After 20 years with Career Services, Barbara Hewitt will lead the department from this semester, replacing longtime director Patricia Rose, who retired this summer.
One of Hewitt's goals will be to focus on collaboration between different undergraduate schools and also across campus. Hewitt said that she plans on conducting a “holistic review” of Career Services to create a plan for the department moving forward.
Hewitt joined Career Services as a career counselor in 1988 for students in the College of Arts and Sciences, earning a doctorate in higher education administration from the Graduate School of Education in 2002. She was promoted to senior associate director, overseeing placements for Wharton undergraduates. She also helped supervise the on-campus recruiting program for students in the role.
Hewitt confirmed that her previous position as senior associate director for Wharton undergraduates has been filled by David Ross, who was previously associate director. However, the position of associate director for Wharton undergraduates remains vacant on the Career Services website.
“We’re hoping to get that position filled as soon as possible,” Hewitt said.
She added that Career Services will also have a temporary worker assisting the Wharton undergraduate advising team for a few days each week. Additionally, staff members have been designated to oversee on-campus recruiting.
Hewitt earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and Spanish from Dickinson College and a master's degree in education from Shippensburg University prior to joining the Penn community. In the intervening years, she spent her professional life working in career centers at Dickinson, Shippensburg, and the College of Wooster.
Hewitt said her previous work in Career Services helps provide her with perspective of the needs of Penn students. She added that she was looking forward to working with “the entire population of students,” not just Wharton undergraduates as the executive director.
“I think the more things that we can do collaboratively with others on campus, the better that will be for everyone,” she said, adding that she plans to create joint programs with other groups and centers on campus.
Those who have worked with Hewitt in Career Services commend her leadership skills and say news of her appointment was received positively by the office.
"The office felt not just hugely supportive but almost relieved,” Associate Director for College undergraduates Anne Marie Dickinson said of when the office learned that Hewitt, and not an external candidate, would be taking over the executive director role.
Senior Associate Director for College undergraduates Claire Klieger said she has worked with Hewitt for 12 years.
“She’s a joy to work with. She’s someone who’s a real team player and is always very inclusive and eager to find ways to collaborate with different teams across schools," she said.
Klieger said Hewitt assumed Rose's position when she was unavailable in the past, such as when Rose had knee replacement surgery a few years ago.
“Barb has always been a strong leader in our office, where people feel confident and comfortable going to her,” Dickinson said.
Hewitt, too, said she is excited about the future of the department.
“I think we have a really good staff in place in terms of people that have a lot of experience and are really excited and energized by working with students and providing the services that we do,” she said. “So I feel really good about going into this new year with people that are really committed to the office.”
“It’s a real privilege I think to get to work with those students, to help them think about how they want to go out and make an impact on the world,” she said. “I feel really honored to be able to have this opportunity."