The Career and Leadership Development Center (CLDC) was recently awarded the 1804 Fund grant to partner with the Department of Psychology to do research on the impact of the Brain Based Career Development (BBCD) model.
BBCD, developed by the CLDC, is a theoretical model built on neuroscience that recognizes how our brains process and manage information. With the help of the model, practitioners can realize how a client processes information while making career-based decisions.
The model has also previously won accolades for its efforts in helping students feel less overwhelmed about making future career-based decisions, such as career exploration or searching for jobs. In June 2018, the CLDC was awarded a National Excellence Award for Career Services Excellence by the National Association for Colleges and Employers (NACE) in June 2018.
Zach McGrain, associate director of career development integration at the CLDC, said he is thankful that CLDC received the grant. Since being endowed in 1979 by a gift from alumnus C. Paul Stocker, the 1804 Fund has supported the University's core mission of maintaining, strengthening and enhancing a learning-centered community.
The Fund promotes collaboration among units as well as undergraduate, graduate, faculty and staff education and research. Since awarding its first grants in 1980, the fund has supported more than 600 projects and programs.
McGrain said that the 1804 Fund will allow the CLDC to partner with the Department of Psychology to conduct research on BBCD. “We are supporting and collaborating with undergraduate students, graduate students, the Department of Psychology and the Division of Student Affairs in this new and exciting research opportunity,” McGrain said.
According to McGrain, the $20,000 grant will be used to research the effects of BBCD compared to the Gold Standard method, which underlines the best practices by NACE. The research will analyze if students are more overwhelmed or less overwhelmed after a career coaching appointment by examining their brain capacities.
“[CLDC] understands that the brain gets overwhelmed in making those future based decisions,” McGrain said. “We all experience that on a daily basis, and this is why BBCD is effective in reducing the stress that comes with future career planning.”
McGrain said the CLDC will recruit 20 graduate students by the end of fall semester and train 10 of them in the Gold Standard method and the other 10 according to BBCD by early spring semester.
McGrain said the graduate students will then go on to meet with undergraduate students on a weekly basis for the rest of the spring semester to help identify research participants’ biological and cognitive limits of the brain.
Regina Warfel, research and assessment analyst at the CLDC, said the undergraduate students will be expected to spend 90 minutes in an appointment, 30 minutes of which will be spent on filling out a pre-appointment survey and completing a test of their cognitive capacity, 30 minutes with a career coach during a career coaching appointment and the final 30 minutes filling out a post-appointment survey and completing another test of cognitive capacity.
The BBCD model has also been recognized by NACE, the largest national association for career services and employers who engage in university relations and recruiting. Through NACE, CLDC has published the second edition of their book “Brain-Based Career Development Theory.”
Imants Jaunarajs, assistant vice president and executive director of the CLDC, established BBCD in 2013. Since then, he and his team have trained and provided practitioners with new strategies with which to approach their day-to-day career development work with clients.
“We’re excited about BBCD and there is a lot of momentum,” McGrain said. “We’re trying not to overwhelm the students and help them navigate that scary and uncertain world of career and life choices. We really want to be a resource for them to confidently navigate the career development process.”