Heart of the Matter

Andy Chan's Blog for Parents, Mentors and Teachers


Andy Chan’s TEDx talk entitled “Career Services Must Die.”

Each year, thousands of college students try to figure out what to major in. They experience significant anxiety and confusion about how that choice relates to their career path.  After making that choice, many students don’t seriously think about career decisions and the job search until Winter break of their senior year.  Many never consider going to the office of “Career Services.”  Some don’t even know it exists.  Others are embarrassed to not have visited the office sooner.  Others think it’s just too late.  As much as our colleges have evolved and improved and the world of work has changed, this perennial experience has occurred for decades.  For it to change, “Career Services” must die.

An Overview of the OPCD

In 2009, as part of his Strategic Plan, President Nathan Hatch envisioned a campus culture in which personal and career development would be a mission-critical component of the undergraduate student experience. He imagined and set out to ensure an undergraduate experience in which students would gain not only an academic education, but also a career education by utilizing all four years to learn about themselves and their options in the world of work. Soon after, he appointed Andy Chan as the Vice President for Personal & Career Development, the only known cabinet-level career development professional in higher education. Assuming President Hatch’s vision, VP Chan conceived of an innovative, well-resourced office designed to successfully prepare students for the world of work in a comprehensive way. By audaciously aiming to impact every student and to activate the entire college community, a new paradigm for personal and career development was launched.

An Introduction to the OPCD Staff

Orientation 2012

On August 28th, the OPCD had the opportunity to introduce our office and our resources to the Class of 2016. In our orientation program, staff members demonstrated that you are not “married to your major” at Wake Forest as well as the importance of starting your career process early.

Andy explained to the First-Years that their career path is like an unpredictable journey: they may not know where they are going or how they will get there, but the OPCD is here to help them in the process. In order to emphasize this point, Andy had the first-years create paper airplanes after writing down their initial career and geographic preferences. Then, as one class, they “launched” their career journeys by tossing their planes in every direction. Here is a video capturing this fun and memorable moment: