James Osborne

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James Osborne served as the Director of Corporate Relations and Placement from 1982 to 1987. He brought many major changes to the Placement Center at Georgia Tech. Through his direction and fundraising initiatives, the Placement Center staff was able to make some sweeping program changes affecting the overall operation of the Placement Center. He was responsible for developing a lot of new fundrasing programs and increasing corporate support for Georgia Tech substantially during his tenure. He also was the longest running director the Placement Center had up to this point, 1982-1987.

Contents

Background

In 1981, the Georgia Tech administration merged the Placement Center with the Georgia Tech’s development program, which dealt with corporate relations. This was done to give the development program better and easier access to corporate recruiters and executives who would provide support for scholarships and lectureships. In 1982, Dr. James B. Osborne was recruited from the University of Alabama where he managed the Cooperative Education Program to undertake the position of Director of Corporate Relations and Placement. He previously served as Director of Career Services at East Tennessee State University, where he headed the Cooperative Education and Placement Program and also served as Executive Director of the Junior Achievement Program of Johnson City, Tennessee.[1]

Achievements

Reorganization

The first task Dr. Osborne encountered was the reorganization of the Placement Center staff. His goal for the Placement Center was not only to provide students with career opportunities but also to enrich Georgia Tech’s relationship with the corporate community. To accomplish this goal, the Placement Center and the development program were integrated into the Office of Corporate Relations and Placement.[2]


The integration was not welcomed by some members of the placement staff. Some staff members warned that discussing contributions with corporate recruiters visiting the Placement Center would harm a system oriented for students’ careers. Osborne tried to convince staff members that fundraising is essential for Georgia Tech to become one of the best technological institutes in the nation. He advised the placement staff that they should encourage corporate recruiters to financially support Georgina Tech and that fundraising would benefit both the students and Georgia Tech. Some staff members never agreed with him on the Placement Center’s role of fundraising, while others adjusted to the new rules.[3]


Fundraising

During the time Osborne served as Director of Corporate Relations and Placement, corporate contributions to Georgia Tech increased dramatically from $3.6 million to $16.6 million annually. The Placement Center succeeded in generating annual support from over 800 companies, and corporate contributions constituted about 50% of the Georgia Tech’s total private support. This rapid growth was enabled by Osborne’s efforts in administering the corporate support programs.[4]


The first program he administered was the Corporate Associates Program, a recognition program for companies that made contributions to academic programs. This program encouraged contributions of $2,500 or more, which was a beneficial program for companies contributing for the first time. Second was the Corporate Matching Gifts Program. This program encouraged the alumni who work for corporations that sponsor matching gift programs to make individual, charitable contributions to be matched by the company. Third was the Corporate Leaders Program, a recognition program for companies that made contributions of $20,000 or more.[5]


Ajax placement Center

Another type of corporate support program that Osborne authorized was the Corporate Liaison Program (CLP). Participation in the CLP required a yearly minimum contribution of $20,000 to the Georgia Tech Foundation, Inc.[6] The CLP targeted larger corporations operating in the field of technology. Membership in the CLP offered companies special services such as scheduling special campus visits and receiving monthly mailings of campus publications. The special services allowed companies to easily access the campus and exchange information about research programs and new developments.[7] The CLP strengthened the relationships between Georgia Tech and corporations and generated larger grants and research contracts.[8]


Most of the works done by staff of the Office of Corporate Relations and Placement took place at the Ajax Placement Center facility on campus. This facility held 33 interview rooms for corporate recruiters to interview graduating students throughout the year. When corporate recruiters visited the Placement Center, Osborne gave a recruiter orientation where he discussed the benefits of supporting Georgia Tech through financial contributions. Strong bonds between Georgia Tech and corporate recruiters formed through the Placement Center led to many corporate contributions and research contracts.[9]


Interview registration system

Students waiting in a line to register for job interviews

Osborne changed the job interview registration process. For years, the Placement Center used the first-come, first-served policy for job interview registration. When the Placement Center announced the list of companies coming to Georgia Tech to interview potential employees, graduating seniors were invited to the Placement Center for manual sign-ups. This registration system required students to come to the Placement Center and write their names on a sign-up form. There was a time when some students slept in tents outside the Placement Center to have an opportunity to register for well-known companies such as IBM, GE, General Motors, etc. One morning, a student was injured when students behind pushed as the front door of the Placement Center opened accidentally early.[10]

To fix these kinds of problems of manual sign-ups, in 1938 Osborne consulted Dell Sikes, former director of of the Placement Center. The first system that they came up with was lottery system. When graduating students came to the Placement Center to register for job interviews, they drew for names of companies instead of manually registering for them. If they picked their preference from their first draw, they were allowed to sign up for a particular company interview. However, this lottery system still involved manually signing up and first-come, first-served policy.[11]

In 1984, Osborne implemented a computerized placement registration and selection system for students to register students for job interviews. This system eliminated the waiting lines, allowing students to manage their time more efficiently and allowed students to register in advance of interview dates, giving them enough time to prepare for their interviews. At the same, time the system also motivated students to sign up early, reducing last minute requests for interviews. The disadvantage was that students were not allowed to pick their own interview times. However, the new system was well received by the students. [12]

The new system required students to attend an orientation session and visit the Placement Center on the specified bidding dates for interviews. Students were told to review offered job descriptions and choose ones for which they qualify. Then, they wrote the schedule number of the companies they chose on the bid sheet, next to the desired bid number. For example, a number 1 represented the company the student was most interested in, while a number 10 represented the company the student was least interested in. Placement staff entered student bids into computer system for random selection. When the bid number was selected, the staff of the Placement Center printed resumes, distributed them to the companies corresponding to the selected bid numbers, and allowed companies to schedule interviews. After the bidding process was finished, students were allowed to come to the Placement Center for remaining interview times on a first-come, first-served basis. A computerized interview registration system became the primary interview registration procedure.[13]

Computerized resume system

After the computerized interview registration was implemented, the computerized resume system was implemented in the fall of 1986. It featured an electronic Data Sheet (resume). The Georgia Tech student resumes were made available online. Students were allowed to print their resumes and proof-read before their interviews. A copy of the resume was automatically printed and given to the recruiters prior to the interview. Moreover, student resume book was published in 1987 for the first time. Employers who did not fill all employment positions during on-campus interviews or those who could not visit the campus could use the resume book as a resource to directly contact graduating students.[14]


References

  1. Cynthia T. Jordin (2008). ‘‘A Moment in Time: Thirty Years in the Making’’, p.59, Retrieved 21 November, 2010
  2. Cynthia T. Jordin (2008). ‘‘A Moment in Time: Thirty Years in the Making’’, p.60, Retrieved 21 November, 2010
  3. Cynthia T. Jordin (2008). ‘‘A Moment in Time: Thirty Years in the Making’’, p.60, Retrieved 21 November, 2010
  4. Cynthia T. Jordin (2008). ‘‘A Moment in Time: Thirty Years in the Making’’, p.62, Retrieved 21 November, 2010
  5. Cynthia T. Jordin (2008). ‘‘A Moment in Time: Thirty Years in the Making’’, p.62, Retrieved 21 November, 2010
  6. Faculty Handbook:Office of Faculty Career Development Services, http://www.academic.gatech.edu/handbook/Georgia_Institute_of_Technology_-_Faculty_Handbook_Sep2008.pdf
  7. Faculty Handbook:Office of Faculty Career Development Services, http://www.academic.gatech.edu/handbook/Georgia_Institute_of_Technology_-_Faculty_Handbook_Sep2008.pdf
  8. Cynthia T. Jordin (2008). ‘‘A Moment in Time: Thirty Years in the Making’’, p.61, Retrieved 21 November, 2010
  9. Cynthia T. Jordin (2008). ‘‘A Moment in Time: Thirty Years in the Making’’, p.61, Retrieved 21 November, 2010
  10. Cynthia T. Jordin (2008). ‘‘A Moment in Time: Thirty Years in the Making’’, p.65, Retrieved 21 November, 2010
  11. Cynthia T. Jordin (2008). ‘‘A Moment in Time: Thirty Years in the Making’’, p.65, Retrieved 21 November, 2010
  12. Cynthia T. Jordin (2008). ‘‘A Moment in Time: Thirty Years in the Making’’, p.66, Retrieved 21 November, 2010
  13. Cynthia T. Jordin (2008). ‘‘A Moment in Time: Thirty Years in the Making’’, p.66, Retrieved 21 November, 2010
  14. Cynthia T. Jordin (2008). ‘‘A Moment in Time: Thirty Years in the Making’’, p.68, Retrieved 21 November, 2010
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