Helping Our Students Develop Outside the Classroom

During the summer, we have welcomed a number of new staff members including Brian Quinlan, the new Director of Student Involvement. Brian comes to us with more than 10 years of
experience in higher education.

Like many others who work here, Nichols appealed to Brian
because it offered him the opportunity to have a big impact on a small institution. (Of course having a new student center doesn’t hurt either!)

In fact, for the 2012-2013 academic year, the Center for Student Involvement plans on making the new student center the central HUB for Nichols College. Using the multiple programming spaces in the building, they will be able to create a new campus culture and give students (and staff & faculty) a place to call their own.

Staffing a separate Student Involvement office demonstrates Nichols’
commitment to helping our students develop “beyond the classroom.” As a result, the activities available to our students are comparable to those at campuses three times our size.  The opportunities range from clubs for students with very specific interests (such as Paint Ball and Poetry), to community service activities, to Student Government.

Other activities are designed to create a sense of community on campus among the students, staff and faculty. Bison Day takes place in early April and is a spring kick-off for students to enjoy themselves.  Thunder Thursdays are held on the last Thursday of the month to promote Bison pride and thank the Nichols College community for their support.

When students participate in outside activities, it helps them develop as much as their classroom-related experiences and activities.  Through involvement in clubs, organizations, and activities, students can develop important skills and abilities, such as leadership and teamwork.  It also enables them to interact with others that they may not otherwise encounter in their campus life.

In addition, students tell me that they tend to be more effective when they have a busy schedule.  So, involvement also enables students to focus more on time management and ensure that they allocate an appropriate amount of time for all of their responsibilities.

Of course, the overall goal of the Center for Student Involvement is to improve the student experience at Nichols and better prepare them for life after college. Through their involvement in organizations and Student Government-sponsored events, we hope to create an environment where students can excel.

Getting Our New Graduates Employed

I’m pleased to share with you an article of mine that recently appeared in University Business titled “Getting Our New Graduates Employed: A call for better job preparation during the undergraduate years.”  At Nichols, we are taking a next step to ensure that abilities such as critical thinking, quantitative analysis, effective communication, leadership and teamwork, and ethics and personal accountability appear across the curriculum.  Prospective college grads need to specifically map their skills and abilities to the job descriptions at hand.  Parents are expecting a career track for their children post-graduation, and we are delivering.  On average over the last five years, 94 percent of our graduates are employed within six months of graduation.  We believe this to be a great return on investment.