This year will be an important one for me, as I assume the presidency of Chapman University. On Sept. 1, after serving for 10 years as Chapman’s chief academic officer, I will follow in the footsteps of the most successful president in American academia: Dr. James L. Doti. It is hard to overestimate the incredible role that President Doti has had in turning Chapman into a first-rate institution, and he certainly set a very high bar for me. But it is exactly because of the wonderful school that President Doti has developed, that I am truly excited at the opportunity to lead it, and to put my own imprint on an institution we all love so dearly.
As I develop ideas and priorities for the next several years, I cannot avoid reflecting on how, more and more, universities are being evaluated on the basis of their job placement rates following graduation. One of the most important things a university can do is to offer lifetime career services for its students and alumni. At Chapman, we are committed to providing best-in-class resources that will prepare our students to enter the job market, and help students and alumni find success and fulfillment in all of their professional endeavors.
In addition to the fundamentals, like resume writing and interview skills, we must support our students and alumni in the areas of career exploration, establishing professional goals and developing career search strategies. Most important, we need to offer opportunities for networking. Statistics show that nearly 80 percent of all jobs are landed as a result of networking, so by connecting students and graduates with alumni mentors and Chapman corporate partners who “Think Chapman First,” we can help our Panthers get that much-needed “foot in the door.”
We want our entire Chapman Family to “Think Chapman First” and to consider Chapman their “career connection for life.” This effort is really about establishing a career continuum. I believe that making career preparation and support a top priority at Chapman will be a real differentiator for potential students and their parents who are trying to decide which college to attend. For our current students, thinking about getting an internship or job isn’t something that should wait until graduation. It’s a process that should begin much earlier by seeking out and utilizing the valuable career resources offered at Chapman. For our alumni, it means that no matter where they are in their careers, they can always come back to Chapman to find the resources, support and connections they need. For employers, it means they can count on Chapman to be a true partner in their recruitment and hiring of our alumni and students.
We have some work to do, but my goal is to see Chapman set the standard in the area of career services for our students and alumni alike. So stay tuned, and remember to “Think Chapman First.”
Daniele C. Struppa