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The Water Cooler, August 2020

For over a year now, we’ve been compiling career resources, news and info while also highlighting some of the Jayhawks who really rock their 9-to-5. The Water Cooler is a monthly email newsletter for alumni, students and friends of the University. If you’re interested, be sure to subscribe here.

In May, against the background of COVID-19, we celebrated graduation and the arrival of summer. Now in August, we prepare for fall along with the return to school still amidst the uncertainties of the pandemic.

This issue of the Water Cooler features articles and stories that highlight the roles school and continuing education play in our personal and professional lives. Read about the importance of professional development and how COVID-19 is shaping the fall semester at KU.

We continue our commitment to bringing you important articles about diversity and equity, share the story of how an MBA student has benefitted from KU Mentoring and describe how alumni and corporate partners can help recent graduates and current students through the new Bridges program. All of this month’s pieces highlight a constant in our ever changing world, Jayhawks always Flock Together.

Rock Chalk.

Howard Graham, g’08, PhD’19
Director of the Jayhawk Career Network

We’ve been compiling career resources, news and info

Let’s Talk: Back to School

Create a Bridge to opportunities

Bridges is KU’s marketplace for connecting students and recent grads to real-world, experiential projects that benefit your business.

The Bridges marketplace is fueled by individuals like you – fellow alumni, families, and businesses. In minutes, you can create short-term, virtual projects for students and alumni to help them launch their careers.

Need a logo created? Bridges can help.
Need a social media campaign created? Bridges can help.
Need data analyzed? Bridges can help.

Post a project

Just because you graduated, doesn’t mean you stopped learning.

As a Jayhawk, you have exclusive access to a range of online learning tools.

Upcoming webinars explore how to be resilient when facing adversity, as well as the power of storytelling for building inclusive environments, and how to embrace your authentic self to stand out and thrive.

Next month bestselling author of “Switch” and “Made to Stick”, Dan Heath, will share insights on how to solve problems before they happen based on his newest book “Upstream”.

Take a look

20 ways to advance your professional development in 2020

You don’t have to wait for a new year, a birthday, or a new job opportunity to reinvigorate your career.

You can make “New Years’ resolutions” whenever you want—halfway through the year, or at 3 p.m. on a Tuesday. You can make today the beginning of the year where you dedicate yourself to your career.

Read more

Ex-Google VP’s new app is helping 30,000 Kansas students return to college

Former Google Maps and Google Earth exec Brian McClendon has launched a symptom-checking app aimed at helping communities contain COVID-19.

To open campus buildings safely, the KU worked with a nonprofit called CVKey Project to pilot a symptom-checking app among a small group of staff that needed to access research archives and laboratories. The app reviews symptoms and either clears users to go into school or directs them to stay home and contact a health professional for further guidance. Now, KU is preparing to roll out the CVKey app to its student population of nearly 30,000 for entry into 266 buildings across campus.

Read more

Leadership 101: You’re the boss — so now what?

One of the most difficult professional transitions anyone can make is becoming the boss, advancing from team member to supervisor or manager, especially if you become the boss of your former peers. But a big transition doesn’t have to mean a trial by fire.

With guidance on a few key elements of successful leadership, and a willingness to keep growing and improving, you can take on your new responsibilities with confidence. All leaders and managers should hone their skills and grow in areas with room for improvement.

Read more

Compassionate Conversations

The importance of diversity in education

New ideas about diversity and inclusion have developed, shifting the focus towards enriching human learning and experience, so-called ‘unity in diversity.’  

When it comes to education, ‘unity in diversity’ in the classroom doesn’t seem a farfetched idea anymore for any globally minded teacher. This can be accomplished by either having technology that connects students with foreign knowledge and cultures or by having an international student body to make the learning environment multicultural and diverse.  

Read more


When Experts Attack!: LGBTQ rights won’t lead to frivolous lawsuits

Recently, the United States Supreme Court deemed it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees for sexual orientation or transgender status.

In this episode, Kyle Velte, associate professor of law, explains why the SCOTUS ruling is a “landmark case that will transform the American workplace.” She also recounts her own experiences at the Supreme Court and tells us how the highest court in the land conducts its business in the age of COVID-19.

Read more

Campus Connections

Jayhawk Business Directory

The Jayhawk Business Directory is the newest way to increase exposure to your business through our directory of alumni-owned and operated businesses.

List your business on the Jayhawk Business Directory so that ‘Hawks everywhere can support you and your company.

Adding your business to the directory is exclusive to KU Alumni members and current corporate partners*.

List your business

*If you’re interested in learning more about corporate partnership opportunities with KU Alumni Association for your company let us know!

Empathethic recruiters get creative to fill incoming class

When early bands of the coronavirus hurricane reached as far inland as Mount Oread, the threat to classes consumed campus with worry. Yet while their administration and academic colleagues scrambled to salvage the spring semester, the admissions team was already gazing toward the next line of storms: the August start of the next academic year.

Could KU still recruit and retain a vibrant freshman class?

Read more

MBA student connects with alumni through KU Mentoring platform

Full-time MBA student Dan Coviello started his KU education knowing the university’s alumni network was a powerful tool. He wasted no time taking advantage of it through KU Mentoring, a platform that connects students with alumni, faculty and staff.

“It’s a perfect opportunity to talk to new people, learn and see what makes the most sense for me as I go into health care,” Coviello explained.

Read more

Jayhawks in the news

Our walk may look different

I’m sorry. It was not supposed to be this way. It’s okay to mourn the loss of what you thought this season would look like. Whether you walk through the Campanile and down the Hill in May or not, you are not walking away empty handed. You are walking away with incredible mentors who saw a light in you from the beginning. You are walking away with a joy that comes from finally finding your voice, confidence and inner peace with who you are.

Your walk may look different, but it is not bad.

Recent graduate, Brianna Mears, j’20, reflects on the abrupt end of her senior year by writing to her freshman-self.

Read more

Teachers find limits—and innovation—in remote learning transition

In a typical year, Laura Diede and her 10-person staff help 150 instructors create videos, record lectures and find other ways to put class lessons online.

After KU announced in March it would transition all classes to remote-learning formats to protect students, faculty and staff from COVID-19, “It’s basically everyone who needs to do it,” says Diede, c’03, g’09, director of the Center for Online and Distance Learning (CODL). “So we’re helping everyone. It’s an explosion.”

Read more


Find even more events on KU Connection >>>

Communicating for Inclusion: Constructing Workplaces that Welcome Difference

This session will share research on how issues of diversity and inclusiveness impact our workforce, workplace relationships, organizational productivity, and employee satisfaction and dignity.

11 a.m. CT
Thursday, Aug. 20

The Gift of Adversity: Turning Adversity into Opportunity

While preparing to deploy with the U.S. Army, Marcus suffered a severe spinal injury that left him paralyzed. After dying on the operating table twice, the surgeons saved his life, but told him he’d never walk again. In his webinar Marcus will talk about mental resilience, unconditional gratitude and ways to adapt to events outside your control, apply the Adversity Scale and find opportunity in any Adversity.

12 p.m. ET
Wednesday, Aug. 26

Rock Chalk Connect | Chicago Network Virtual Happy Hour

Join fellow KU Alumni for a virtual happy hour. Meet other Jayhawks from the Chicago area!

6 p.m. CT
Wednesday, Aug. 26

Rock Chalk Connect | Dallas Network Virtual Happy Hour

Join fellow KU Alumni for a virtual happy hour. Meet other Jayhawks from the Dallas area!

6 p.m. CT
Wednesday, Aug. 27

Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen

Bestselling author Dan Heath reveals how some leaders have learned to spot problems in advance: a school district that can predict which students will drop out — 4 years before graduation. An internet service company that can predict which customers are likely to cancel their subscriptions — as early as two weeks after they sign up! When we shift from downstream response to upstream planning, it can cause miracles.

12 p.m. ET
Thursday, Sept. 10

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