Gaier to lead new WashU Center for Career Engagement

New unified center to deliver equitable services to all students, offer one-stop shop for employers

Norma Guerra Gaier will serve as associate vice chancellor for career development and education and will lead the new WashU Center for Career Engagement. (Courtesy photo)

The Career Center at Washington University in St. Louis has a new name and a new leader. 

Effective Sept. 20, Norma Guerra Gaier will serve as associate vice chancellor for career development and education and will lead the new WashU Center for Career Engagement. Gaier currently is the inaugural executive director of Texas Career Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Anna Gonzalez, WashU’s vice chancellor for student affairs, said this is a transformative moment for the university as it reimagines how to better support students, alumni and employers. Washington University has moved to a unified career-engagement model that provides equitable and consistent access and services for all undergraduate, graduate and professional students across schools and a one-stop shop for all employers, alumni and families who want to support WashU students and alumni in their career journeys.

“We are thrilled to share these two exciting announcements, as both demonstrate the progress we have made over the past year in the career engagement space,” Gonzalez said. “Bringing Norma Gaier, a veteran leader, adds to our momentum as we strive to build a best-in-class career experience for our students.”

During her tenure at UT, Gaier led and engaged in strategic collaborations with the institution’s 15 independent career centers and created a campuswide culture of collaboration to support its 52,000 students. Gaier also expanded internship and career exploration opportunities; launched a graduate career and professional development team; developed and fostered new local-to-global industry relationships; and partnered with alumni to serve as mentors and career connections. 

Gaier said she is excited to join the career engagement team to advance equitable access to career experiences for all students and to drive successful connections to industry. 

“I look forward to supporting WashU students through a unified and strategic campuswide approach to engage them in their college-to-career experience,” Gaier said. “One of my primary goals will be to orchestrate a vastly collaborative and engaging environment that will serve the needs of all students, with the highest level of care, ethics and professional commitment. And, ultimately, my goal will be to work with the career engagement team, campus partners and friends of the university to tell the WashU student success story — one that will be shared and remembered across the globe.”

New Center for Career Engagement initiatives include: 

  • Career communities: Industry-aligned learning communities will provide students with opportunities to explore interests, gain industry knowledge and build key connections with coaches, professionals and mentors, including faculty, staff, employers and alumni. 
  • Career coaching: All first-year students will be paired with a career coach, who will help them explore resources and services. In addition, all students will have access to a new coaching model that will help them explore different careers.
  • Employer engagement: Career Engagement will cultivate new relationships, strengthen existing partnerships with employers and collaborate with talent acquisition leaders to build specific recruitment strategies.
  • Academic partnerships and engagement: A new team will focus on developing strong partnerships with academic departments and faculty to better align student classroom experiences with their career aspirations.

Chancellor Andrew D. Martin said Gaier’s experience perfectly aligns with the university’s commitment to better prepare students for meaningful careers and lifelong success. 

“Norma has a long and successful track record of supporting students, collaborating with faculty and engaging employers,” Chancellor Andrew D. Martin said. “We are thrilled that she is bringing her expertise to Washington University as we launch this promising new model.”

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