Continuing the ROI Conversation

To the Editor:

In Erik and Michele Andrews’ April 4 letter, “Response to Apel’s ROI Article” (The Oberlin Review, April 4, 2014), they spoke about the importance of Oberlin’s graduates preparing for their futures. We appreciated their thoughts and are also impressed that their student took this kind of initiative in his first year.

Preparing for successful careers is a critical need that is supported by the faculty, administration and by our alumni. Over the past two years, Oberlin has taken a number of steps to increase services, resources and programming available to our students. The Career Center and the Alumni Association are working together and with other College partners to address the needs of our students — including a stronger alumni network, the main issue of concern in the Andrews’ letter. Along those lines, we would like to mention two initiatives currently under way.

The first is an upgrade of our alumni online directory. We will be launching a new online presence this fall, which will allow for alumni to provide more robust career information and will better facilitate mentoring connections between students and alumni. Students and alumni should watch for updates later this year, and we encourage all alumni to update their information with as much detail as possible, specifically so that students and other alumni can find professional connections.

While we are enhancing our system, we would like to mention that the current alumni online directory, OBIEWeb, does have a lot of valuable information available, including information on many alumni who are physicians. The best way to start a search is to use the key-

word search function. If you enter “surgeon,” you will find 79 matches. The term “physician” yielded 516 hits. One can enter specific terms, such as “obstetrician” or “medical ethics,” and focus on particular interests.

If you are a student or alumnus who is not having success with a search, please contact the Career Center or Alumni Office for assistance. While you will forever be able to access the software and the alumni information it houses, be certain to start by having at least a short conversation with staff. This will help you fully benefit from its use and understand the key navigation strategies that will help you avoid frustration and unnecessary disappointments along the way.

Our alumni volunteers are driving the second initiative. The leadership of the Alumni Association is reviewing its programming, and one of their priorities for the future is enhancing professional connections and networking for students and alumni. In addition to encouraging more alumni to complete their online profiles and to host students who have internships and Winter Term opportunities, the Association is also encouraging the formation of alumni groups based on professional fields and expertise. The first official professional-based alumni group will be for health career alumni and its formation is already under way. The alumni leading this effort are physicians, and their primary interest is in better supporting current students who are interested in health-related careers.

We have much work ahead of us, but we are partnering to enhance professional opportunities and connections for students. We have a creative and passionate community that begins with four or five years on campus but continues for a lifetime; our goal is to strengthen the mechanisms for connecting individualmembers of the community with each other and better support our newest members as they prepare to leave Oberlin College and Conservatory for the next stage of their lives.

– Danielle Young

Executive Director, Oberlin Alumni Association

Richard T. Berman

Career Center Director