Rockwell Career Center’s Belinne Wins Prestigious NACE Award

Published on July 27, 2012

Assistant Dean for Career Services Jamie Belinne
Cited for Integrating Internships with Coursework

Jamie Belinne, center, receives the NACE 2012 Professional Change-Maker Award.

Many students at the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business are on a non-traditional path. They commute to campus. They juggle work and family responsibilities with class and study time. As a result, squeezing in an internship or leadership activity is not an option for many.

But thanks to an innovative new program instituted by Jamie Belinne, Bauer’s assistant dean for career services at the Rockwell Career Center, students in the college’s required “Connecting Bauer to Business” course can work on a corporate project that functions like a mini internship.

Belinne’s peers at the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) were so impressed by her initiative that they honored her with a prestigious 2012 NACE Innovation Excellence Award. Belinne received the coveted Professional Change-Maker Award at a glitzy black-tie ceremony in Las Vegas on June 12.

“I have gotten other recognitions and other awards, but this is the one I wanted,” Belinne said. “It really does say that we have built something that’s so innovative it changes how the profession works.”

Launched on a small, experimental scale in 2009 with 24 participating companies, Belinne’s program has ballooned into a game-changing opportunity for 400 students who work on a group project with 50 employer sponsors each year. The integrative experience gives students invaluable real-world exposure that transforms the lecture-hall format.

“Jamie’s award,” said Bauer Dean Latha Ramchand, “is a validation of the work she’s done to elevate the Rockwell Career Center to national prominence. It also demonstrates Bauer College’s continuing commitment to provide programs that are based around student success.”

Belinne, who has been invited to share her program at conferences around the country, believe that its benefits transcend the actual course experience. “We have found since we implemented this course at the Bauer College that retention rates and graduation rates have improved.”

When Belinne arrived at UH from the University of Texas at Austin in 2005, she inherited a Career Services department that offered counseling but no recruitment opportunities. Under her watch, Rockwell Career Center’s full-time staff has grown from five to 18 (plus part-timers), and the list of potential employers has jumped from 300 to 4,000. When Michael J. Cemo Hall was completed in 2010, its entire second floor was dedicated to the Rockwell Career Center.

Belinne holds a degree in public relations from Louisiana State University and a master’s in mental health counseling from Loyola University. Outside the university, the mother of two is a go-getter and a competitive athlete. She’s an Ironman, a certified running coach and was a Team USA  member at the 2009 and 2011 International Triathlon Union’s World Championships.

Now she’s looking forward to spreading the gospel about connecting students to businesses.

“No other university has ever done projects like this to the scale that we are doing it, where they are facilitated by the university,” Belinne said. “And the fact that we have been able to do it successfully proves that it can be done, because I don’t think a lot of schools have even attempted it.”

By Wendell Brock