Thursday, 28 April 2011

We've been renamed

Last week Student Development was renamed the Careers Service. Well, it hasn't actually happened yet (and that's the reason for this post) but it does have to happen ASAP. I can't go into the details here of how it came about but I would like to reflect a bit on the best way of pitching the new name to students, staff and employers.

I wasn't particularly wedded to the name Student Development, but one of the reasons that I've not liked the name Careers Service is that it's a fairly narrow and traditional term and we aren't really either of those things. Student Development at the University of Leicester comprises a wide range of services that we have summarised under three key themes, helping students to:
  • succeed in their studies
  • gain experience
  • develop a career
The name Careers Service implies that what we do is only really associated with the last of these three themes - things that spring to mind for most people are probably support with CVs, applications and interviews. All important things but they represent only a fraction of what we do.

So the question is, given that the name has been decided, how do we communicate it effectively?There are two reactions I'm trying to avoid:
  1. Where's Student Development gone?
  2. I didn't know the Careers Service offered support with that!
To address possible reaction 1) we need to be careful about how we publicise the renaming. For employers this won't really be an issue because they probably refer to us as the Careers Service anyway, for students and staff it's more tricky as the name Student Development is one that is now familiar to them. To address possible reaction 2) I'm thinking that a subtitle might help, something like...

Careers Service
Learning development | Placements and internships | Career development

All comments gratefully received. I've partly blogged this to try and re-gain a sense of perspective on the issue. I'm hoping you can help.