College grads, take heart: You’re entering best job market in years

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: May 24, 2016

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, the denizens of Southern Methodist University’s campus seemed to move at a leisurely pace.

A few cyclists clicked along the pathways and the stately brick buildings, with their bright white colonnades, were quiet. Commencement had taken place a few days earlier.

But for Regina James, the busy season was getting into full swing.

“There are still students who are in transition. They’re either waiting to hear back about offers — there’s a little anxiousness there — or they’re students that maybe just didn’t get around to the search, so they’re starting to reach out and say, ‘I don’t have anything yet,’” she said. “Those students, we’ll be helping throughout the summer.”

James is the associate director for employer relations at SMU’s Hegi career center.

Experts say newly-minted college graduates in the Dallas area are entering one of the best job markets they’ve seen. But James said that’s no excuse to slack off in the hunt.

“We encourage students to have multiple internships for a number of reasons,” she said. “You’ve got to think about it as, not only are you competing against your peers here, you’re competing against peers from other institutions in the area, you’re competing against institutions nationally [whose students] may desire to live in the Dallas area.”

According to a report by the firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, 1.8 million Americans with four-year degrees are expected to enter the workforce this year, where they’ll be greeted by the best job market for college graduates in several years.

The report cites the fact that the nation has seen almost 70 months of job gains, meaning that 14 million workers have been added to payrolls across the country. Meanwhile, Baby Boomers are retiring.

A National Association of Colleges and Employers survey found that companies are slated to hire 5.2 percent more new graduates than a year ago.

And, the report says, 59 metro areas have unemployment rates below 4.0 percent.

All of those factors add up to a demand for workers who are ready to start their careers.

In Dallas-Fort Worth — one of those metro areas with a low unemployment rate — there’s extra momentum, said Bud Weinstein, an economist and associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute at SMU’s Cox School of Business.

The region’s economy is more diverse than it’s ever been. And more companies are relocating or expanding in North Texas — in part because they’re attracted by the area’s talent pool.

“Dallas-Fort Worth probably has the strongest job market in the nation among large metropolitan areas — maybe not in absolute numbers, but certainly in percentage terms,” Weinstein said. “I think the job market has never looked better, particularly for college graduates.”

Michael Carroll, director of UNT’s Economics Research Group, added that although energy and manufacturing jobs across the state are hurting, “we’re fairly insulated from that” in North Texas.

A flood of migration into the state, Carroll said, has also helped keep wages at a manageable level and competition for workers from scaring off new jobs.

“I think it’s a real positive with all the companies moving in,” he said.

Higher education institutions around the region say they’re bullish on the possibilities for their graduates — whether they’re armed with a bachelor’s degree or trade certification.

“I cannot even tell you — we’re tripping over jobs,” said Dawn Gomez, career services coordinator at the Dallas County Community College District’s Northlake College in Irving.

The hard part, she said, is connecting students with the right employer in an age when job hunters have countless online resources.

“Soft skills, communication, critical thinking, teamwork — employers want those that can pull it all together in a composed, succinct package,” Gomez said.

For Morgan Slottje, who graduated from SMU in December, settling on a career path wasn’t easy.

As an undergraduate, she said with a chuckle, she changed majors “at least 10 times.”

Throughout college, she also test drove various jobs through internships: She worked on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, she worked in marketing.

When the time came to focus on the job search, Slottje, 23, applied to “hundreds” of jobs she said sounded interesting, from advertising to financial analysis. She considered getting a master’s degree in statistics.

In the end, Slottje said she went to a Deloitte presentation and felt a strong sense that its values aligned with hers: An emphasis on continuing to learn and grow.

“I picked a company where their values really align with mine,” she said. “That’s important with the job search — I want a career. I want to love what I’m doing.”

And although Slottje said she was open to moving to another city, she preferred to stay in Dallas, close to her parents and where living costs are more manageable than in New York, where she went to school for 2 and a half years before switching to SMU.

“I’d rather be in a city like Dallas when I’m starting a career,” she said. “I’m versed in tech, but when I was interviewing [with a company in the] Bay Area, I was thinking, ‘No matter what I’m getting paid, I’m going to be so poor.’”

She’ll be starting a job here, in business technology consulting at Deloitte in July.

Reggie Davis, a 21-year-old University of North Texas logistics student, won’t graduate until next year.

He said he’s optimistic about his job prospects, particularly in logistics. In D-FW, information technology and other “knowledge” jobs that require college degrees are in high demand, particularly given the breadth of the region’s transportation industry.

His father, too, works in logistics, meaning he’s had exposure to the jobs for years.

Nevertheless, Davis said he’s not cruising to graduation day.

For one thing, UNT’s logistics program requires that students intern before they graduate, so he’ll be working at Schneider Logistics this summer.

Davis is also participating in the school’s professional leadership program, which aims to prep students for business leadership with access to mentors and professional development opportunities.

He said that although he’s been around supply chain and logistics work — it’s what his dad does, too — he sees the internship as both a way to get an edge and to test out which specific type of job he might like best.

“If I end up doing well in the internship and enjoying it, I would be glad to consider a full-time position or transition to being a full-time employee,” he said. “But I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket.” READ MORE

Celebrating Dedman College Faculty Books

  • View a slideshow of the event photos here.
  • For more information on Dedman College faculty books, click here.

May Commencement Weekend

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Congratulations to all the Dedman College graduates. Looking for the latest schedule of events? Read More 

SMU’s May 14 Commencement celebrates academic achievement

SMU News

Originally Posted: May 3, 2016

SMU will celebrate the academic accomplishments of more than 2,500 students at its 101st annual Commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 14, in Moody Coliseum.

Guests are urged to arrive early as seating in the coliseum is limited to four guests per student. Additional seating will be available for a simulcast of the event at Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports, Crum Auditorium and McFarlin Auditorium. The ceremony also will be broadcast outside Moody Coliseum on Bolin Plaza, and there will be a live webcast of the ceremony at http://www.smu.edu/live.

READ MORE

Dedman College student Diana Cates shares her inspirational story

Sophomore Diana Cates delivered a heartfelt speech about her road to SMU and desire to serve. She was featured during SMU’s Campaign Finale and Founders’ Day Weekend Celebration.

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Dedman College alumna Lisa Walters is working for the educational nonprofit Global Citizen Year in Ecuador, where a deadly quake hit

SMU News

Originally Posted: April 20, 2016

SMU Aluma in Ecuador and SMU police officer dad grateful for far-reaching support after quake

Lisa-Walters-in-Quito

DALLAS (SMU) – Everything Lisa Walters learned from earning recent SMU degrees in human rights and Spanish is being put to the ultimate test in Ecuador. She was about to board a plane back to her home in the South American country Saturday, April 16, when she learned Ecuador had been struck by a devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

Lisa, the daughter of SMU Assistant Chief of Police Jim Walters, moved to Ecuador a week after her May 2014 graduation and now works as a team leader for the educational nonprofit group Global Citizen Year (GCY), a program that provides study abroad opportunities for young men and women in their “gap” or “bridge” year between high school and college. She was changing planes in Houston, on her way back to Quito after escorting a group of GCY students to California, when she learned the quake had killed hundreds, injured thousands, and left some 40,000 people searching for shelter, food and family members.

At the time, her usually unruffled police officer father was, “to be honest, frantic,” he says.

Since he and his daughter are close, they communicate almost daily by email or via the international–calling WhatsApp service. Chief Walters worried about her heading to Quito, which had closed its airport to allow in only flights carrying relief supplies.

After the duo connected during Lisa’s delay in Houston, she checked in as “safe” on Facebook –

much to the relief of her 687 friends on the social media network and her Ecuadorean husband of less than three months. Meanwhile, countless people were contacting Chief Walters to inquire about his and Lisa’s wellbeing.

“It was a pretty amazing feeling to hear from so many people, especially at SMU, who showed just how much they care about us,” he says. “It was heartwarming to say the least.”

As Lisa and her father connected with family members and friends during a multi-hour delay in Houston, her flight was finally cleared to return to Quito. But once there, she would spend nearly another full day trying to get a seat on a bus to take her to her home, three hours away in the Imbabura province that borders hard-hit Esmeraldes. READ MORE

 

 

Associate dean for General Education addresses questions about UC-2016

SMU Daily Campus

Originally Posted: April 16, 2016

By: Peter Moore, associate dean, General Education

Let me take a moment to address the issues Noah Bartos raised in his editorial regarding UC-2016.

Noah is rightly concerned about the potential headaches various groups will face regarding two very similar curricula (UC-2012 and UC-2016). We are too. He notes the increase in paperwork. That comes in three forms: 1) course proposals that faculty must write; 2) assessment; and 3) student petitions.

He is right in pointing out that in the near-term faculty will have some additional work to do. A significant portion of that has already been completed this spring and I hope that most of the rest will be finished by December. There is a sense of fatigue, but this is offset to some extent by the improvements he notes in the structure which allow for new opportunities for participation. Regarding assessment, my expectation is that this will actually decrease initially (while eventually returning to the current level).

My biggest concern is with student petitions that will arise through confusion between the two curricula. Noah notes this problem as well regarding the mixture of requirements in the same course. This mixture does not involve Proficiencies and Experiences which are identical in both curricula. We are aware of the problem regarding pillars (UC-2012) and breadth and depth (UC-2016) and will be working to mitigate the headaches that are bound to result.

Noah also raises concerns with the new STEM requirements which he believes have the potential to unduly impact Meadows’ students. With regard to the lab-based portion (PAS under UC-2012) of this requirement the revision in UC-2016 is closer to the original intent of the UC adopted in 2010, that students complete two lab-based courses. The TM requirement, however, should not be an additional burden for most Meadows’ students who will be able to complete it in the major (e.g., Theater Lighting).

Noah notes the advantages from the simplified Second Language requirement which should prove beneficial across all majors. The changes in UC-2016 are designed to lessen the need for double-counting pillar courses by opening up courses in the major.

For example, I expect Cox majors to benefit when ITOM 3306 (a required course for all Cox students) satisfies the TM requirement. In this case the number of UC requirements met in the Cox major will increase from two to three. The modifications introduced in UC-2012 were designed to address high-credit majors and enhance students’ ability to double major. Students should find the same advantages in UC-2016 along with a simplified structure.

Finally he argues that the language of the proposal does not provide an adequate description of content. The descriptions match the information provided in the original UC and are augmented by the Student Learning Outcomes. Together these do provide a good basis for determining what the new breadth and depth requirements are all about.

Nearly two years ago the University Curriculum Council responded to concerns about the original UC and introduced key modifications. Those modifications have helped the class of 2012 to graduate on time. However, the modifications led to some unintended consequences which UC-2016 addresses. We expect that our efforts this time around will be even more beneficial. READ MORE

WLL Faculty Accomplishments

Renata Eguez had a chapter entitled “Writing the Riverbanks in El libro flotante de Caytran Dolphin, by Leonardo Valencia” accepted for publication in the edited volume Written in the Water: The Image of the River in Latino/American Literature. The editors, Elizabeth Rivero and Jeanie Murphy, are looking for publishing options.

She also had a paper entitled “Ecuador visto por Rolf Blomberg: recuperaciones del archivo y la mirada en El secreto de la luz (2014)” accepted for presentation at the forthcoming Latin American Studies Association in New York in May.

https://lasa.international.pitt.edu/eng/congress/upcoming-congresses.asp

Lourdes Molina had a paper entitled “Abilio Estévez’s Palaces of the Past: Havana in the Special Period” accepted for presentation at the NorthEast Modern Language Association Conference in Hartford Connecticut in March.

http://www.buffalo.edu/nemla.html

Dayna Oscherwitz had an article entitled “From Bab el Oued City to Timbuktu: Flipping the Script on Global Jihad” accepted for publication in a special issue of Studies in French Cinema on Terrorism in North African Cinema. The article and issue will be published in October 2016.

http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rsfc20/current

She also had a paper entitled “Overturned Equality: Migration, Globalization and the African Immigrant Film” accepted for presentation at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference in April in Atlanta.

http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.cmstudies.org/resource/resmgr/2016_Conference/SCMS_Atlanta_2016_Conference.pdf