QU adds administrative position focusing on university-wide career development

Krystal Miller, Associate News Editor

As a Quinnipiac student, you go to class, you get great grades, but you’re not sure what the next step is to stand out in the job search. Kafui Kouakou, Quinnipiac’s first assistant vice president of career development and experiential learning, can help you pinpoint what skills you need to be ready for the workforce.

Provost Debra Liebowitz said although Quinnipiac has opportunities for career development such as student media or working on podcasts, there is still more that can be done, which this position will fulfill.

“What we don’t have is a coordinated approach to that work, and our goal is to strengthen that work that’s already happening by better coordinating and supporting it and helping to grow it,” Liebowitz said.

Having positions in career development at Quinnipiac is a way for students to be coached in how to present themselves in a stronger way, Liebowitz said. It is also a way to get help with work such as resumes or interviews.

“You get to work with someone, or an office that knows what’s happening in the communications industry, knows what’s happening in the school and can look at what you’ve done,” Liebowitz said.

Kouakou said when he graduated from the York College of the City University of New York, he applied for a lot of jobs and wasn’t hearing back from employers.

Despite his good grades, employers were seeking candidates with experience. Kouakou said this interaction inspired him to take a position where he could help others acquire the tools to be successful straight out of college.

“In that moment, I realized there was a piece that was missing in that equation, which was building the experience parallel to going to school, going to class, still getting the good grades and then to graduate,” Kouakou said. “So from there, I decided that I want to have a career in experiential learning.”

After getting a second degree in mathematics, Kouakou became more involved with student affairs. He said he started building relationships and skills that helped him build a career.

“I think because of that understanding of all the pieces it takes to be successful, and what I went through personally, I think I’m in a good position to be able to provide that support to students so I can equip them with everything they need in order to be successful,” Kouakou said.

Kouakou said that the position was appealing to him because it was an opportunity to bring all the great things happening at Quinnipiac together.

“It so happened that this position aligned perfectly with all my values, and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s the right position for me,’” Kouakou said.

Liebowitz said Kouakou’s background in experiential learning was the reason why he was the perfect fit for the role.

“I’m incredibly excited to have Kafui on board, he brings tremendous knowledge, expertise, and energy and excitement about helping students in this regard, and I think for those reasons, it’s great to have him here,” Liebowitz said.

His plan for career development is first to increase the number of job employers Quinnipiac works with, but also to improve the quality of job employers, Kouakou said. He said Quinnipiac will be using the platform Handshake, which allows students to talk to employers, get career tips, and read reviews for companies.

This semester, Kouakou said he plans on listening to staff and faculty as well as students to learn what students need help and support with. He said he invites students to engage with him.

“My office can support you in developing what I call the ‘power skills,’” Kouakou said. “When you talk about power skills, those are the transferable skills that will go no matter where you end up, no matter which sector, which field you end up in, those skills will be of service to you.”