Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Letter to the editor: Recognizing the value of USM student employees

Posted on April 09, 2018 in Perspectives
By USM Free Press

Courtesy of Residential Life

By: Margaret Brownlee, USM Student Employment Specialist

 

As we enter into our celebration of Student Employee Appreciation Week, a national event that we are now celebrating here at USM, we would like to draw attention to our roughly 1,400 student employees. Students who hold on-campus jobs while juggling school, work, clubs and other activities. Our students are rock stars! Student employees at USM give invaluable service to nearly every campus department and we are pleased to shine a light on them. USM students hold positions such as student tutors, lab assistants, journalists, photographers, tour guides and student associates.

But what does this mean for USM? For students, it means developing time management skills, improving communication skills and other career readiness skills as well as building relationships on-campus. For faculty and staff, it means improving retention and developing deeper connections with our students. Regardless of your position at USM, working on-campus means establishing strong connections.

According to the online publication, Inside Higher Ed, “The Impact of Student Employment” is more than just paying college bills and holding a job on-campus, student employment positively impacts students’ academic performance for the better.” At USM, the Student Employment Specialist conducted a survey of all work-study students during the fall of 2017 and found overwhelmingly positive results from students who are developing projects related to their majors. Seventy-eight percent of students identified that their work-study job helped them develop better time management skills and 85 percent of students identified that their work-study job helped them work with individuals from different backgrounds. Some offices were mentioned in the survey on several occasions such as EcoReps, Learning Commons, Ci2Lab and Athletics. Students in these departments are working independently on projects focused on sustainability, technology, creativity and innovation. For the most part, students at USM are pleased with their on-campus jobs, which is a good thing for our university.

But faculty and staff can do more! Improved trainings on Blackboard for student employees and supervisors make information accessible literally on demand. The modules have resources for students, faculty and staff, including  several online resources such as the guide to hiring student employees, time entry and approval as well as top practices that are used at other colleges and universities related to student employment.

Overall, USM Student Employment is a benefit for everyone. Students obtain workforce ready skills needed for the twenty-first century, while faculty and staff obtain students who are smart, dedicated and ready to learn. But before you hire a student, please make sure to evaluate your department needs, gather information about USM Student Employment, participate in the Blackboard or UMS Academy trainings and ask around. Research what student jobs already exist, ask people who have hired student workers and learn from them. Lastly, think about how the job you propose impacts the overall student experience so that we can make student jobs more meaningful.

To find student jobs at USM, go to the USM Career Connections website or visit the USM Career and Employment Hub, located in 140 Luther Bonney. You can also make an appointment with a career advisor by calling 207-228-8091 or send an email to usmcareers@maine.edu.

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