Cal State San Bernardino’s director for its Career Center, Tiffany Bitting, said her focus will be to help students, specifically first-generation college students, a group she is very familiar with.
Bitting identifies strongly with CSUSB’s diverse, first-generation student population as she was the first in her family to achieve a four-year degree.
While an undergraduate at Cal State Long Beach, she served as a student advisor to fellow low-income students in the Educational Opportunity Program. “My story has a thread that connects with CSUSB’s students,” she says.
But it is also important to Bitting to be in a space “where I am giving back and able to give voice to students who are first gen like I am. Part of my life’s work is to assist first-gen students. It was the focus on my research during my doctoral program,” she says.
Her vision for CSUSB’s Career Center has a first-generation student focus. Working on confidence-building and career readiness are key efforts. That includes making sure students feel supported and connected across the campus and engaged in experiential learning opportunities.
Her goals for the Career Center have experiential learning at their heart. COVID-19 has set career centers back across the nation, and Bitting is eager to get CSUSB’s center back on track.
Even as early as her first couple of weeks on campus, she spoke with a variety of employers who were excited to recruit students for internships and full-time opportunities beginning this fall. Employers are attracted to CSUSB because it is both a Hispanic-Serving and a Minority-Serving Institution with a non-traditional segment of the student body who bring a variety of work experiences to the table.
Bitting also notes that she continues to highlight the perseverance of CSUSB’s students to potential employers. “They bring strengths to the workplace based on their lived experiences,” she says.
Over the next year, she plans to invite employers to campus in more intimate settings, for example, in mock interviews and resume preparation. These occasions give students access to the “insider knowledge” of the job world along with what she calls the “hidden job network.”
She believes it is important to expose students to as much as possible while they are still undergraduates. She also encourages students to explore opportunities beyond their major to widen their thinking to possibilities outside a single, linear track.
While “career education and readiness are the responsibility of an entire campus,” she observes, “I want the CSUSB Career Center to be a hub for our faculty and students, as well as employers, and customize pathways for each of the many campus populations. We can work with faculty to complement classroom learning and also engage with the Alumni Relations office to strengthen the student-alumni pipeline.”
Vice president for Student Affairs Paz Olivérez is delighted to have Bitting on board as part of the team.
“With her strong knowledge base, skill-set and experience, Dr. Bitting is a key hire in helping us move the dial even further on our students’ post-graduation opportunities,” Olivérez said. “I am excited on behalf of the CSUSB student body for all that she brings to the role of director of our Career Center.”
Bitting has built her more than 10-year career in higher education in both public and private university settings. Her experience ranges from offices within student and academic affairs to admissions and financial aid. While working on her master’s degree in counseling at Cal State Long Beach, she had an internship at Cal State Fullerton’s Career Center. “I fell in love with the field,” she says.
She confirmed that love when a position opened up at the University of Houston’s Career Center. There, she led the career counseling team in providing campus-wide career services to students exploring various career paths and graduate programs. Houston’s student body is similar to both CSULB and CSUSB as a Hispanic-Serving Institution with 50% of its student body first-generation.
At the University of Houston, Bitting co-chaired the First Gen Chat Group, a place for campus partners to share resources for first-generation students, and founded the Sister Circle for Black Women graduate students.
Biting was awarded a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in Black studies and a master’s degree in counseling both from Cal State Long Beach. She received an Ed.D. in ethical leadership with a social justice focus from the University of St. Thomas in Houston.
Find out more at the CSUSB Career Center.