Hawk Life with Laurie–November 21, 2016

Student Employment: an often overlooked high-impact practice in Higher Education…

Earlier this month we had the pleasure of hosting Denny Olsen and Maggie Towle, from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.  Maggie and Denny presented on the work they’ve done in the learning outcomes for student employment arena.  They shared their successes and were very forthcoming with their learning outcomes.  Following their general presentation, they conducted a more intimate working group session where they shared even more in-depth information on the processes and theories that have been most successful for them since the inception of their program over ten years ago.  We were pleased to hear that they believe UND is poised to implement some of their programming and materials.  Specifically, they complimented our Division of Student Affairs for the work that’s already being done.  I want to commend the Student Affairs Assessment Committee and the staff in the Student Academic Services departments on what they have accomplished thus far as I know that this is a labor of love for them and that the work in on-going.

Student employment learning outcomes is a common thread that continues to weave its way through my work in student affairs and I’m finding it is spilling over into my work with the Strategic Planning process, too! As the Strategic Planning Steering Committee delves deeper into the core values and strategic initiatives for OneUND, there has been considerable interest from around campus and in the community as to broadening our scope from teaching to education.  We are hearing that there is a desire to be more inclusive and intentional about out-of-classroom learning opportunities.  From student organizations to intramurals, there are opportunities to provide our students with learning outcomes such as communication techniques, decision-making skills, leadership skills and professionalism.

The Division of Student Affairs, as I mentioned earlier, has embraced student employment as a priority.  We proudly employ over 750 students in our Division alone!  We have a Student Employee Working Group which consists of a graduate student representative and staff from the Student Employment and Career Services Office, Wellness Center, Dining, Memorial Union, Financial Aid, the Chester Fritz Library and Academic Services Technology.  This working group’s focus is to share best practices from their respective areas and to align the student learning outcomes with the top skills that employers are looking for.  The working group also provides support for those offices employing students.  We are invested in our student employees and are committed to preparing them for their future in the work place and for “real life” in general.  Our Division has developed a Student Learning Outcome Model.  Offices can use this model as a tool to provide ongoing feedback to the students we employ.  This tool, coupled with services available in the Career Services department, such as resume-building and cover letter writing skills, assist our student employees in translating their on-campus work experiences over into their after college environments.  Communication, both verbal and written, has emerged as the single most important objective that we want our student employees to gain from their time working with us.  We have heard from student employees that they appreciate this model as it clearly outlines expectations, helps them set goals and provides them feedback.

I am delighted that we are on the right track as a Division and I’m excited to see where we can incorporate some of the new knowledge we gleaned from our partners at U of M to make our model better.  Investing in our students’ success is a path that ultimately leads us to produce UND students poised for success outside the classroom and that is why we do what we do.

A big “thank you” to Dr. Lisa Burger, Assistant Vice President for Academic Services, and Ilene Odegard, Director of Career Services, for providing input and supporting documentation which has been incorporated into this week’s blog post.

Let’s go Fighting Hawks!

–Laurie

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If you know of a Student Affairs Everyday Superhero staff member you would like to nominate, contact our office at 777-2724 or email Rachel.Osowski.1@UND.edu.