The ACU Career Center has a found a new executive director after an extensive national search.
MaryEllen Olson took over the position on Jan. 10, after previous Executive Director Tim Johnston moved into the position of assistant dean of the College of Business Administration and School of Information Technology last summer.
Daniel Orozco, associate director of the Career Center had been serving in an interim position for the past six months and had a few things to say about what Olson could expect coming in.
“ACU has made an investment in the Career Center and not only is there support but also high expectations,” Orozco said. “She has inherited a great team and we know that she can continue the work and meet challenges.”
Prior to coming to ACU, Olson has worked in higher education as dean of students at three other universities. She has most recently helped head a consulting company which provided Fortune 500 companies with leadership assessments and training to help companies adopt cultural changes.
Olson has come to ACU to serve students and help them prepare for the future.
“Higher education is where my passion lies,” Olson said. “I’ve always had a heart for college-age students and a desire to give back.”
Olson has definitive plans for the Career Center and connecting with the various colleges on campus in order to better serve the students.
“We as a Career Center not only need to be leaders in our respective areas, but have partners across campus so we can lead together,” Olson said. “The heart of success is for all leaders to come together. Whether they are faculty, staff or especially our students. They’re our customers and we need to serve them.”
Olson spoke on the need for students to interact with the Career Center so that the services and help that undergraduates need will be available to them in the future.
“We’re more concerned with the quality than of the quantity,” Olson said. “Are we offering the right programs? We want to hit the heart of students so they’ll want to come back and in order to do that we need students to talk to us and tell us how we can serve them.”
The Career Center already has plans to offer the Discovery Program again this year. The program is a five-to-six week course in which students are provided with personality and skill assessments as well as personalized feedback sessions. It will also provide a list of jobs and careers that are well-suited to different types of individuals.
Last year, the program had around 110 students. Olson said she hopes to work with as many students as possible.
Orozco added that the Career Center also plans to continue holding expos and career fairs with several colleges from around Abilene including Hardin-Simmons University, McMurry University and Cisco College and that the activities held are open to all students.
“We’ve had challenges with people thinking in the past that we are mainly meant for seniors, but we love to talk to juniors, sophomores and even freshmen,” Orozco said. “I’ll be in the library commons every Wednesday to answer any questions about résumés or internships, or help direct you to someone who can. It’s never too early to start planning.”
More information about the Career Center and the services it offers students, faculty and staff can be found online at www.acu.edu/campusoffices/careercenter, or by calling the Career Center at 674-2473.