Case Study

How uConnect Helped Binghamton University Scale Their Work and Drive a 153% Increase in Engagement

With a diverse student body of 19,000 students and an aggressive goal of reaching 100% of them, Binghamton University’s Fleishman Career Center wanted to scale their efforts and engage as many students as possible – even before they enroll.

How uConnect helped Binghamton University Scale their Work and drive a 153% increase in Engagement

With a diverse student body of 19,000 students and an aggressive goal of reaching 100% of them, Binghamton University’s Fleishman Career Center wanted to scale their efforts and engage as many students as possible – even before they enroll.

That’s why, in 2021, the Fleishman team at Binghamton partnered with uConnect to launch a virtual career center that offered much greater interactivity and support for students from their first year onwards. 

As a result of this partnership and other strategies, the team was able to increase first-year student engagement by 153%

Engaging students with customized career community pages

The Fleishman team knew it was important to get to students as early as possible to ensure that they had enough time to explore before choosing a career path. Using customized community pages, the team built out their “career clusters,” or groupings of complementary industries such as Arts and Communications, and Science and Healthcare. Each career cluster has curated content, featured job opportunities, job market data, events, and more.

Located adjacent to the admissions building, the team was able to promote the career clusters in and around their office, using consistent branding throughout, and posting QR codes on the windows that students could use to register on their mobile devices. Using the virtual career center’s automated alerts feature, they were able to partner with the orientation team to have incoming first-year and transfer students sign up for an automated newsletter from the career center. Because the newsletter is automated, the team doesn’t have to build it manually each week. Instead, when students register, it sends a newsletter covering general career navigation topics for a wide array of industries and career paths and is designed to help spark the students’ interest in specific career clusters.  

The windows of the Fleishman Career Center’s Office are decorated with information and QR codes linking to their career clusters built on uConnect

Thanks to this partnership, 79% of the users on the Fleishman virtual career center are new. That’s over 15,000 students – and very close to the 100% that the team is aiming for. 

“uConnect redefines what student engagement can look like and probably should look like right now as career services evolves. It’s about meeting students in different ways, making things accessible, figuring out what types of information they need, and letting them decide how they want to interact with that content,” said Ellen Vibbard, Senior Assistant Director for Career Education and Preparation at Binghamton.

Once new students sign up for the general newsletter, the team works to encourage them to explore the career clusters. They do classroom demonstrations for students highlighting how the virtual career center works and how to customize their experience. From there, students can register for career clusters and affinity communities, and their general automated newsletter will automatically become a deeply customized one with relevant articles, events, job and internship postings, and more that are specific to the industries they’ve chosen to explore. The Fleishman team doesn’t have to curate all of that customized content either, as the newsletter will automatically select relevant content based on the student’s updated career preferences. 

Students can sign up for a wide range of different career and affinity groups by scanning the QR codes that decorate the windows of the Career Center.

The whole process is seamless for students and allows them to explore several potential career paths. The Fleishman team encourages students to sign up for multiple clusters – especially as first-year students, so they have the time and opportunity to explore a variety of career interests. 

Scaling the team with uConnect

It was critical that the Fleishman team’s virtual career center (powered by uConnect) be as personalized as possible. With 19,000 students to reach – from first-year to doctoral students–, the virtual career center allows them to provide deeper support through online career resources like classes, videos, and resume templates so that all students have the freedom to do self-guided exploration, and still find the support they’re seeking.

In the meantime, students who are interested in one-on-one support are able to book appointments with the team. This is how they’re implementing the idea of being ‘high tech, to be high touch’, a perspective they were introduced to by an episode of the Career Everywhere podcast

Technology is at the heart of the Fleishman team’s strategy for scaling their work. With so many students, they had to be able to advise any student in any major, including those who are still deciding. Using their virtual career center’s career clusters as a framework, each team member is assigned to one career cluster. They learn the focus of that cluster and then train the rest of the team so that any career advisor can support any student. 

“Being a central career office with the charge to serve all students, uConnect really gives us the opportunity to remain generalists, but have specialized teams, information, advice, and resources available on our virtual career center,” Vibbard said. 

Another part of how the team is able to scale is through embedding career into the classroom. Using uConnect’s Labor Market Insights module, they design assignments for faculty to use in 100- and 200-level classes using the localized labor market data for their region. In these assignments, students are able to explore what job markets look like in different industries, and faculty are equipped to start career exploration conversations, and direct students back to the career center for more resources. 

“So, it’s all of these things that students are hearing about, it piques their curiosity, and it all leads back to uConnect, where they can feel special when they’re on that platform because they get to pick what they’re receiving. I think that helps the scalability of it as well. Beyond just pushing people to the platform, it’s trying to get them to experience the platform in real life,” said Lexie Avery, Senior Associate Director of Student Engagement and Career Readiness. 

In partnership with uConnect, the Fleishman Career Center team has been able to scale their important work and increase first-year student engagement from 28% to 71% in two years.  uConnect has also helped elevate the career center’s status on campus and made them an important first stop on every admissions tour and during new student orientation. Now Binghamton students start thinking about careers from the moment they step foot on campus.

To learn more about how you can use the uConnect platform to engage first and second year students on your campus, fill out the form below.

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