On Sept. 30, President G.P. “Bud” Peterson consolidated the Division of Professional Practice (DoPP) and the Office of Career Services. This integrated unit is under the jurisdiction of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, who had previously only presided over DoPP while the Vice President of Student Affairs oversaw what happened within Career Services.
Dr. Colin Potts, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, described the two organizations as having a lot of overlap but two different goals ultimately.
Potts explained how undergraduates typically utilize DoPP to obtain internships and co-ops for work as part of the academic experience during their time at Tech.
“It wasn’t really the goal of DoPP to help students really think about their career as an integrated whole. It’s really to get academically related work experience,” Potts said, “Many students develop a relationship with and eventually work full-time for their co-op or internship employer.”
However, he went on to break down how Career Services assists graduates with first mapping out a long-term career path that may span the entirety of their working years and then land the job that fits it.
“Students would sign up for [full-time employment and co-ops/internships] using two different portals to [access]…Careerbuzz. So…the President thought it would be more sensible to merge the two organizations to make it more efficient and to avoid that sort of confusion,” Potts said.
“Being under the same umbrella as units including academic advising and tutoring, undergraduate research, and innovation and entrepreneurship, and having a close tie to the curriculum committees and the faculty will clearly serve to benefit career and life planning,” President Peterson said in a Tech News Center Release. “Having all of these units be part of a single organization has the potential for tremendous synergies among all of them.”
While the merger has already taken place, this newly formed organization lacks a name or an official department head. As Tech launches a nationwide search for an executive director, Harold Simmons came out of retirement to step into the role of interim director. Simmons was the director of the Cooperative Education Program for 30 years until 2010.
From this merger, students can expect broader and more accessible career planning resources. While DoPP was located in the Savant Building and Career Services in the Bill Moore Student Success center, this new organization will continue and expand DoPP’s services of office hours and resumé workshops in the College of Business and Clough according to Pott.
In addition, more work-related opportunities and career planning resources would be available to students in the Scheller College of Business and Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts rather than focusing primarily on engineers and computing majors.
“We have this saying ‘One Georgia Tech’ and I don’t believe it’s just a slogan. I think it should actually mean something and one way it means something is that we provide the same kind of support,” Potts said.
“I don’t really like the phrase sometimes people use when they say we’re preparing you for the real world as if Georgia Tech isn’t part of the real world…. I think this is the real world with training wheels,” Potts said.