New Faculty Fellows at the Center for Career Development

The Center for Career Development Faculty Fellow program is designed to further the Center’s Career Everywhere mission to create a university-wide career-readiness culture that ensures all students have the resources for post-graduation success, integrate career development throughout the student experience at UConn and integrate career development into the UConn experience. These fellows work to enhance this mission through creating opportunities for students, collecting data on how faculty integrate career development into their courses, and much more.  

This semester, there are two Faculty Fellows who will work to amplify the Center’s reach in promoting the integration of career competencies into course curriculum and emphasize the Career Everywhere mission. These two fellows come from different backgrounds in the STEM and Humanities fields and will allow us to access a larger, more diverse audience to enhance career equity among students.  

The first of our Faculty Fellows is Dr. Na-Rae Kim. Dr. Kim joined UConn as an Assistant Professor in Residence and Associate Director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute. She is a multidisciplinary scholar with research and teaching expertise that span Asian American literature and the history and theory of fiction, with a focus on contemporary Asian American fiction. Her book project, entitled Re-Turning Korea: Navigating Homelands in Korean American Literature, explores 21-Century Korean American literary imaginations of South and North Korea. 

Dr. Kim’s teaching is driven by a commitment to help students grow as self-directed learners. She utilizes various in-class activities and assignments that focus on critical thinking and self-reflexivity. In particular, she strives to develop anti-racist and equity-minded perspectives in her students that would contribute to individual growth, and further, systemic change. Given that not all students have an equal chance to enhance career competencies, Dr. Kim is especially passionate in emphasizing “Equity and Inclusion,” one of the eight NACE career readiness competencies, to UConn community. She hopes that her courses in Asian American Studies are more than just a check off of a diversity and multiculturalism requirement at UConn, but would help to see how Asian America is central to a more just and critical understanding of American culture and public life—an insight that she hopes her students would hold on to as they continue to grow as civic-minded and compassionate global citizens. 

Our second Faculty Fellow is Professor Ryan Cooper. Professor Cooper has been training and educating students for 7 years with the mechanical engineering department. Prof. Cooper combines career readiness with engineering education. His teaching philosophy focuses on critical thinking and process-oriented learning. Prof. Cooper builds courses following modern peer-reviewed practices of project-based learning that builds student experience in communication, teamwork, critical thinking, and technology proficiency, 4 out of the 8 NACE career competencies. 

Professor Cooper connects with students about career aspirations and resume development to build lasting connections and enhances their experience by bringing alumni and other professionals into his classroom. He leads his students by example with peer-edited syllabi, continuous improvement grading, and flipped lecture formats. These practices build a strong sense of community and celebrate different strengths that students bring to the course. Professor Cooper is committed to career readiness for UConn’s students and his position as Faculty Fellow at the Center for Career Development offers a promising avenue to continue his impactful work. 

The work of Dr. Kim and Professor Cooper will be instrumental in helping the Center for Career Development to provide access and promote career equity across the UConn student experience and move toward creating a university-wide career-readiness culture.

By Lily Guberman
Lily Guberman Marketing Assistant