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  • Embedding Development in On-Campus Jobs: Make Sure Students, Supervisors Benefit

    April 20, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    Best Practices
    A student and her supervisor discuss on-campus work duties.

    TAGS: best practices, counseling, nace insights

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals

    Through focus groups, the career center at Ryerson University in Toronto found that the student perception of on-campus jobs was that they were a way to make a little bit of money in between classes and studying.

    The team at Ryerson, however, saw these jobs as an opportunity to enhance the career readiness of Ryerson’s students to better prepare them for the professional work force. (Click here for information about NACE’s Career Readiness Competencies.)

    “We have the entire realm on campus of students in professional roles,” explains Caroline Konrad, Ryerson’s career center director. “As university educators, we have to take the opportunity to develop them.”

    In building Ryerson’s Career Checkpoint program—currently being piloted—Konrad and her staff identified 10 key learning outcomes for students to achieve in their on-campus jobs, and organized them into three areas as follows:

    • Core:
      • Communications
      • Teamwork and collaboration
      • Leadership
    • Professional:
      • Digital literacy and technical aptitude
      • Project management
      • Data and analysis
    • Community:
      • Community engagement
      • Personal development and well-being
      • Innovation and enterprise
      • Equity, diversity, and inclusion

    To help on-campus job supervisors in their interactions with and development of student employees, the career center also created the Supervisor’s Toolkit.

    “[The Toolkit] is a compendium of templates, tools, and exercises that provides each supervisor with a roadmap for working one on one with students to hold conversations and set goals,” Konrad explains. “It’s critical to understand that we’re not only investing in the development of our students, but we’re investing in our staff development as well.”

    When it came to embedding student development into on-campus jobs, Konrad says it was critical to secure buy-in across campus by creating dialogue and investment, and to demonstrate an appreciation for staff roles across campus.

    She also recommends to her career services colleagues considering a similar program that they account for students’ different backgrounds in the supervisor training they provide, embed development throughout the recruitment process, and challenge their students with their campus job responsibilities and assignments.

    “Our aim is for career development to be a natural part of the student lifecycle,” Konrad says, “Career Checkpoint underpins this goal by making our on-campus jobs much more rigorous and multifaceted. We can have a tremendous impact on our students; we just have to think big. Students are capable and hungry to take on challenges. Let’s not shy away from challenging them.”

    Caroline Konrad will present “Embedding Student Development Into On-Campus Jobs” at NACE16.

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