April 28, 2006

CAPS director to leave University for private sector

Liz Michaels, director of Career Advising and Placement Services (CAPS) since 2001, recently announced plans to leave the University. As of September 1, Michaels will rejoin the private sector, giving investment advice as an employee of the Ibbotson business unit at Morningstar, an investment research provider based in Chicago.

Bill Michel, assistant vice president for student life, said a national search is being conducted to fill Michaels’s place. He said he hopes to find candidates by midsummer, and that along with faculty and staff, students will be asked to sit in on the interview process to provide feedback on the candidates.

Michaels, a graduate of the College (A.B. ’88) and the Graduate School of Business, said that she will miss the “rare environment” of the U of C, but that as a Lab School parent, she will not be completely cut off from the school.

“While I have really enjoyed being back at the U of C, I felt it was a good time for me to return to the private sector,” Michaels said.

Michaels began her career in the private sector, starting in Ibbotson Associates after college and then joining Morningstar.

“All things do go full circle,” she said.

After leaving Morningstar, Michaels took time to travel around South Africa. Upon her return to the U.S., she joined Jellyvision, a game manufacturer that created the game “You Don’t Know Jack.”

Michaels left Jellyvision when she was expecting her second daughter.

“I was looking for a different kind of work environment and the CAPS position was open, and so, here I am,” she said.

Michaels’s colleagues credit her with creating the Alumni Board of Governors Externship program, the Diversity on LaSalle Street program, and the Diversity in Law program, which was recently featured on CBS 2 news, along with expanding the Metcalf program and entering the U of C into the Ivy Consortium, which consists of Duke University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the Ivies.

Michaels was also credited with increasing the listings in ChicagoTrak from 2,600 in 2002 to the current 12,000 and increasing the number of on-campus recruiters from 97 in 2002 to this year’s 124.

Meredith Daw, associate director for employer relations at CAPS, also noted this year’s 89 percent retention rate for on-campus recruiters, which is higher than most of the University’s peer institutions, including the Ivies.

Daw added that Michaels was not only dedicated to the students, but also to the staff.

“She’s been so good to talk to me about where I see myself going,” Daw said. “She’s an asset to the professional staff…she’s really made a difference in my life and countless people here at the University.”

Marthe Druska, assistant director of events and marketing at CAPS, said that she and Michaels have prioritized reaching out to students and encouraging them to use CAPS’s resources.

“This past year we have seen strong student attendance at all of our job and internship fairs, which I believe is a result of this targeted marketing,” Druska said. “All in all, Liz has made a lasting impact on CAPS and on the University.”

Michaels’s fellow administrators Klaas Van Der Wey, career resource coordinator, and Mary Cerceo, assistant director for operations and planning, said that Michaels will be missed.

“Liz has truly considered the future careers of students her number one priority,” Cerceo said.

Van Der Wey added, “Just one of the benefits of working with Liz has been how she’s always challenged us to be enterprising, to grow within our jobs—to grow professionally.”