Nov 22 • 3 min read
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College undergraduate and graduate student resources, such as professional development, academic advising, and digital learning are an important part of the college experience. Graduating college students who don’t have relevant internship experiences can find themselves struggling to get their applications noticed by a hiring team.

To help prepare students to navigate internship and career opportunities, many schools have established specialized career centers that provide “career-coaching” and professional development as a quintessential part of a college curriculum.

The Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD) is an example of a specialized career center that provides resources and services to students enrolled in the Fox School to connect with the business community. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, CSPD shifted to online and continued to help students and staff navigate the world of virtual internships and zoom interviews.

Gary Blau and Daniel Goldberg, professor and assistant professor of human resource management in the Fox School, have compiled research on how students’ perceptions of the Fox School’s career center, academic advising and online digital learning were affected in the early stage of the pandemic. Their research has been published in the Journal of Education and Learning, Journal of Education and Development and Journal of Education and Developmental Psychology.

“One of the things that caught everybody by surprise with the pandemic was the impact on businesses and so many services shutting down,” says Blau. “Many students that had internships or jobs lined up after graduation found that these jobs just disappeared.”

In addition, students had to suddenly transition from face-to-face to online classes, as well as to online academic advising when Temple’s Main Campus closed. 

Blau and Goldberg’s research focused on the early pandemic’s impact on undergraduate graduating senior perceptions of academic advising, online digital learning, and professional development resources. This research data showed that even amidst this uncertainty, the Fox school’s student resource teams (including CSPD, Academic Advising and Online Digital Learning) each did incredible work to continue helping students find internships and jobs, without interrupting students’ studies in preparation for graduation. 

Although Blau thinks that there was probably similar research, he could not find other published studies regarding graduating undergraduate student perceptions about professional development, academic advising and online digital learning during pandemic onset. 

Most prior published early pandemic research had focused on academic-related issues, such as student enrollment impact and online teaching, as well as the pandemic’s influence on student mental health. This made Blau and Goldberg’s research at the Fox School a more unique area of pursuit.

“We were fortunate to have access to the Fox annual senior student satisfaction survey,” says Blau. “Data accessibility and data collection issues might be reasons most colleges did not focus on such topics, especially during the pandemic’s onset.”

Their survey data findings also noted how highly students still perceived that the reputation of the Fox School influenced the market value of their degree to employers, as well as students’ overall business degree satisfaction, despite the early challenges of the pandemic. Blau believes that it was important to study changes in overall student perceptions of Fox School resources from pre- to early pandemic.  

Lastly, Blau credits staff across the Fox School, including Corinne Snell of CSPD, Julian White of Academic Advising, and Carly Papenberg and Angelica Cionci from the Department of Online and Digital Learning and their respective teams, for all the support that they provided students with during COVID.

“Student resources at Fox have done a lot of great work in terms of meeting the pandemic challenges to help senior students’ progress uninterrupted towards graduation while successfully searching for internships and jobs,” says Blau. “Our goal was to draw positive attention to the effort and results achieved by Fox CSPD, Academic Advising Center and the Online Digital Learning teams.”

Academic Advising CenterCenter for Student Professional DevelopmentDaniel GoldbergGary Blauinternship searchOnline and Digital Learning CenterProfessional Developmentstudent perceptions