January 15, 2016 | By Chuck Carlson
Failure and success live on different sides of the same coin and Laurel Draudt, who on July 1 will become the new director of Albion College's Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management, believes it’s best to show students that in many cases, one side needs the other.
“Employer trends these days are they want their new hires at the entry level to have failed,” she said. “That’s so they can learn from mistakes and come back from them. Internships are a great opportunity to do that. You learn about your own work style, you make mistakes and how they were made and learn from there. You don’t know what you don’t know and an internship is an opportunity for them to learn what they don’t know, or at least figure out how to learn it.”
Draudt has been the institute's associate director since 2012, joining Albion after stints at Ohio State University, the University of Arkansas and the University of Michigan.
“I’ve mostly been in academic affairs-related positions and student development,” said Draudt, “but I’ve had experience in career services in the past. So the mix with having worked with employers and 15 years working with students was a really good match. I think it’s what attracted me to Albion in the first place, and to Gerstacker—the commitment to academics and career readiness.”
Draudt, who replaces Interim Director John Bedient, associate professor of economics and management, will guide more than 200 Gerstacker students, all of whom are required to serve at least one internship and, in some cases, two.
As associate director, Draudt has led the institute’s internship efforts, working with students to prepare them for their out-of-classroom experiences. She visits students on site, advises them and often helps them as they move on to their first job.
Her appointment was announced January 12 by Provost Marc Roy, who said in a campus-wide message, “Her interactions with students, faculty, staff and people in a wide variety of businesses are excellent. Importantly, Laurel has the vision to help the Institute continue to improve for our students and the College.”
Draudt said she will hire a new associate director and strive to be ready to go when she moves into the director's office.
“We’re going to talk to some folks and get some things in place,” she said. “We want to hit the ground running even faster.”