Career Center Impresses Chinese Delegation
UT Dallas Hosts Group Touring U.S. to Learn About Workforce Development
Nov. 18, 2009
Education officials and career counselors from top Chinese universities visited the UT Dallas Career Center recently to learn how large American colleges help students prepare for the world of work.
The group focused on the center's career counseling and employment services as part of a two-week national tour of government agencies to learn about workforce development.
The participants chose UT Dallas because its Career Center has a strong reputation for helping students handle the transition from postsecondary education to employment. Group members explored the career seminars and career coaching resources offered by the Career Center, as well as the structure and financing of the office.
“The cultural exchanges that occurred are invaluable, from both perspectives,” said Career Center director Michael Doty. “While we were supplying a great deal of information to the delegation, we also tried to understand how their system is different from ours. And the differences are great, from the needs of their students to the structure of their organizations.”
The time is ripe for this type of cultural exchange because access to higher education for Chinese citizens has expanded in recent years. At the same time, there has been an increase not only in the number of college graduates in China seeking employment but also in the number of service organizations that help those graduates with their searches. Since university-level career counseling is in its infancy in China, the delegates came to UT Dallas armed with a slew of questions.
Mr. Cai Zhen, Deputy Director of the Career Center at Tsinghua University in Beijing was struck by the quality of the employees in the Career Center. “My impression is that you are very professional. You’re a top-notch service center,” he said. “With that strong staff, I’m sure you do a wonderful job and provide wonderful services to your students.
“Your services are quite comprehensive,” Cai went on to say. “Also, I’d like to mention that the internships and the mock interviews, plus the coaching services—that’s something quite inspiring.”
Ms. Xu Mei, Director of the Student Affairs Office of Fudan University in Shanghai, was impressed by the similarities she saw in Chinese and American universities. “There is a demand from the student side,” she said. “In both countries we discovered the need to help the students find a job. They need some coaching and some professional career-counseling services. In China, all the universities are setting up counseling centers or already have career-counseling centers. Visiting universities here, I realize the situation is the same with the U.S. students.
“We have what you call a hybrid system,” she continued. “We have a centralized center and in each department we have an advisory organization to help them focus on each particular profession. The advisors or the counselors are getting more and more professional. There are far more certification processes being developed. More and more actual hands-on experiences like internships, mock interviews and job fairs that lead to the actual result of finding a job for the students—those are the similarities of our two countries.”
Delegation members were impressed by the Career Center's mock interviews and coaching services. Delegation escort Katherine Forshay (front, third from left) said the group visited a number of institutions. "Each of these institutions was selected to represent a specific type of college or university in America, or to discuss a specific facet of the career counseling field,” said Forshay, program officer for the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.