Faculty & Staff
At Liberal Arts Career Services we are committed to helping students take full advantage of the power of a liberal arts education. We believe that a liberal arts degree is the best preparation for our students' future, whatever our students plan to pursue. Our mission statement is "translating a liberal arts education into a world of opportunities" and we enjoy helping our students find these opportunities.
But we also know that many students struggle with the transition between their courses of study and the working world. They question the value of their degree, wonder if they wouldn't have been better served by studying something more "practical" and if they will ever find a job. Unfortunately, many career guides and career counselors add to these concerns by implying that the job search is a linear path which begins by setting a specific goal, attaining the exact coursework and education related to that goal, and pursuing the career in a single-minded manner. Uncomfortable with the openness of a liberal arts degree, some career advisors attempt to homogenize it and make it palatable to an employer by reducing it to the simplest common denominator of skills.
We take a different approach to connecting our students to the workplace. While we agree that students acquire valuable skills in the process of pursuing their degrees, we believe that the strength of the degree doesn't lie in generic skills, but in the specific depth and breadth of the knowledge gained in and out of the classroom. We therefore encourage our students to examine the courses they've taken, look beyond the superficial aspects ("I'm a history major and am good at research") and dig deep for the unique learning and understanding they developed through their education and experiences.
- With which theorists or experts have they found themselves in alignment? Why?
- What theories or philosophies have they most enjoyed learning?
- How could they see themselves applying a particular theory or philosophy in their lives?
- How could an understanding and appreciation of Emily Dickinson lead one to a career as a psychologist?
- Why would a poet make an excellent business writer? What do those two schools of writing have in common?
- What are the leadership lessons one can learn from studying the thinking processes of the generals in the Civil War?
- How can an understanding of Buddhist philosophy help one become a better manager?
- How could an anthropologist solve personnel problems in a factory?
Our ultimate goal, then, is to help our students understand and articulate the value of their experiences here at UT. To that end, we provide a number of services to our students including specialized workshops and programs for specific majors, resume and cover letter writing assistance, practice interviewing, recruiting programs which bring employers to campus, and pre-law and graduate school assistance.
Specific Ways We Support Faculty
We welcome the opportunity to speak directly to your students. We can present in any class at any time. We are also available to "fill in" for you if you're are unable to teach a class and would prefer not to cancel the class.
Advertising Job Openings You Receive
The field of job placement is increasingly litigious and you can, with the best of intentions, find yourself in a challenging situation legally. To comply with employment laws, it is important that any job opportunity you hear about be publicly posted. It is permissible to tell particular students about an opportunity, as long as you have publicly posted the position, so anyone who is interested can apply. We can assist you with that: just email Kate Brooks (512-471-7900) with the information and we will take care of the public posting.
Legal Information Regarding Letters of Reference, Employment, and Internships
Faculty are often asked for letters of recommendation, job leads, or to supervise internships. While these are invaluable and greatly appreciated services you can provide to students, each of these situations has the potential for problems if you don't know the rules. For instance:
- Does a confidential recommendation always remain confidential?
- How do you handle the possible mistreatment of your student at an internship site?
- Is it legal for you to give an employer the names of minority students, if requested?
- What is the best way to handle a recommendation request when you don't believe you can write a good one for a student?
Liberal Arts Career Services belongs to the National Association of Colleges and Employers which regularly publishes guidelines and legal briefs related to the role of faculty in the career search process. We encourage you to read and become familiar with this information if you are providing these services to your students. Our staff is always available for a consultation if you are unsure of what action to take in a situation. We will also consult with the University attorneys as needed. Below are the links to the NACE articles:
NACE Guide to Hold Harmless Agreements Used by some internship sites. Do not sign one of these agreements. Contact LACS for further information.
How to Write Reference Letters This helpful site from NACE includes sample reference letters and the legal guidelines you will want to know.
References: What Can a Faculty Member Say or Write? Another NACE publication.
Credit-Based Courses for Students
LACS offers credit-based internship and career classes which help students translate their liberal arts education into the world beyond UT.
Contact Robert Vega, LACS Director, for help with any services for faculty and staff in the College of Liberal Arts: firstname.lastname@example.org, 512-471-7900, FAC 18.
Students who are encouraged by faculty are much more likely to take advantage of our services.
It's that simple.
Please consider becoming a partner with us in helping our students make the most of their time here at UT.