MAY 14, 2021 — The Harvey E. Najim Center for Innovation and Career Advancement is quickly becoming the go-to resource for UTSA students to realize their future careers. With student engagement and development at the forefront, several groundbreaking programs are making their debut this spring.
The Najim Center is a resource for students to explore their career potential. The center provides a variety of experiential learning opportunities for students to better understand how their degree and academic experience can advance their futures.
“We want to encourage students to think in terms of what they are going to do with their education. Students need to look at what is happening outside of the university,” said Hugh Stevens, executive director of the Najim Center. “It takes a boost from a center like this to show students how they can apply their degree in the real world and demonstrate that their education is valuable.”
Through collaboration with various organizations, from nonprofits to major corporations, the center provides opportunities for students to participate in projects. For each project the Najim Center offers to students, an agreement is made with the sponsor of the project to consider implementing the students’ work into their business strategy.
Projects are available for individuals or groups, and students from all disciplines can participate, encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration. UTSA departments can also have their projects sponsored by the Najim Center, so long as students receive valuable experience working on the project.
One notable project, the Westside Digital Inclusion Ambassadors, involves students helping individuals and families on San Antonio’s West Side improve their digital literacy skills. Led by Roger Enriquez, associate professor and executive director of Westside Community Partnerships, and Christopher Reddick, professor of public administration, the project supports UTSA’s Presidential Initiative to amplify the economic and cultural strengths of the West Side.
Red Madden, lecturer in the Department of Communication, is leading the Najim Center’s effort to create a summer institute pilot program which will be launched this coming June. This five-week series of course units is designed for students to explore their potential employment horizons.
The Najim Summer Institute for Career Advancement pilot session will be offered to 30 students this spring and will gather student feedback to prepare for larger student sessions in the future. UTSA graduate students are involved in creating the modules for each week, allowing for as much student engagement as possible in creating the content. The summer institute aspires become a UTSA flagship event, with rotating faculty facilitating new modules that provide a variety of perspectives in student career development.
The Najim Center is also kicking off a speaker series this spring, featuring leaders in the UTSA community and the greater San Antonio business community. Recognizing that not all students have the time to participate in the often challenging projects available, Stevens hopes the speaker series will further connect UTSA students with avenues to consider their future.
Students can register for upcoming Najim Center Speaker Series events by registering on Handshake. “Design Your Life” with Matthew Temple will be held on Wednesday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Students interested in the Najim Summer Institute for Career Advancement must apply via Handshake by Friday, May 21.
Established in September of 2020 by a $3 million gift to UTSA from local entrepreneur and philanthropist Harvey E. Najim, the Harvey E. Najim Innovation and Career Advancement Center at UTSA advances the university’s Classroom to Career initiative as part of its 10-year strategic vision and mission on student success.
The Najim Center is part of UTSA’s Career-Engaged Learning division, which engages students in experiential learning opportunities that offer real-world experience while positively impacting self-esteem and career readiness.
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