The placement rate for 2008 graduates of Valparaiso University was 91 percent, the 16th consecutive year it topped 90 percent.
The statistics are based on surveys of members of the class administered by the Career Center and the Department of Education. The placement rate is the percent of the class that is employed or enrolled in graduate school and is based on information provided by the graduates. Students with a combined 634 academic majors were surveyed and more than 99 percent responded.
Not included in the survey are international students and graduates who were not seeking employment.
Jennifer Jones-Hall, interim director of the Career Center, said that a placement rate topping 90 percent in the face of challenging economic conditions reflects well on the quality of Valpo's students.
Jones-Hall said students graduating this year will continue to face a competitive job market and must be aggressive in pursuing employment opportunities.
"Graduates across the country are facing an environment in which fewer companies are hiring," she said, "and that makes it essential for students to polish their resumes and cover letters, practice their interviewing skills and take advantage of every resource available to them."
She noted that while many companies are downsizing their workforces, students can still find openings in fields such as health care and government.
"Students should consider opportunities available to them in industries or regions of the country that they may not have previously considered, because there are jobs available for well prepared students," Jones-Hall said. "Students also need to remember that the economy will turn around and the job market will pick up."
She noted that Valpo students graduating this year and in future years also are benefiting from more convenient access to the Career Center's new offices in the state-of-the-art Harre Union, which opened at the beginning of the spring semester.
"We're more in front of the student body now and seeing more students take advantage of our services," Jones-Hall said. "We've stepped up programs such as bringing in corporate managers to present programs on interviewing skills, how to network, the value of internships and how to get an internship."
Jones-Hall said that employers are increasingly attracted to students who have work-related experience, which the University supports through its commitment to providing an educational experience that combines the theoretical and the practical.
"Employers today expect students to have work experience before they graduate, and they place a lot of value on students who have held internships and are ready to move into the workforce without missing a beat," she said.
Among the 2008 graduates, students with degrees in nursing and education were among those in disciplines reporting a 100 percent placement rate.
More than one-fifth of the class is attending graduate school, including nearly 30 percent of the College of Arts and Sciences graduates.
The surveys indicate that graduates are working in 34 states, the District of Columbia and 10 foreign countries.
Valparaiso University’s student newspaper, The Torch, has been named Indiana Division II Newspaper School of the Year for the third consecutive year by the Indiana Collegiate Press Association. The Lighter, Valparaiso’s student literary magazine, also was honored during the Association’s annual convention in Bloomington.
The Torch and its staff won 19 awards for writing, photography and design from the ICPA, including recognition for overall excellence as the most outstanding weekly newspaper at an institution with an enrollment of more than 2,000 students.
The Torch won seven first-place awards, seven second-place awards and five third-place awards in the contest, which includes work during the 2008 calendar year.
“The Torch is a professional looking paper,” ICPA judges wrote in the awards report. “The writing is solid, the presentation is clean and the paper has a newsy feel.
The paper took top honors for Best Single Issue, Best Non-Deadline New Reporting, Best Editorial Cartoon (for an editorial cartoon about Barack Obama’s presidential ad campaign), Best Sports Column (for columnist Eric Brooks’ challenge to a member of the men’s basketball team for a one-on-one game), Best Design of Full-Color Display Ad and Best Rate Card.
The Torch received second place for Best Sports Photo, Best Informational Graphic, Best Illustration, Best Front Page, Best Special Section Front/Cover, Best Opinion Column and Best Single Issue, and third place for Best Special Section Front/Cover, Best Sports Feature Story, Best Feature Story, Best Opinion Column and Best Breaking News Reporting.
The Lighter, which is published twice a year, received first and second place awards for Best Single Issue among literary magazine.
“The artwork is compelling,” commented judges about The Lighter’s spring 2008 issue, which received top honors. “Very elegant across the board and completely professional.”
Valparaiso University faculty members who have written or edited books examining biblical perspectives on childhood, the steel industry during the Progressive Era, the virtues lawyers should embrace and numerous other subjects will be recognized during National Library Week later this month.
The annual Valpo Authors Reception – honoring faculty members who authored or edited books published in 2008 – will begin at 4 p.m. April 16 in the Christopher Center for Library and Information Resources. The event is free and open to the public.
The 16 authors and editors being recognized at the reception are:
Each author and editor will sign a copy of his or her book to be added to the library's Moellering Collection. The recipient of Valparaiso's Library Award for Undergraduate Research – presented to a student who makes the most outstanding use of the Christopher Center's resources in a research project – also will be announced.
Following the signing, Dr. Roy Austensen, provost and vice president for academic affairs, will be honored for his academic leadership at the University since assuming his position in 1992. Dr. Austensen is retiring from his position at the end of the academic year and will return to full-time teaching following a year's leave of absence.
The Valpo Authors Reception is an annual event sponsored by the University's Library Services Department to honor the University's authors. More information about the authors being honored this year and in previous years is available online.