty control. Students should, of course, be encouraged to do all sorts of activities outside of classes and if someone wants to call this “experiential learning” all the better. But each semester you take 4 classes which Williams faculty judge important and rigorous. Many of those classes will involve work outside of the classroom, whether it is field observations in Hopkins Forest or studying paintings at the Clark. But a member of the Williams faculty is always in charge of the syllabus and evaluation.

President Schapiro was then asked about changes in scholarships. He said that the good news is that colleges are competing to be more affordable but he thought that some recent changes are things that aren’t necessarily fair. There are a lot of schools that have rich kids paying sticker price who aren’t as smart as the rest of the class and that is what need-aware admissions means. Williams does a good job and has a decent distribution of students with families all the way up the income ladder and the way to improve that distribution is to improve aid packages. He said that the new changes in aid are creating a bizarre incentive to put wealth in to home equity.

Good advice to all the Williams applicants among our readers. Indeed, there are probably dozens of current Williams students who could improve their financial aid package if their parents emptied the family (non-retirement?) savings accounts and put that money into home equity. If the money is in the bank, the College demands a piece of it. If the money is in your house, maybe not.

But Morty is being either naive or disingenuous to imply that this is some “problem” with the financial aid system that could be fixed via better policy, and/or collusion via the 568 group. The central issue is that very rich schools (H/Y/P/S) want to get the students they want and they have, for years, competed on price to do so. Williams is forced to either follow suit or have no non-rich student who could have attended HYPS choose us instead. The home equity “incentive” derives from this competition because HYPS found it convenient to cut price via the mechanism of ignoring home equity. Williams is forced to go along, not because it finds home equity a more sensible way to save but simply because of peer competition.

And the next steps in this competition are fairly obvious (and perhaps HYPS have already started in this direction). Soon, elite colleges will not even ask you for your savings. Your family’s wealth (whether stored in bank accounts or home equity) will play no part in your bill. Instead, they will just ask to see you 1040 and base the family contribution on your income.

Full minutes below and more commentary tomorrow.
Read more

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2020

The College is currently involved (big pdf) in a major planning process which focuses on the future to 2020.

President Schapiro has initiated a conversation with the multiple Williams constituencies to map out a vision for the College in 2020. While this process is just underway, we found his approach imaginative, timely, and inclusive. The senior management team and the trustees are comfortable using sophisticated models to predict evolving trends in higher education and these tools are used effectively to inform their planning. As the College moves forward
with this process over the next couple of years, it will develop plans to ensure that Williams is well placed to meet the challenges of 2020.

Nothing wrong with a little planning, although I have real doubts about what sorts of “sophisticated models” (read: Excel spreadsheets) are in use. But that’s not today’s rant.

I have heard that Morty and a large portion of the senior staff were just on (still on?) a boondoggle to England for some off-site discussion and planning relating to 2020. True? I have nothing against such trips, but don’t tell me that the College is really concerned about carbon emissions when it schedules meetings across the Atlantic that could happen just as well in Williamstown. Is it too late to buy some more offsets from Owl Feather War Bonnet Wind Farm? Just asking. Related rants.

If I were a member of TNG, I would make a big deal of this sort of hypocrisy.

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