Case Study: Willamette University

Jerry Houser and Colleen Sump


Jerry Houser Ph.D. has worked in career services for over 25 years and directs Willamette University's Career Services office. Colleen Sump is Director of Alumni and Parent Engagement and has decades of experience working in higher education.

At the suggestion of multiple trustees and alumni, Willamette signed on with Switchboard to amplify their efforts to share resources between students and alumni. 


Since launching in March 2014, the Willamette Switchboard has become an indispensable tool for the Willamette community:

  • 40% of posts are for jobs and internships, and two-thirds of those are Offers

  • One-third of Willamette Switchboard users are alumni who have graduated in the past 10 years

  • 60% of Willamette Switchboard posts are Offers


"What's not to like about Switchboard?  I love the immediate response time," Jerry says.  "Sometimes we get opportunities that are time sensitive and we wonder how to connect with students and alumni about it. So we post on Switchboard. There have been good career connections made. Students are reluctant to call on individual alumni because they don't want to bug people who are busy. But Switchboard lets students put an idea or ask out there and get quick response. It removes the 'reluctance barrier' for students."

Colleen adds, "Career Services quickly realized that Switchboard could be a great tool in connecting students with alumni who had career advice, tips and leads. Initially they were concerned that Switchboard would take the place of the established Willamette job board, but once they saw Switchboard in action, they discovered that using both tools increases the quality and quantity of opportunities available to students. That's an outcome we all want!"


Visit Willamette's Alumni Affairs website to learn about how they launched Switchboard in their community.

READ MORE & Watch Testimonial Interviews

Willamette Switchboard was featured in this article on "Next Generation Networking" that appeared in CASE Currents


Stephanie '12 posted an Ask for a summer internship in the bay area. She landed one with the help of Adam '01.


Staff member Sarah posted an Offer for a volunteer internship and filled it thanks to Switchboard.


Rachel '14 posted an Ask for an informational interview in analytics and connected with alumna Jazmyn.