About UNT Career Connect

In September 2016, the University of North Texas (UNT) selected UNT Career Connect—hereafter referred to as Connect—as the Quality Enhancement Plan for the 2016 to 2020 school years. Based on the experiential learning framework of John Dewey (1916), Kolb (1984) and Kuh (2010), Connect works collaboratively with UNT faculty, staff, and community partners to enhance, assess, and showcase UNT students' marketable skills by engaging them in high-impact, [1] experiential learning, reflection, and ePortfolio activities in and outside of the classroom.

Career Connect “connects” UNT faculty, staff, students, and the community in mutually beneficial partnerships through, for example, internships, volunteer work, or study abroad. Career Connect (1) encourages UNT faculty, staff, and students to think intentionally about the job skills students learn within UNT curricular and co-curricular activities and (2) provides students opportunities to work and learn in “real-life” settings and use their UNT ePortfolios to target, evaluate, and showcase their skills in written and oral communication, critical thinking, and teamwork.

[1] Kuh, G. D. (2008). High-impact educational practices: What they are, who has access to them, and why they matter. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Mission

 

Enhance, assess, and showcase UNT students' marketable skills by engaging them in existing or new experiential learning, reflection, and ePortfolio activities provided by UNT faculty, staff, and community partners.

Team

 

Dr. Mike Simmons, Assistant Vice President - Academic Affairs and Career Connect Director

 

I am a native of West Virginia, attended college in Tennessee (King College, BS History) and graduate school in North Carolina (UNC Chapel Hill - M.P.A) then moved to Texas to complete the Ph.D. degree from UTA in the field of public administration and urban affairs. 

After an initial career spanning 10 years of public policy, government and political work, I led a statewide education non-profit agency.  While government and public administration is still my academic field and area of interest, I've now worked in or around higher education for almost 20 years. In several roles at Marshall University, Texas Women’s University, and now at UNT, I’ve worked actively in educational innovation, faculty support, online learning, assessment and “other duties as assigned”.  I am proud that I have taught at least one course as an adjunct almost every semester for 20 years.  My work with UNT Career Connect is a combination of the experiences I've had, bringing together teaching, assessment, community engagement, and technology.

Adam Wear, ePortfolio Coordinator

I currently serve as the E-Portfolio Coordinator for Career Connect. I am a second year PhD student in the Higher Education program at UNT. I currently hold a BS in English, Education, and Education Psychology from Mississippi State University and a Master’s in English Literature from the University of Alabama and hope to practice and promote an attitude of servant leadership in higher education.

Meena Naik, Faculty & Staff Development Coordinator

A Texas-transplant, I came to UNT from UC San Diego where I worked in the Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services. Having lived on both coasts, I received my BS from UC San Diego in Physiology and Neuroscience, and my MS in Higher Education and Student Development. I am now into my second year as a PhD student in UNT’s Educational Psychology program.

Outside of my work and student life, I have spent the last decade volunteering in a variety of roles in the Shia Ismaili community. Starting as a novice and untrained volunteer teacher, I worked my way into a Teacher Educator program, and most recently led the National Teaching Quality team in the development instructional coaching training models to better equip our volunteers as educators.

My passion for working in higher education comes from a desire to support student development by helping them recognize relevancy in their curricular and co-curricular experiences while in college. My experiences in student affairs and academic support, and the variety of volunteer experiences I hold in instruction and training, has led me to my current role serving as the Faculty & Staff Development Coordinator with Career Connect.

Scott Peecksen, Assessment Coordinator

I grew up in the Low Country and received my undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina and then traveled west to the University of Arizona for a doctorate degree in Family Studies and Human Development and program evaluation. Career research opportunities took me to the University of Texas and then to a Houston-based, research and evaluation firm through early 2017.

In March 2017, UNT hired me as the Assessment Coordinator for Career Connect. I bring more than 15 years of experience in research and evaluation designs, data collection, quality assurance, statistical analysis, and report writing to this position. I am also a certified What Works Clearinghouse research reviewer for the U.S. Department of Education.

I am excited to apply my evaluation knowledge and skills to the field of higher education and Career Connect. Ultimately, I look forward to benefitting UNT students through Career Connect work and contributing to the national discussion on how to identify and document marketable skills and student learning outcomes in through a rigorous and valid assessment. 

Missy McCormick,​ Administrative Coordinator

As a Doctoral Candidate in the Higher Education Program at the University of North Texas, my research interests are in researching student success. As well as being a student at the university, I work half-time in the UNT Career Connect Office. In my position, as the Administrative Associate, I assist with managing various office functions and planning Connect events. Aside from my roles at UNT, I love to work in my garden, do volunteer work, and go on adventures with my family.

Jordan Rogers, Graduate Student Assistant

I am currently a doctoral student in the counseling program at the University of North Texas. I joined the Career Connect team as a graduate research assistant in order to support the research and implementation of the reflection component of Career Connect. Because of my formal training as a counselor, my time in this office has given me an opportunity to truly value the importance of meeting students where they are in their college experience. I hope to promote experiential opportunities that engage and challenge students to learn and grow!

Megan Douglas, Graduate Student Assistant