Texas Wesleyan President Frederick Slabach opened the first 2020 Town Hall meeting of the academic year Tuesday afternoon in a new location: the Nick and Lou Martin University Center.

“Welcome everybody. I hope you’ve all enjoyed [the Martin University Center] so far,” Slabach said.

Dr. Dennis Hall, vice president of student affairs and dean of students, spoke extensively about improving the value of Wesleyan’s education by having students build valuable skills and experiences outside of the classroom to align with the National Association of Colleges and Employers attribute expectations.

Doing this will help Wesleyan’s enrollment increase, he said.

“The idea of a career was the number one reason why students went to college this year, and we’re going to continue to see that,” Hall said. “If our graduates go out and they’re successful, that helps us with increasing our value and with our recruitment and retention initiatives.”

Hall talked about how Student Affairs has spearheaded efforts to help students build these resume social skills by having students get involved in student organizations and the leadership and volunteerism program.

Hall said some ways the university is working to build the professional skills are:

  • Increasing the level of training and professionalism among Wesleyan’s student employees
  • Continuing to invest in Career Services
  • Working to model more programs like Wesleyan’s Esports Program’s core of career development

One way the university has increased investment in Career Services is through Wesleyan’s new hire, Jesse Pyle. Hall said Pyle is working as the coordinator for internships and experiential learning.

“When employers are looking at resumes, the number one experience they’re looking for is whether or not that grad has an internship,” Hall said. “Through Jesse’s position, we’re really looking for ways to expand that area of Student Affairs with internships and job shadowing.”

One person that did call attention to students’ needs with networking and internships was Associate Director of Career Services Michael Gatton, who was awarded the Staff Hero Award. He helped the university to establish the Suit-Up Program with JCPenney.

“It’s nice to be recognized,” Gatton said. “It came at a good time. We have a lot going on in the office, and I needed this.”

The next Town Hall meeting will be 12:15 on Oct. 8 in the Nick and Lou Martin University Center’s ballroom.

Dr. Dennis Hall (left) talks with the other members of Student Affairs before the 2020 Town Hall meeting starts.
Photo by Hannah Onder

Dr. Dennis Hall talks about how improving students’ skills and experiences will increase graduates’ success.
Photo by Hannah Onder

Dr. Dennis Hall, President Frederick Slabach, and Neph Rivera (left to right) set up the podium for the meeting in the Nick and Lou Martin University Center ballroom.
Photo by Hannah Onder

President Frederick Slabach presents Michael Gatton with the Staff Hero Award.
Photo by Hannah Onder

Jesse Pyle (center), the new coordinator for internships and experiential learning, talks with other members of Student Affairs after Tuesday’s Town Hall meeting.
Photo by Hannah Onder