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GPS and the Office of Career and Professional Development together at last

Alumni Association Belmont University

After years of obscure office spaces across campus, two student support services will finally have a permanent home in August in the new Jack C. Massey Center on 15th Avenue.

“I think it’ll make it easier to tackle people’s problems kind of all at once,” said Kalea Appel, student worker at the Growth and Purpose for Students office.

“No matter what you come in for, there will hopefully be someone there who’s the right person to talk to you for it.”

GPS staff members specialize in student academic development. They serve as advising resources and one-on-one coaches for students.

The Office of Career and Professional Development is currently divided between offices in the Curb College Career and Industry Suite and the Gabhart Student Center. GPS is currently housed in the basement of Heron Hall.

Where GPS focuses on a student’s academic development, the Office of Career and Professional Development specializes in career readiness.

“What we can really provide is the strategy around finding an internship, finding a job, developing your career plan, connecting with alumni,” said Rachel Walden, assistant director of the Office of Career and Professional Development.

The offices will move into the second floor of the new building and will be centralized for student convenience and greater visibility to all campus visitors. They will have a shared lobby, which should allow natural collaboration between students, peer advisers and staff members from each office.

While he is grateful for the current space he’s been allocated, David Sneed, director of GPS, thinks that its location has likely prevented many students from attempting to use the office’s services.

“When you think of all the other buildings, compared to where we are, it’s easy to say you’re in a building and you give a room number. It’s usually easy to find that,” said Sneed. “That’s not our case.”

During the pandemic, the Gabhart Student Center upper floors contained Counseling Services, the Office of Career and Professional Development and the COVID clinic.

“That was not exactly the traffic we were looking for,” said Walden.

This new location will encourage more students to use GPS as a resource for academic growth and the GPS staff is excited to work in closer collaboration with the Office of Career and Professional Development, Sneed said.

“We refer frequently back and forth, which is why it’s really nice to be in the same space because sometimes, a student might really need to meet – or wants to meet – with both of us,” Walden said.

With a space specifically built for GPS and the Office of Career and Professional Development in this high-traffic building, Appel says she hopes more people discover these services and take advantage of them.

Sneed thinks it’s beneficial to everyone for the offices to be in the same space.

“We’re all focused on serving students.”

This article was written by Tessa Pendleton

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