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Careers in Organizational Leadership Grow! Here’s why.

Juniata Admission
Juniata College Admission

Most of us can agree on one thing- change is constant. Change across many industries and markets is leading to a surge of career opportunities in organizational leadership. Dominick Peruso, Chair of the Department of Accounting, Business, and Economics, states, “COVID-19 ushered in an era of need for systemic change and innovation within organizations. It has impacted everything from working remotely to employee recruitment. When you couple that with emerging issues in diversity, technology, and ethics, you can see why organizations are quick to hire experts in this area.” 

Before COVID, many publications shared that organizational leadership careers would remain in demand across the corporate, education, government, and healthcare sectors through 2026. As a result of COVID, this outlook has grown – with many professionals citing a decade-long upward trend. The reason? We have fundamentally changed the way we do business. Everything has changed; how we communicate with our employees, where they work, how we develop them for career growth, and how we deal with disciplinary action situations. So many of our leaders are specialized. Leaders focusing on organizational leadership (OL) are trained to develop frameworks for an organization’s success. 

So what does that mean in real life?

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Reflecting on my first semester during COVID-19

Madison Wrightstone
Madison Wrightstone ’23

I was in Florida on spring break with my teammates when we all first learned that we would not be returning to campus for two weeks. We had no idea at the time that we would not see each other again in person for almost six months. This is not a wildly unique experience I had – high schoolers and college kids alike missed out on their senior years, sport seasons, time with family members and friends, and the long list of experiences a person has while they are still young. The pandemic we have all been trudging through for the last year has put life on hold in so many ways, and yet life at Juniata has not become all that different as many of us thought it would.

I was ecstatic to come back to campus for in-person learning. Attempting to learn from a computer screen in my childhood bedroom hours away from campus for the second half of the spring 2020 semester was neither productive for me academically nor for my mental health. When I found out that Juniata was expecting to make a full return to campus, I – along with every single person that I told from home – was doubtful to say the least. How would a small liberal arts school in the (in what they like to say) “middle of nowhere” be able to control local outbreaks without endangering staff or the local community? How did we expect college kids to listen to all the rules in place? I bet we’d be on campus for three weeks max (which was very noticeable in what I chose to pack). And for maybe the first time in my life, I was very happy to be wrong about something. We were able to stay completely in person for the entire semester!

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Making College during Covid the New Normal

Jules Slater
Jules Slater ’21, Advocacy Communication POE, Future Mayor of Picklesburgh

“I figured even though it wasn’t what I was used to, at least I could be on campus when so many other colleges were forced to shut their doors.”

I’m two days into my last semester at Juniata. Wow. If you’ve been reading my other blog posts, you know that I tend to get sappy about my time at Juniata ending, so I’ll try to avoid that as much as possible in this one. Since the first blog post I wrote, I’ve focused mostly on aspects of campus or opinions I hold that have been unaffected by COVID. However, after living through a semester unlike any other, I think it’s necessary to commemorate it in writing.

This semester was, as everything else in the world seems to be these days, unprecedented. Coping with the effects of a pandemic on campus was stress inducing at times but I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to create a new normal on-site instead of from my childhood bedroom in Pittsburgh.

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What I miss about Juniata over break (and what I’ll miss for the rest of my life)

Jules Slater
Jules Slater ’21, Advocacy Communication POE, Future Mayor of Picklesburgh

It took me a long time to get homesick during my first year of college. I missed my family (especially my dog), of course, but the intense homesickness we often hear so much about just didn’t set in. I believe this is because I’ve always felt like Juniata is my home just as much as my real home is my home. I’m reminded of this fact every time I leave Juniata for fall, winter, spring, or summer break. No matter how long I’m away from Juniata—whether it’s four days or three months (or eight months when I studied abroad)—I find myself homesick for the same things.

The first thing I always miss—obviously—are my friends and loved ones at Juniata. My roommate, my significant other, my favorite professor, my friend group… these are all people Juniata has led me to. But more than missing just these people and the wonder and excitement they add to my life, I miss the social aspects of campus that simply don’t exist in my hometown. Things like bingo on the quad or waving hello to someone from my window in Cloister’s arch. I miss having everything I need less than a city block away from me; friends and support system included.

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Adult Students Seek Options. Graduate Programs Grow.

Juniata Admission
Juniata Admission

Options. That’s one of the most popular themes for 2020. As we work to figure out our futures, we look for options in our careers and training/education. People across the United States are being faced with making the best of a bad situation. For potential students, this can include taking on new job responsibilities due to corporate downsizing, rethinking recent career decisions, and starting over completely. For adults who already hold their bachelor’s degree, graduate programs can seem promising. That has meant a noticeable increase in first-generation graduate students.

Like any continuing education, graduate programs require some preliminary research and strategy, by the student, to best figure out which path to take and which school is the best match for them and their wallet. Because some job markets have gone from bad to worse during COVID, universities have had to revisit and reallocate resources into programs that are needed now. Dealing with that delicate balance, they still must address the new needs of their students, what’s happening now, and preparing them for the dramatic changes taking place in business and across industries.

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