BGSU Kuhlin Hub for Career Design and Connections launches Falcon Professional Network to connect alumni, students for career success

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – As part of Life Design at Bowling Green State University, the Michael and Sara Kuhlin Hub for Career Design and Connections has launched a groundbreaking initiative to connect University alumni with current students as they become the next generation of Falcon professionals.

All BGSU alumni are invited to join the Falcon Professional Network, a platform that provides a professional networking resource for students, alumni and employer partners. The network is for alumni from all industries and backgrounds to ensure BGSU students of all majors and interests are supported. The relationships students make with Falcon alumni on this platform will help them graduate career-ready and connected.

“The Falcon Professional Network is an ideal tool for our mission to connect BGSU students to alumni, corporate partners, entrepreneurs and other external stakeholders,” said Steve Russell, assistant vice president and executive director of the Kuhlin Hub for Career Design and Connections.

“By making these crucial in-network relationships early on, students get an opportunity to test out what a future career might look like, and this platform ultimately will help students become part of the powerful BGSU network. Alumni and employer partners benefit, too, by gaining access to highly trained and sought-after BGSU students, and they can also further their own connections as Falcon alumni professionals.”

The platform stands out from other networking platforms because it is for Falcons, by Falcons. Alumni can choose to use Falcon Professional Network in a variety of ways – offering career advice, aiding in job lead prospecting, goal-setting and tracking, and social networking, just to name a few.

The platform also taps into the collective knowledge and potential power of more than 200,000 fellow Falcons worldwide. Within one day of the launch, more than 1,000 BGSU alumni joined Falcon Professional Network.

Members can join the platform here by signing up using email or a LinkedIn account. Beyond listing a generic career history like other networking platforms, Falcon Professional Network asks new members to share their career stages and goals for their use of the platform, what drives them professionally and personally, as well as outside interests. These answers are analyzed and combined to create a holistic profile for each member, allowing for multiple and stronger points of connection.

The Career section of Falcon Professional Network connects job seekers with a host of opportunities that align with their current strengths, interests and skills by serving up careers that match a member’s job function, industry and passions. Rather than just being an impersonal job board, this section allows young professionals to drill down on what best fits them, provides realistic salary ranges, offers videos that show a day in the life of a person in the selected career and – most importantly – provides them profiles with fellow Falcon Professional Network members who are in that career path so they can contact them and connect for more more information.

The Connect section allows Falcon Professional Network members to meet industry experts and key people with whom to connect, based on shared experiences, industries, job functions and topics of interest. As a member builds out their profile, the Connect section turns into a robust, well-tailored community that helps to foster the opportunity for professional communication. To facilitate connection, icons on member profiles note what each Falcon Professional Network member has in common with each other. This could include their graduation year, a member’s key motivators, current industry and job title, or if a person is seeking career opportunities. These contextual designs help to personalize and humanize each member, and it's easy to tell if a member is online and available for a chat.

Valuable for students and young professionals, the Resources section of Falcon Professional Network also offers a series of robust, on-platform resources called Pathways, which are tailored, step-by-step experiences to help students or new professionals navigate to the next big steps in a professional journey. Professionals can also explore helpful articles and videos such as how to effectively mentor and host job shadow candidates, manage anxiety, and set goals and expectations.

About The Kuhlin Hub for Career Design and Connections

The Kuhlin Hub for Career Design and Connections opened in 2023 as an integral part of the University's Life Design ecosystem to facilitate key introductions between students and industry professionals that lead to mentorship, co-ops, internships and fulfilling career opportunities.

Alumnus Mike Kuhlin ‘68 made a transformative gift in 2022 supporting an innovative approach to career planning and student success in the Kuhlin Hub for Career Design and Connections.

BGSU is among the few universities in the country with career connectors focused solely on growing its network of corporate partners to create career opportunities for students.

“I’m very proud our support is serving to launch the University’s career design and connections initiative, one that will directly and measurably contribute to student success,” Kuhlin said at the public gift announcement in 2022.

Kuhlin formerly served on the board of directors of the BGSU Foundation and has been an avid supporter of the University.

About Life Design

Since 2020, Life Design at BGSU has transformed students’ lives, garnered tremendous support and become a recognizable differentiator of student success.

The groundbreaking program, built using the framework established by the Life Design Lab at Stanford University, leverages design thinking principles to help students explore what they want to do and who they want to become while shaping their college and career journeys.

The scale at which BGSU can offer its Life Design program is largely due to transformative gifts totaling $13.5 million that the University received in 2022 from alumni philanthropists Geoffrey Radbill ’68 and Kuhlin.

Although it is one comprehensive program, Life Design includes two distinct components – college and life design and career design and connections – that represent the evolving needs of students as they make their way through college.

Most commonly, a student’s track through the Life Design program begins with the Geoffrey H. Radbill Center for College and Life Design, located in Mitchell B. McLeod Hall in the heart of campus.

Students will work with their Life Design coach to create a blueprint of their ideal college experience and will learn fundamental design thinking skills to help them navigate any obstacles they encounter along the way.

As students progress through their journey at the University, the Kuhlin Hub for Career Design and Connections — located on the second floor of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union — aids them in aligning their interests with future career opportunities.

The Radbill Center for College and Life Design and the Kuhlin Hub for Career Design and Connections work in concert to further the University's mission of redefining student success as part of its strategic plan, Forward.

“Our goal is to create an ever-growing network of external partners that is representative of what life after college looks like,” Russell said. “Many job opportunities are only accessible by people who are ‘in-network.’ We want to help our students get there to open their opportunities significantly.

“When BGSU can help an underrepresented student make the connection and tap into a network, we significantly increase that student’s ability to earn a successful job, which is a key way to break down equity barriers for students that have and continue to exist.”

Updated: 10/04/2023 02:44PM