History and Tradition of Career Planning and Placement at the University of Illinois

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with its 27 career service-providing offices, has coordinated services and resources to both students and employers through a cooperative and collegial system since 1954. A coordinating committee structure and administrative assignment to a coordinating office have provided interaction and cooperation between the career services offices. Collegiality between the people that perform the function of career services at the University of Illinois has been a hallmark of the last several decades.

In the last 50 years, the coordinating committee and member offices have deliberated and established a uniform policy or policies to apply to all member offices:

  • Providing a consistent operational position to students and employers
  • Adhering to legal and ethical standards of the university and our profession
  • Acting in the best interest of the University of Illinois and its students

The initial coordinating committee, established by the Board of Trustees, was the Coordinating Placement Network that existed from 1954 to 1974. The Network was succeeded by a new committee, the result of a Chancellor’s task force on the study of career planning and placement. The Coordinating Committee on Career Planning and Placement was created in 1975 and served until 2001. Recently, the group has changed its name and mission and now exists as the Career Services Network.

A coordinating office was designated, first by Board of Trustees statute and then by the Chancellor’s 1975 study on career planning and placement. It, too, has experienced name and functional changes, but its roots stem from the University Placement Bureau that existed prior to 1954. From 1954 until 1972 the office was known as the Coordinating Placement Office. In 1972, the office’s name was changed to the Career Development and Placement Office, and functions were added. Subsequently, the office was known as the Career Development and Placement Center and then the Career Services Center. Its name was changed to The Career Center in 1998.

Before 1975, the office was a one- or two-person professional staff office. The office existed primarily for the coordination of placement and job search services that existed on the Urbana-Champaign campus (18 units in 1972). After 1972, the office was assigned to handle career development responsibilities and career counseling and additional functions. The office grew to serve a mission separate from the coordination of decentralized placement units. Yet, the director of the office presently known as The Career Center, retained as a part of his responsibilities, the title and function of executive secretary of the “coordinating committee” now known as the Career Services Network. The director retained those traditional responsibilities as a part of an expanded job description.

Leadership of the coordinating committee, from the beginning, rotated among the member offices. The tradition and practice was continued by the Chancellor’s 1975 Task Force and continues today. Check the Historical Summaries above for those that have served as chair and their offices.

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