January 5, 2015

Dr. Gerald Williams Selected to Attend Institute for Aspiring Chief Student Affairs Officers

VALDOSTA –Dr. Gerald Williams, Valdosta State University’s director of Career Opportunities, has been selected to participate in the Institute for Aspiring Chief Student Affairs Officers sponsored by the National Association of Student Personnel Administration (NSAPA). Williams is one of 64 higher education professionals selected across the country to participate in the institute from Jan. 18-21, in Long Beach, Calif.
The institute provides top student affairs officers with the opportunity to participate in sessions focused on strategic thinking, leading change, planning for career advancement, and tips on balancing work and life responsibilities.
“I am thrilled to know that I will be among a very talented group of administrators for this terrific learning and networking professional development experience,” said Williams, who was appointed director of VSU’s Career Opportunities in June 2013. “This is a unique opportunity to meet with vice presidents for student affairs across the country and reinforce the experiences I have gained over the years. The opportunity to share with peers and discuss issues affecting the future of student affairs in the current climate of higher education will be beneficial.”
With more than 15 years of experience in higher education, Williams has made strategic changes within VSU’s office of Career Opportunities within the past 18 months, including the consolidation and realignment of responsibilities associated with career planning, providing more professional internship opportunities, and increasing outreach to VSU alumni in support of career counseling.
In addition, he has increased the presences of career counselors within the Langdale College of Business Administration and College of Nursing and Health Sciences, initiated a Faculty and Employer Advisory Council, utilized benchmark data and best practices, worked to restructure the delivery of services, including online services and extended office hours to meet the needs of students and alumni.
“Traditionally career centers are seen as the place you go to get help with a resume, career advice, or help finding a job. However, career centers have had to adapt to serving a wider range of clients as the demand for the value of an education is evidence as students securing employment,” said Williams. “Over the past year VSU’s Career Opportunities has experienced significant shifts in staff, mission, and purpose. Capitalizing on a consolidation of two offices – Career Services and Cooperative Education – there will be a great deal of innovation and growth in the coming years.”

Williams further explained that the mission of VSU’s Career Opportunities has expanded its mission to provide career services that not only focus on the needs of traditional students but also adult learners, online students and alumni.
“We have taken many of our services online. We piloted a virtual career fair that was very successful,” Williams explained. “Our office is also in the midst of an aggressive faculty engagement initiative connecting faculty to employers as well as our office.”
To better serve VSU’s growing alumni population, Career Opportunities recently distributed a student survey that helps develop a picture of where graduates are going and how to better prepare them for their professional careers.
For more information on VSU’s Career Opportunities, visit the office website at http://www.valdosta.edu/student/student-services/career-services/ or call 229-333-5942.

Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.
Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities. 
Dr. Williams' selection to attend a national professional institute meets the following goals: 
Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.
Goal 3: Promote student, employee, alumni, retiree, and community engagement in our mission.
Goal 4: Foster an environment of creativity and scholarship.
Goal 5: Develop and enhance Valdosta State’s human and physical resources.
Visit http://www.valdosta.edu/administration/planning/strategic-plan.php to learn more.