The Office of Career Planning (OCP) at Meredith College is excited to share the updated Career Planning Workbook. The refresh was a collaborative effort between OCP, students from Assistant Professor of English Jennifer Burgess’ classes, and an alumna.
Prior to the 2021-22 academic year, Burgess was searching for an experiential project to include in her courses. Coincidentally, OCP was planning to revise the Career Planning Workbook, which was first published in 2017. It was the perfect opportunity for students to gain real-world experience in the classroom.
“We knew [the workbook] needed a refresh. We had just gone through 2020 and a lot of things were changing. The workplace landscape was looking different. It was a great partnership and good timing that Jennifer shared she was looking for something,” said Dana Sumner, director of OCP.
In the fall of 2021, students in Burgess’ Text and Image (ENG-250) course analyzed the format and design of the first edition of the workbook with the goal of improving the user experience. At the end of the semester, the class presented their suggestions to staff members of OCP, including
Nerminda Albukhary, ’22, a student who took ENG-250 and is now working as a software engineer, said she learned relevant skills from the project. “One of my personal goals for this experience was to make the workbook more user-friendly. We perform usability testing for applications at my company. Having prior experience as a usability tester helped me establish proper usability tests at my job,” she said.
Students in Topics in Professional Writing (ENG-361) continued the project during the spring of 2022. Their recommendations focused more on the content of the work, such as adding an introduction to OCP and its services and including a section discussing post-graduate opportunities.
In the spring and summer of 2023, OCP researched employer trends, examined other career workbooks, and reviewed student feedback. The end result is a comprehensive, relevant, and timely resource for the Meredith community. Everyone from first-year students to alumnae can find the workbook useful.
The second edition of the workbook articulates its purpose, intended use, and benefits, all of which were suggested by Burgess’ ENG-361 students. Additionally, the new workbook is fillable when downloaded to allow users to easily complete the prompts and update their answers as they progress in their careers.
The workbook was designed by Meredith alumna Kayla Burton, ’18. Burton designed the first edition of the workbook in 2017 as a student intern for the OCP. Now working as a professional graphic designer, she was able to apply her improved skills to one of her first projects.
“The refresh of the workbook is a great representation of how we collaborate on this campus. We hope it makes career and professional development more accessible to more people,” said Sumner.