Once, students who got off the elevator on the third floor of 55 Whitney Ave. were faced with a maze of hallways leading to different offices, but now they all stop at the same desk.
This August, Yale College administrators launched the Center for International and Professional Experience, an umbrella organization that encompasses Undergraduate Career Services, the Office of Fellowship Programs, Study Abroad and the old Center for International Experience. Leaders of CIPE said they hope the newly integrated office will be easier for students to navigate than the previous layout and will help Yalies take a broader view of the opportunities at Yale and beyond.
“[All the offices] share a philosophy,” said Jane Edwards, dean of international and professional experience and associate dean of Yale College. “It’s about developing ownership and independence in respect to making decisions about students’ educations and careers.”
Edwards said the new system will help students find the advice they need faster and more easily. She and Allyson Moore, director of Undergraduate Career Services and associate dean of Yale College, planned the office’s transformation with help from the results of an external review of UCS, headed by Cheryl Matherly of the University of Tulsa and conducted by Yale faculty and outside experts, in the spring of 2009.
“Better integration of resources and better outreach to students were both high on the list of things that needed to happen,” Edwards said.
The student staff members at the office also have a new role to play, said Kelly McLaughlin, director of fellowship programs and director of outcomes assessment. Where peer advisors were once attached to a single office, each one will now work across the entire CIPE.
Edwards said the transformation is not purely organizational, but will also help advisers and students take a broader view of Yalies’ international and professional experiences. McLaughlin added that the integrated CIPE will help students and advisers alike take a “bird’s-eye view” of where individuals want to go and what resources are available to them, rather than focusing on a single semester, summer or opportunity.
“One major outcome [of the new structure] will be students identifying their goals, then mapping these goals against the activities most likely to help them get there,” he said.
McLaughlin further explained that CIPE will help students take stock of the nature of their international and professional experiences, and think about whether they have been involved in highly structured programs or have created their own experiences. To that end, CIPE created a chart to help students categorize their programmatic, experiential, academic and independent experiences in the hopes that Elis will reflect on and diversify their pursuits.
But several administrators said the character of the offices encompassed by CIPE have not changed significantly.
Kate Dailinger, director of national fellowships, said the fellowships office has always worked closely with the other offices at 55 Whitney Ave., so being part of CIPE is not a departure from past procedure.
Edwards said UCS will also maintain its separate identity, though it now functions as part of the larger CIPE.