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Student Worker Best Practices for Higher ED       

Success with your Student Worker

Student workers within higher education are a great source of labor in maintaining your campus AV systems. It’s not just about getting as many hands in the mix to support faculty. Student workers gain skills they can take with them after they’ve graduated and moved on in their careers. The student earns money while studying and gaining work knowledge.

For higher education institutions, student work is a great way to encourage financial independence. A program that is well-managed benefits both the student and the university. As someone who manages student workers, you need to create a balance between getting things done and not abusing the workers in your care. To that end, Britt Yenser wrote a four-part series on building and maintaining a great student-worker program. AVNation’s EDTech Podcast, Episode 111, gave their take on the various opportunities to train up and care for the workers on their teams.

Setting the Standard

AVNation Student Worker 2
AVNation Student Worker 2

As with a job outside of university life, creating expectations is important. When Higher ED technology managers create documentation it leaves little room for student workers to interpret one standard or another.

Drexel’s Rob Rasberry said, “So it’s important to sort of establish rules, protocol, of what’s expected during your co-op assignment or your employment. What your duties are going to be and how you’re evaluated.”

Without a standard and documentation, there can be no call for evaluation. As student workers move through life, they will encounter countless evaluations from future employers. So, preparing them with evaluations, and the rubric they will be held against, is incredibly valuable.

“So for me, it just gives us that reassurance to say make sure you get the job, everything down. That you know the nooks and crannies or something that you see that something wrong in your policies or anything like that and you can fix it”, says Kameesha Jones from Florida International University.

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Preparing Student Workers Success

Student workers can be seen as a type of internship. Though the position is paid, they are still entry-level positions that give experience they may not have had. Most young people will have not worked in an office or corporate space. These opportunities allow them to see what their next steps will, or should, be like.

EDTech host, Erin Maher-Moran from Johns Hopkins said, “We have to try to set a good example and set them up for success because it’s so easy to just be like, Oh, they’re just students and whatever. But, eventually, they’re going to go on to full-time jobs and they’re going to need to have some of these habits in place before they go out into the real world.”

Those habits include showing up on time, staying off mobile devices when they are to be on a task, and communicating with others. These are skills those who have been in the workplace for years take for granted. But when you first get into the workforce skills like collaborating are a foreign concept.

We have a responsibility to student workers to set them up for success. Both while they are on campus and in their next job. Crafting documentation as to what’s expected is a great step toward that goal.

To listen to the entire episode of EDTech Episode 111, click here.



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