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The Student Employment Initiative Project

March 12, 2012

This Thursday, Shared Governance Committee was given a presentation from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration.  The Office has a new project titled the “Student Employment Initiative”.

The purpose of this presentation was to update Shared Governance Committee on the progress of the Initiative since it was implemented in Fall 2010.

For those who are not familiar with the Student Employment Initiative, its purpose is to “evaluate and increase the role student employment within VCA units can play” in regards to achievement and student learning.  Their stated goals are to create a formal assessment of the learning students receive during employment on campus, to make the experiences at these jobs into “high impact practices”, and to engage student supervisors more.

In year one of this Initiative, the Office sent out a pre-employment assessment to student employees asking various questions such as why they chose to work on campus, what students believed their level of competence in their jobs were, the main motivation to have a job, satisfaction with the campus jobs, and what things the students did not know how to do.  The key findings were that students took jobs mostly to pay bills and chose campus work because it was flexible and close to home.  Students also had a high satisfaction with their jobs and believed overall that they had high competency in their jobs.  However the findings did show that there were gaps where students had little competency on certain topics like crisis situations and effective communication with coworkers.

Year two then focused mostly on finding ways to increase competency in those areas of weakness.  The VCA units on campus started implementing targeted intervention to improve competency.  This occurred in the form of training videos provided to University Housing student employees that focused on managing crisis situations, resolving conflict, communicating, and working with difficult people.  These videos have already begun being shown to student employees and after all of University Housing has finished using them, the students will be given a post-employment evaluation asking about what they believed they learned in this year of work.  The ultimate goal of these training videos will be for the Initiative to see that students show that they now feel comfortable with the “low competency” areas identified earlier.

Other findings in year two were that student workers and student supervisors seemed to be in sync regarding what training they find important, which is good for the Initiative to see because it makes training all the easier to target in the future.  They also noticed that student supervisors usually believed their student employees are less competent then they labeled themselves as, but did think that the student employees excelled with technology.  This showed the Initiative that more communication and collaboration between supervisors and student employees needs to happen to expedite competency.  Also the Initiative noticed that there are complex issues at stake for student employees regarding balancing their various responsibilities and the Initiative now knows to take that into consideration moving forward.

Overall the Initiative has seen numerous opportunities in their findings for more training.  They hope that their pilot training videos will be successful moving forward, and when they do the Initiative will be looking for students to join their workgroup and contribute to the formation of future plans.

Becky Brauer
Press Liaison-Shared Governance Committee

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