Case Study Summary
The Office of Career Services scaled its student career exploration workshops and services by leveraging the TruMotivate assessment with students and training its student workers to become Peer Facilitators.
Empowering Peer Facilitators
University career centers support students in exploring career options, building professional skills, pursuing graduate education, and preparing to enter the job market. They provide vital access to student resources and professional development opportunities for student workers but often struggle with scalability.
With a small team and a caseload of 10,000+ students and alumni to support, The University of Tampa Office of Career Services knew finding a scalable solution to meaningful career exploration programming could be game-changing. In the Fall of 2020, they teamed up with TruMotivate to roll out a Peer Facilitation pilot program that trained student workers to become workshop facilitators.
Developing Student Workers
As a 14-year career services veteran, Rachel Killman, Senior Assistant Director of Career Exploration, was especially excited about the pilot. They had tools to help students explore their VISPM (values, interests, skills, personalities, and motivations), but struggled to resource support for the motivation piece. This frustrated Killman because as she shared, “Tapping into what brings meaning and motivation to one’s life is ambiguous yet so important to the exploration process.”
The career center’s student workers, called Career Ambassadors, own responsibilities like tabling, conducting presentations, leading basic career expiration activities, and running career readiness drop-in appointments. Because they’re such valuable assets, Killman and her team are always asking, “How can we best support our Career Ambassadors’ professional development while keeping them motivated and engaged?”
Enter the TruMotivate Peer Facilitator pilot program, which addressed both concerns while at the same time effectively scaling career center programming.
Piloting The TruMotivate Peer Facilitator Program
The TruMotivate Peer Facilitator training teaches student workers how to use the TruMotivate assessment and its personalized reports to help students better understand themselves and how they’re motivated, and explore and find their best-fit majors and career paths.
“I got to witness how TruMotivate made the career exploration and reflection process easier for everyone involved. In the peer-to-peer coaching sessions, there is a lot of relatability and connection going on. We are all in, have been in, or will be in the same shoes, and realizing that there are others going through the same things they are is reassuring for students.”
— Sam Frazier, Career Ambassador
Sam Frazier, a Career Ambassador who participated in the program (and is now a member of the TruMotivate team), was surprised at how easy-to-understand and applicable the assessment results were.
Previous assessments he experienced required a lot of learning to conduct a debrief or facilitation, but with TruMotivate, he was able to lead a guided conversation with students around career exploration and self-understanding almost immediately without hours and hours of education.
Frazier also highlighted that the topic of “career” can often be a daunting and vulnerable space for students, especially those in the early exploration stage, and that experiencing the assessment first-hand and through the eyes of other students was incredibly helpful.
Engaging Students On Their Career Journey
TruMotivate’s versatility has made it applicable to far more students than the university originally expected.
“I found it challenging to analyze which opportunities would be most fulfilling for me when I first started interviewing for jobs. But then, I used my results to come up with motivation-driven questions that would offer insight into whether a company’s environment would be the right fit for me. TruMotivate equipped me with the language and confidence I needed to navigate conversations with prospective employers.”
— Sam Frazier, Career Ambassador
Killman shared that while she anticipated mainly their freshman and sophomore populations participating in the workshops, a significant amount of upperclassmen and graduate students have also found value in the workshops.
When relaying how a student used the assessment to evaluate internship opportunities, she explained, “I thought we’d be using this with students interested in career exploration solely, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the tool’s ability to support a student who is in the career readiness stage and evaluating internship opportunities, too.”
Frazier also pointed out that he was able to apply his newfound clarity to several areas of his career readiness journey, like competing in and winning elevator pitch competitions and preparing for job interviews. When trying to figure out what life looked like beyond graduation, he tapped into his results and the “Ideal Work Environment” section of his TruMotivate report to evaluate different job opportunities.
Today, the University of Tampa Office of Career Services still uses the TruMotivate assessment in career coaching appointments and group workshop facilitation. Killman also now incorporates TruMotivate into her alumni career appointments and team-building initiatives.
“The TruMotivate assessment offers an incredible amount of added value to our operations and services. We’ve seen significant improvement in our efforts to scale student support, meaningfully engage students with career exploration, and thoughtfully develop our student workers with this multi-purposed resource.”
— Rachel Killman, Senior Assistant Director of Career Exploration
To learn more about how the TruMotivate assessment and student guidebook can be used on your campus to enhance first-year experience programs, new student orientation programs, and campus-wide student engagement, reach out and contact our team — we can’t wait to speak with you!