Dalhousie University brick buildings in sunset

Stronger Together: A Look at How Dalhousie University’s Management Career Services Works with & Shares Data that Matters, By: Zoë Mills

In this episode, we are joined by Jillian Pulsifer (she/her), Operations Support Analyst; Brittany Warren (she/her), Communications and Engagement Specialist; and Robert Wooden (he/him), Director of Management Career Services, at Dalhousie University. Together, they demonstrate the positive outcomes achieved through collaborative efforts in utilizing data to inform and support decisions. These decisions drive the transformative changes that Dalhousie’s team requires to enhance their impact on the career paths of their learners and adapt to the evolving times.

The Career Services management team at Dalhousie University relies on Outcome data to pose and address questions, document both collective and individual student stories, capture snapshots of progress and areas for growth, provide progress reports and employer or stakeholder updates, and share meaningful news and opportunities to their respective (or prospective) student audiences. 

Core takeaways from this episode include: 

  • Stronger Together: This is two-fold. Firstly, their team noted the importance of immersion in a community of practitioners (CEWIL has a pool of 1,700) who can share their experiences, best practices, tips, and strategies for harnessing Outcome and its data – particularly at the early-stages of adopting the software. Secondly, it is critical to create and operate within a team dynamic that fosters collaboration, supports failure enroute to innovation, and recognizes each other’s achievements – in this conversation, with respect to harnessing Outcome and its data in building what’s next.
     
  • Garbage In, Garbage Out: To keep data relevant and powerful you need it to be exact and clean – makes sense, right?! To maintain its Outcome database, the Dalhousie team regularly adjusts formatting, ensures fields are consistent, and meets within their team for training and maintenance – weekly and on a term-based schedule.
     
  • Data Does Trend: Noticing its patterning takes the right questions, a keen eye, and an understanding of analytics and this also means acknowledging that what you pull and share one day will already be ‘old’ the next. Data doesn’t stop and this means you can’t either – the work is always there, it requires undying commitment, teamwork, and inter-departmental collaboration.
     
  • Marketing 101 – Speak to Your Audience (and Do Something for Them): For an institution to uphold its value, it is crucial for learners to experience a sense of acknowledgment, support, and tangible outcomes. For instance, the team at Dalhousie identified a housing crisis affecting students, causing additional stress. This circumstance has made it challenging for learners to entertain opportunities for skill development and employment that involve relocating to a different region or being in proximity to their employer’s office. To better cater to their students’ needs in their preferred environment, Dalhousie’s team actively sought out more remote work roles within their system.
     
  • You Can’t Be Everything for Everyone: Oversaturation of social media platforms, applications, and communications outlets or channels provide what can feel like endless opportunities to connect with your audience and share data-backed news, updates, stories, and offerings but trying to get the message out ‘on all the platforms’ to connect with ‘all the people’ ‘all the time’ is not strategic. Choose the platforms and methods that will provide you with the most impact and work best for your team.
     
  • Make Your Own Formula and Then Keep Reformulating: Integrating your Outcome system is not a one-size fits all solution. This is, perhaps, one of our software’s greatest traits – it is built to work alongside the unique needs of an institution. For example, Dalhousie University does not categorize their WIL opportunities exactly like CEWIL and this, in part, is because the institution is a diversified setting which offers three options for learners to incorporate WIL into their studies, two of which are mandatory within their program,
    – A Bachelor of Commerce Co-op, Bachelor of Management Program (Optional Internship Program), Corporate Residency Program (Internship) mandatory.
     
  • A Time Machine and Crystal Ball Would be Nice: We all want forward-thinking, anticipatory reporting, for example, data that connects where grade 12 students and the next wave of prospective students are at skills-wise, their academic profile, and perhaps, even, patterns to show how to best serve career-readiness and institutional offerings to upcoming ‘audiences’ but we can’t have everything (at least, not yet) due to both software and systemic barriers to entry. Hopefully, this will change.

 

Meet our Guests:

Jill Pulsifier smiling at camera, wearing black shirt and long brown curly hair

 

Jillian Pulsifer (she/her), Operations Support Analyst, Management Career Services 

Originally from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Jillian Pulsifer obtained an undergraduate degree in English from St. Francis Xavier University and a Master of Information from Dalhousie University. The versatility of the Information Management field has provided many opportunities to Jillian, including a practicum with the NS Museum of Natural History, research work on information in policy and decision-making processes, and most recently, leading Dalhousie’s Career and Co-op database as the Operations Support Analyst. Jillian’s education in database management and appreciation for data integrity supports her work of capturing accurate information that is the basis of Management Career Services’ data storytelling. 

Brittany Warren, brown hair, glasses, wearing green shirt, smiling at camera

Brittany Warren (she/her), Communications and Engagement Specialist, Management Career Services

Brittany Warren is the Communications and Engagement Specialist at Management Career Services, where she promotes co-op and career programs and services to business students and the employer partners that hire them. Brittany has a Bachelor of Public Relations and nine years of experience in the communications field, including the three co-ops that she completed during her degree. She has spent the last six years of her career supervising marketing co-op students. Brittany is the winner of an International Association of Business Communicators Gold Quill Award of Excellence for her communications work to increase youth (ages 18-30) retention in Halifax. 

 

Robert Wooden, wearing collared shirt and blazer, smiling at camera

Robert Wooden (he/him), Director, Management Career Services 

  

With almost 20 years of experience in work-integrated learning as a hiring manager and as a practitioner and leader, Robert Wooden currently serves as Director of Management Career Services. His team supports approximately 900 work term experiences annually and provides career services to 2,000 undergraduate and graduate business students. Robert has spoken regionally, nationally, and internationally on a variety of work- integrated learning and career development topics. He is Chair of the CEWIL Canada Accreditation Council and a member of CEWIL Canada’s Board of Directors. Robert holds a Bachelor of Commerce and an MA in Leadership.
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