Preparing the Next Generation of Global Leaders. For us at Diversity Abroad, this means making sure students from underrepresented backgrounds have access to global experiences that will allow them to thrive in later stages of life. But what role do we have in supporting students throughout the entire continuum of the study abroad process, especially when they return home? Recruiters and hiring managers are now recognizing some of the connections between global education and top talent. As educators, we need to actively facilitate these connections for students before, during and after a global education program to give them the best chance to succeed.
To this end, myself and our CEO & Founder, Andrew Gordon attended the NACE conference in Las Vegas between June 6-9, 2017. For those who are not familiar, NACE (the National Association of Colleges and Employers) holds an annual conference that connects career services professionals to recruiting specialists and the business affiliates that serve this community. As many readers of this blog are aware, Diversity Abroad team members are very active in industry wide conferences and summits for education abroad (including hosting our own conference). However, this was our first time attending NACE in a formal capacity so it was a great opportunity to learn about the intersections of our two fields and to strengthen connections with career service departments and employers that are looking to recruit diverse talent to their organizations.
One of the things that struck me during the first day is that the “siloing” of institutional departments in higher education is real. At our exhibit booth, I was approached by career service professionals who worked for institutions that were members of the Diversity Network but were unaware of their membership status. To some extent, this is not entirely unexpected. We have long spoken about this siloing effect, acknowledging that many study abroad offices can often feel like islands on their own campuses. However, encountering this phenomena during the conference only reinforces that it’s an issue: career service and study abroad professionals that could be pooling their resources and talent to strengthen the links between global education and career mobility are simply not talking to each other.
A second revelation is that many of the challenges career service departments are currently experiencing are very similar to those found in study abroad. Time and time again, I was told by career service professionals about issues with recruiting, advising and supporting students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. Again, this should not be entirely unexpected as the challenges we face concerning diversity and inclusion in our specific fields are reflective of systemic challenges in our society. We also know how global education can help prepare students for working in the 21st century and much of the thought leadership and professional development endeavors we work on in the field can be adapted to address the challenges facing both departments on campus.
As always, Diversity Abroad looks to address these issues as holistically as possible by connecting directly with students as well as with our colleagues across the academy. One of our goals for the remainder of 2017 and beyond is to develop a fully utilized career center on DiversityAbroad.com, connecting students with not only internship and graduate school programs but to actual job opportunities. This career center will also make resources available to students to help them better leverage their global experiences in a competitive job market. Within the Diversity Network, we are continuing to focus on facilitating connections and professional development through the Diversity Abroad Conference, online short courses and our in-person and virtual workshops. Ultimately, attending a conference like NACE helps us align our goals more closely to that of the student: to complete their education and start a successful and rewarding career. We hope to see you again at NACE 2018!