Relevancy was the theme echoed in the Clemson University Student Affairs Committee meeting on April 13, 2021. Interim Vice President and Dean of Students Dr. Christopher Miller emphasized the importance of in Clemson’s educational environment.
80.5% of first-year students rated the 2020 summer New Student Orientation program overall good or excellent, according to data collected from the Clemson Student Leadership and Engagement Center.
For summer 2021 Clemson hopes to operate in a hybrid format. By leveraging the success of virtual platforms used in summer 2020 orientation such as PlaceFinder and FlipGrid, which have helped students connect to programs of their interests. Summer 2021 orientation hopes to involve a more in-person component, while still prioritizing safety. For 2021 Welcome Week, Clemson hopes to bring students earlier to campus and incorporate Leadership & Service Day into an in-person orientation, all of which would provide for a smoother transition for incoming students.
Early leadership training for first-year students is an initiative Clemson wants to incorporate into their orientation program. Clemson University’s new Student Leadership & Engagement Department has spearheaded the program by hoping to “create a uniquely Clemson experience that prepares every Clemson student to be a leader in their profession and community.” In fall 2020, 1,533 students attended a Leadership & Engagement program, and 99% of those students returned for the spring semester. For fall 2021, the kick-off event for the Student Leadership & Engagement Department, called Clemson Leader Day, will be on Aug 15, 2021.
racking student and employer participation in Clemson’s Center for Career and Professional Development provides insight into the impact the pandemic may or may not have had on career services and employment. In Spring 2021, co-op enrollment was 99% of the three-year average enrollment, signifying a minimal impact. Additionally, Spring 2021 off-campus internship enrollment was 90% of the three-year enrollment. More students have been utilizing virtual resources such as virtual appointments and workshops, chat features on the website, and email critiques to help them earn co-ops, internships, and jobs. In fact, the Center for Career and Professional Development has seen a 6464% increase in virtual counseling interactions.
Employer participation was 75% of the three-year average, but the committee was confident that the participation expected to come back up. During the pandemic, employers were forced to transition to virtual site visits, virtual interviewing days, and hybrid hiring processes. It has been efficient, as employers said they will continue to connect virtually even after the pandemic has ended, which the committee hopes will bring employer participation up again.
From first stepping foot on campus to the moment they are handed their diploma, students gain relevant experiences at Clemson that will help them in their professional and personal lives. Quantifying student experiences helps Clemson discover areas they are lacking in as well as places they are excelling. There is always opportunity for growth, and Clemson doesn’t shy away from the challenges the pandemic has posed.