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Mission, Vision, Values, & More



Empower scholars to create and achieve career goals by providing comprehensive career education. Through collaboration and innovative practices, the center encourages scholars to:

  • Engage in self-discovery
  • Participate in experiential learning
  • Build professional connections
  • Demonstrate career readiness

To foster a career-centered campus culture that prepares all scholars to pursue their unique professional and academic aspirations.



Inclusion  To create a welcoming environment respectful of individuals’ unique backgrounds, beliefs, and goals.

Equity – To uphold policies, practices, and processes that ensure all students have access to career education and opportunities.

Service – To exceed the expectations of our internal and external constituents through open communication and responsiveness.

Student Learning – To promote student responsibility for lifelong career development through exploration, education, and experience.

Employer Connections – To develop and strengthen relationships with employers to create opportunities for students.

Collaboration – To partner with stakeholders across the University to enhance and support student achievement.

Data Driven – To engage in recommended assessment practices and make data-informed decisions.

Transparency – To collect and report career outcomes in addition to student and employer engagement data to the university community.

Innovation – To continually improve programs and service delivery through advances in technology, resources, and staff development.



By the nature of the work we do in career education, the Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration (CCDAE) holds the ability to positively impact the lives of students through the advancement of their careers. Understanding that biases, power, and privilege are inherent in the employment process, we recognize and affirm each individual’s identities including race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, ability, veteran status, and religion. In order to improve the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts of the university, and to make the most positive impact possible, the staff commits to:

  • Ensuring that operational policies and processes are accessible and welcoming to all
  • Partnering and collaborating with university departments that support diverse students on programming and infusing career into spaces where students have established relationships
  • Providing opportunities, such as, networking and experiential learning programs for students to increase their social capital and enhance their career development
  • Maintaining the Disability, Veteran, & Inclusion Initiatives Coach position to ensure that DEI initiatives and training are woven into the culture of the center for students and staff
  • Developing a full-time and student staff that is reflective of the student body, through intentional, inclusive hiring that fills gaps in the career team when possible and by cultivating an equitable and just environment to promote the retention of staff
  • Working with employer partners to assess and promote effective DEI practices to those that may be lacking and to learn from those that excel in this area
  • Leveraging partnerships with organizations, such as NACE, Handshake, and others in the local community, to address issues of equity and social justice

The Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration Supports Black Lives Matter

On the foundation of our mission to empower students to achieve their career goals, we stand with Black students and alumni as they embark on their professional careers. We stand with our Black staff, faculty, and employers. Knowing that our students, alumni, and colleagues face systemic racism in educational institutions, unconscious bias in hiring, and active discrimination, we must work harder to ensure that we uphold our values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

In the words of our Chancellor Dr. Donde Plowman, “We must do better.” Additionally, “Creating an environment for all Vols to succeed is a responsibility we all share.” To that end, the center commits to examining our policies and procedures, behaviors, and offerings so that we are providing career education in an equitable and just manner. Additionally, we remain committed to our DEI statement and the steps it entails.

Stephanie Kit, Executive Director

Jenny Ward, Senior Associate Director,

Andrew Hart, Associate Director

Alexis Andershock, Career Coach

Erin Bennett, ACE Coach

Miciah Burns, Employer Relations Assistant

Cierra Busard, Disability, Veteran, & Inclusion Initiatives Coach

Joann Jeter, Assistant Director

Nicole Jones, ACE Coach

Vicki Layman, Accounting Assistant

Mary Mahoney, Senior Assistant Director

Rob Morris, Assistant Director

Njyhalo Pavati, Career Coach

Hunter Pritchard, Career Coach

Marianne Reinert, Office Manager

Kertesha Riley, Career Coach

Jennie Scott, ACE Coach

Chris Shuping, ACE Coach

Linda Smith, ACE Coach

Simone Stewart, Career Coach

Leslie Walton, Assistant Director

Katie Wiley, Career Coach

Mary Beth Woodward, Assistant Director



As a result of participating in the services or utilizing resources offered by the Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration, students will be able to:

  • Formulate career goals, including choice of major, based on self-knowledge of interests, values, personality, and skills
  • Identify resources and contacts to explore majors and careers of interest
  • Understand the importance of experiential learning and construct a plan of action to pursue experiential learning opportunities
  • Describe career readiness competencies and articulate them on resumes and in interviews
  • Develop professionalism including resumes, cover letters, personal statements, and dress; effectively communicate skills and experiences to employers
  • Practice networking skills with alumni, employers, and other professionals
  • Connect with employing organizations online and in-person to explore part-time jobs, internships, and full-time opportunities



1. Enhance students’ career readiness through coaching, counseling, instruction, and innovative programming that aligns with industry trends.
1.1 Utilize data and collaborations to create an intentional programming plan
1.2 Provide programming, services, and resources for under-represented minorities, first generation students, students with disabilities, and student veterans
1.3 Offer professional development opportunities for student employees and student leaders

2. Create and nurture collaborations between the Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration and the campus community to support students and employers.
2.1 Create opportunities to engage faculty and staff in career development
2.2 Promote the “one voice” model of employer development through communication and partnership across campus

3. Focus on employer engagement to increase opportunities for students.
3.1 Utilize a data driven strategy for employer development
3.2 Leverage the UT alumni network
3.3 Promote Handshake as the primary source of jobs (full- and part-time) and internships

4. Expand experiential learning opportunities for students.
4.1 Create a shadowing program
4.2 Grow VolTrek program
4.3 Increase funding streams for experience learning

5. Invest in technology to enhance services to constituents.
5.1 Add virtual and online career resources
5.2 Create opportunities for students and employers to engage virtually
5.3 Innovate What Can I Do With This Major? product

6. Effectively tell our story to campus and broader communities.
6.1 Utilize data to understand the impact of center use on student career outcomes
6.2 Promote the career center brand on campus
6.3 Contribute to academic and career development professional communities