HomeSpring 2017NotablesDean’s Message
Dean Robert Sumichrast
Robert Sumichrast Photo by Oliver Meredith

Student input is critical in shaping Pamplin’s programs and services. This semester, I met with members of a new organization, the Dean’s Student Advisory Council. This was another step in developing ways to solicit student input — some formal and some informal. Existing mechanisms have already led to big improvements, and we will announce additional changes in the coming months.

One longstanding formal mechanism for student input is an annual survey about career success. The majority of our students provide us with information about their job offers or other plans, such as continuing education or working as an entrepreneur in a startup company. This information has helped us expand Pamplin’s career services effectively and also has documented that about 9 out of 10 students have job offers by graduation.

There are many other areas where we rely on student participation and engagement. I’ve had spontaneous conversations with students that made me suspect that our academic advising could be improved. We followed up with surveys, focus groups, and additional conversations. The end result is that, two years ago, we changed to a more centralized system relying on well-trained professional advisors. This improved student satisfaction from 50 percent to 80 percent. We called the change “Advising 2.0.” Now, we are ready to move to “Advising 3.0,” where the staff will have a much more personal relationship with individual students. The advisors will better integrate course schedules with career plans and will ensure that students are connected with other Pamplin services — particularly our career services.

We are also using the suggestions of our former students to add alumni services. Since the start of this year, we have been helping alumni who want to change companies or careers. Contact Stuart Mease (smease@vt.edu) or visit https://pamplin.careers/ to learn more about Pamplin’s lifelong career services. Hokies are loyal for a lifetime — and Pamplin wants to return that loyalty with this new service.