Vanderbilt to increase support for graduates’ career success

Vanderbilt University is elevating its career engagement resources for students, alumni and employers by making the leader of career advancement and engagement activities a direct report to the provost. The vice provost for career advancement and engagement also will serve as the Evans Family Executive Director of the Career Center.

Interim Chancellor and Provost Susan R. Wente (Vanderbilt University)
Susan R. Wente, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs (Vanderbilt University)

“We have made tremendous progress over the past five years in supporting Vanderbilt’s students in their career pursuits. By creating the vice provost for career advancement and engagement position, we want to recruit a collaborative visionary who will work closely with our university leadership and other stakeholders to further strengthen resources and synergies that promote our graduates’ career success,” Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente said. “In my planning with Chancellor Daniel Diermeier and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Vanessa Beasley, we are taking this next step forward to make investments that provide an unrivaled experience for our students as well as employers across a broad spectrum of industries and professions.”

The new vice provost also will be a key strategic partner working with all academic deans and other vice provosts to support efforts across Academic Affairs for current students, as well as with the vice chancellor for development and alumni relations for support and connection with alumni.

The vice provost position will oversee the direction of the Career Center while building out further support of employer and corporate relations and alumni career engagement for the university. The Career Center serves all full-time undergraduate and graduate students with a portfolio that includes high-touch engagement programs, workshops and employer partnerships for career development. The center also offers career coaching for recent graduates.

Katharine S. Brooks, the Evans Family Executive Director of the Career Center, will step down from her leadership role at the conclusion of the spring 2021 semester to further pursue her writing and consulting career while also remaining part of the graduate student coaching team and providing services for young alumni.

Among the vice provost’s new responsibilities will be expanding current relationships with employers and alumni through meaningful engagement, coordinating closely with career services in the university’s professional schools, establishing recruiting relationships with new and more diverse employers, and increasing connectivity between students and potential employers.

External engagement will be an important focus for the new hire, who will oversee the development and ongoing efforts of a new set of university activities in prioritized locations outside of Nashville. The goal is to support alumni, students and employer/corporate relations directly and locally, as well as build networks for future and ongoing university-related activities.

The vice provost for career advancement and engagement and Evans Family Executive Director of the Career Center will be a key member of the provost’s leadership team. Qualified candidates should have at least 10 years of leadership experience—preferably in the business, political and/or higher education field. They should have served in a management role requiring frequent interaction with a range of stakeholders, including corporate leaders, benefactors and donors.

The search committee members are:

  • Douglas L. Christiansen (chair), vice provost for university enrollment affairs and dean of admissions and financial aid;
  • Fares Ali, Class of 2022, College of Arts and Science, political science/sociology; founder, Launch Mentorship;
  • Andrea Capizzi, associate professor of the practice of special education and director of undergraduate studies, Department of Special Education, Peabody College;
  • Elizabeth Catania, assistant professor of neuroscience and director of undergraduate studies, Department of Neuroscience, College of Arts and Science;
  • Somto Dimobi, BE’19, Young Alumni Leader, Alumni Association Board; associate consultant, ‎Bain & Company, Houston;
  • Jennifer R. Frist, BS’93, investor and philanthropist, co-endower of the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation;
  • Kathleen Gould, senior associate dean for biomedical research, education and career development, Louise B. McGavock Chair, professor of cell and developmental biology, School of Medicine;
  • Puja Jagasia, Class of 2021, College of Arts and Science, medicine, health and society/neuroscience; chair, Academic Affairs Committee, Vanderbilt Student Government;
  • Eric Johnson, Ralph Owen Dean and Bruce D. Henderson Professor of Strategy, Owen Graduate School of Management;
  • Olivia Kew-Fickus, assistant provost and executive director for Planning and Institutional Effectiveness;
  • Steven Madden, BS’91, Vanderbilt University Board of Trust member; CEO, Apex Heritage Group;
  • Rosevelt Noble, BS’97, MS’99, PhD’03, assistant dean of residential colleges, director of the Bishop Johnson Black Cultural Center, faculty head of Stambaugh House, senior lecturer in sociology;
  • Cynthia B. Paschal, senior associate dean for undergraduate education, associate professor of biomedical engineering, associate professor of radiology and radiological sciences, School of Engineering;
  • Conner Searcy, BA’97, founder and managing partner, Trive Capital.