Hailing from University of Texas at Dallas, Garza hopes to implement similar ideology from their Career Center and apply it at TWU
Emily Nickles, Editor-in-Chief
Vice President of Student Life Dr. Monica Mendez-Grant sent faculty and staff an email Feb. 12 announcing Lisa Garza as Director of Career Services. Garza has been serving as the Career Center Director at the University of Texas Dallas since 2012, though she has held several related positions on the campus since 2001.
Career Services has been without a director for a little over a year. While the department has managed to keep up with the help of Assistant Director Sherri Williams and Coordinator of Student Employment Elizabeth MacDonald, the university only brought on an interim, Ralph Mobely, in January 2016.
It goes without saying that TWU has long been in need for someone to fill the position, struggling to meet the increased needs and demands of some 11,000 students on campus.
Garza spoke with The Lasso over the phone last week, as she is preparing to make the move in office locations. After 15 years in one spot, Garza says that she is more than ready for a new challenge, and that it was the right opportunity at this time in her career.
Garza recalled her visit to TWU almost five weeks ago and how she enjoyed speaking with the students she met: “We had some students on the interview committee, and we actually talked longer than the time we had. I could have talked to them longer.”
She laughed and then sincerely added, “I appreciate Dr. Mendez-Grant for bringing me to TWU.”
With a go-to attitude and a determination to understand the campus community, Garza shared that her immediate goal for the first few months is to try and gain a better understanding of the students and their needs. Next on the line-up is hiring within the department in order to meet the influx of students coming in for help with resumes, mock interviews and job searches. Garza encourages students to email her or come visit the office once she has settled in: “In my job, it’s important for me to hear about everything. The good, the bad, and the ugly… [or] what we need to see more of.”
One thing that Garza has helped to implement at UTD, and what was really successful on their campus was to break down the department based on the idea that “not one size fits all.” She recalled: “We’ve restructured how that works. We’ve built career consultants within departments. That allows them to tailor the activities and programs to that student. We can create a career services model that serves students individually.” Garza suggested that this model may work for TWU, too, depending on what she finds out in her first few months of exploration.
In the future, Garza hopes to see students get involved earlier with Career Services, starting their first year. She hopes that students will take advantage of the opportunities, tools and resources that Career Services has to offer. Primarily, Garza wants students to get comfortable with employers, so that when they take their first plunge into the real world—they have already built on interactions they had in college.
Garza ended the conversation with some advice and her philosophies. Garza mentioned how the first weeks will be mostly introductions and meetings, though a buoyancy emerged in her voice, as she said: “I feel like there’s a lot of work to do, and that excites me. Coming into an office at TWU that is ready for growth is really exciting for me professionally. I’m really excited to meet and be a part of the TWU family.”