Through CareerWell, UNC-Chapel Hill’s graduate students can develop highly valued professional skills and explore opportunities offered through collaborations with companies, nonprofits and other organizations, said Jason Cramer, director of experiential professional development at The Graduate School.
“Even before the pandemic, we saw the increasing importance of business, data science and digital skills, which translate across disciplines and work environments,” said Cramer.
“As Carolina’s graduate students gain and contribute valuable knowledge in their academic fields, they will be able to build additional strategic skills through CareerWell to support their professional goals and prepare them for a rapidly changing workforce.”
The Graduate Certificate in Business Fundamentals, first introduced in 2017, is now offered through CareerWell and is open to all graduate students. Courses focus on communication, project management, leadership, accounting, research commercialization, digital health innovation and other professional competencies. No formal application is required, but graduate students are asked to email Cramer to express their interest in pursuing the certificate.
CareerWell is also jointly developing non-course opportunities with companies, nonprofits and government organizations, including interdisciplinary team internships, workshops, seminars, projects, networking events and more. Graduate students at UNC-Chapel Hill will need to complete a short registration survey to be considered for these future activities and receive communications about events aligning with their academic areas and professional goals, Cramer said.
CareerWell includes an Executives in Residence program to engage leaders in business, industry, government and the nonprofit sector to lead courses, seminars and other professional activities, Cramer said. Leah Townsend, chief executive officer for Pulvinar Neuro, is the inaugural Executive in Residence; a UNC-Chapel Hill doctoral graduate in neuroscience, Townsend previously served as The Graduate School’s director of graduate professional programs.
“Given the dynamic nature of our current work environment, it is critical that industry leaders contribute to the professional development of graduate students so that they leave Carolina fully equipped with not only critically needed skill sets, but also an understanding of how to apply them in the working world,” said Townsend.
“Through my work with CareerWell, I am excited to bring my experience and perspective into the classroom to help students build upon their traditional academic training and prepare for careers after graduation.”
Suzanne Barbour, dean of The Graduate School, said graduate students are increasingly viewing professional skills as a competitive advantage in the job search.
“In today’s economy, all graduate students need the type of leadership, communication, management and digital literacy competencies they can gain and grow through CareerWell,” she said.
“Newly minted Carolina graduate degree holders are entering a workforce that is unlike any we have seen in the past. The only constant in today’s workforce is change. CareerWell will be a constant source of support for Carolina graduate students’ career development, both during graduate school and after they have entered the workforce.”