Inaugural head of Life & Career Design Institute appointed

Sean Schofield, Ph.D., an experienced higher education leader in career planning, experiential learning and personal development, has been appointed as the inaugural Assistant Vice President for Life and Career Design. He will join the college on April 15.

Dr. Schofield comes to Wheaton from Muhlenberg College where he has served as executive director of career services and provided leadership for a number of college-wide planning initiatives with a liberal arts focus. During his tenure, he led an effort to establish a four-year career development curriculum that has personalized career readiness for students and increased engagement at the college. This was a collaboration with academic affairs and student affairs at Muhlenberg College.

Prior to Muhlenberg, Dr. Schofield held several career services positions at the College of William & Mary from 2015 to 2021. He started as an assistant director responsible for the development of a college-wide externship and internship program, where he worked with employers to create opportunities for students. He was promoted to serve as associate director for graduate career advising and took on leadership responsibilities for advancing diversity and inclusion efforts.

He previously worked as an internship coordinator at Montclair State University and has experience in nonprofit management, having served at several organizations. He also has served as a lecturer at both Muhlenberg and Montclair overseeing field experience courses in family and child studies, and personal and professional development. Dr. Schofield earned a Ph.D. in higher education policy, planning and leadership from the College of William & Mary, and an MA and BA in higher education counseling and family and child studies respectively at Montclair State University.

“Dr. Schofield brings enthusiasm and vision to the Life and Career Design Institute. The students were impressed with his approaches to student engagement and developing the whole student,” said Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Darnell Parker, who chaired the search committee for the position.

Among a strong pool of candidates in this nationwide search, Dr. Schofield stood out for his energy, passion, and experience. Wheaton community members who met with him noted the clarity of his vision for the life and career design institute which he connected to Wheaton’s mission statement, his inclusive and data-driven approach to leadership, and his record of success in collaborating with students, faculty and staff.

“Dr. Schofield’s experiences in and out of the classroom will allow him to build programs that reach students through the curriculum, embedding career and life design in the classroom by partnering with faculty,” said Karen McCormack, interim provost and vice president of academic affairs. “A goal of this institute is to ensure that all Wheaton students benefit from this new initiative. One way to do that is by reaching students in their classes and majors.”

An important aspect of the college’s goals for the new institute involves supporting and collaborating with alums, said Vice President for College Advancement Merritt Crowley. “Dr. Schofield’s record of success in working with alumni, and in directing alumni career programs, will be extremely helpful. Our goal is to grow the involvement of Wheaton alums in helping students with their life and career planning.”

The members of the search committee included Dean Parker; Provost McCormack; Vice President Crowley; Renina Wynn ’24; Guido Saettone ’24; Rachel Pink, director for student activities, involvement and leadership; and Scott Gelber, professor of education. The committee was assisted in this national search by the higher education executive search firm, AGB Search.

Dr. Schofield said he looks forward to working with students, faculty and staff. “What excites me about joining Wheaton College is that it offers a unique combination of a transformative, well-rounded liberal arts education, with an adaptive, entrepreneurial spirit that refuses to stand still,” Dr. Schofield said.

Dr. Schofield’s appointment marks a major milestone in launching the Life and Career Design Institute (LCDI), recommended by the Experiential Learning Task Force in 2022. The plan calls for taking a holistic approach to life and career planning, and connecting experiential learning with students’ academic and cocurricular life. It also envisions engaging the college’s alumni network as well as collaborating with businesses and nonprofit organizations. As part of this effort, Career Services will be located within the LCDI on June 1.

“The goal of establishing the Life and Career Design Institute is to assist students in designing their Wheaton experience, connecting experiential learning with academics, and charting their post-Wheaton lives and careers within alumni networks,” said Wheaton President Michaele Whelan. “Life design provides space and support for learners to explore work and career alongside other important elements of an abundant life, including physical and mental health.”