NACOGDOCHES, Texas — With the click of a button, Stephen F. Austin State University Rusche College of Business students have access to hundreds of professional mentors and contacts through the Lumberjack Professional Network. Through the recent purchase of the Graduway software platform, the network now has a social media home providing valuable new networking opportunities, said Dr. Tim Bisping, dean of the Rusche College of Business.

With this software, current students can connect with alumni who are willing to serve as professional mentors. Alumni and friends of the university who choose to join the network can serve as mentors to current business students.

“The Graduway platform provides Rusche College of Business alumni an exclusive social media gathering place to stay abreast of what’s going on here, as well as keep up with current and former acquaintances,” said Dr. Robert Crocker, associate dean of the college. “Our main purpose is to use this site to give alumni a way to serve as mentors to our current undergraduate students, which will help us attract and educate future business leaders for East Texas and beyond.”

After two years of a successful mentorship program on campus, the College of Business partnered with the SFA Alumni Association to launch a networking site through Graduway with the financial support of the Rusche College of Business Executive Advisory Board.

This site extends the SFA Alumni Association’s Lumberjack Professional Network by bringing that community online so current students can connect with them. Craig Turnage, executive director of the alumni association, said the association is proud to partner with the college to offer this mentoring and networking opportunity.

“We grow Lumberjack Pride, and the goal of the association is to engage our more than 100,000 alumni,” Turnage said. “Research shows alumni are looking for ways to give back their time, talent and treasure. Mentoring students is a great way to plug in those alumni.”

The site helps enhance mentorship capabilities by offering access to professional networking, internships, career advice and job opportunities in a social media-type experience. The online presence boasts the combination of useful technology that builds mentor/mentee relationships into the thousands. Graduway features also allow alumni to host social networking groups, post events and pictures, and reconnect with the university.

“The Lumberjack Professional Network presents an amazing opportunity for Rusche College of Business students and alumni, as it allows those involved to leverage the loyalty and expertise of fellow Lumberjacks in order to enhance career success,” Bisping said. “Whether by working to ensure a successful career launch for new graduates or by assisting Lumberjacks as they develop as leaders, the Lumberjack Professional Network will impact the lives of students and enhance the effectiveness of the college.”

The launching of the Lumberjack Professional Network on Graduway is a collaborative effort between the SFA Alumni Association, the Rusche College of Business, the Center for Career and Professional Development, the Office of Development, alumni, the Project Management Office and Information Technology Services.

“It’s amazing what can be accomplished when a group of Lumberjacks pull in the same direction,” Bisping said.

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