One of the great benefits of hiring a student is that they often
bring a fresh new perspective to the organization and/or department.
That being said, the SE+ experience is still a learning opportunity,
and effective supervision is essential to make sure the experience is
successful for both the student and organization.
Communication is critical when it comes to supervising. This helps to
ensure expectations are clearly defined and both the student and
supervisor are on the same page. It is recommended that weekly
meetings are established where the student and supervisor can touch
base. In addition, it’s helpful for the student to have another person
they can go to with questions in case their direct supervisor is unavailable.
Being a Mentor
Providing a solid supervisor is important, but providing a mentor can
take the SE+ experience from good to great! A mentoring relationship
is similar to that of a supervisor’s relationship, however the mentor
helps the student draw the connection between what they are doing in
the workplace to what they have learned in the classroom through
reflection. Having the student complete a self evaluation halfway
through the experience, and again at the conclusion of the experience
is a great way to do this. In addition, a mentor may help the student
with additional professional development opportunities, as well as
encouraging them to step outside of their comfort zone.
While the projects and work provided through an SE+ experience may
inherently be experiential in nature, it is also helpful to check in
with your student and help them draw connections between their work
and future career goals. Some sample questions to ask include:
- How is your job fitting in with your academics?
- What are you learning here that is helping you in school?
- What are you learning in class that you can apply here at work?
- Can you give me a couple of examples of things you have learned
here that you think you will use in your chosen profession?
- What skills would you like to develop?
- What is your greatest accomplishment in this position this semester?
Students are like sponges and love to hear how they are doing. Don’t
be afraid to provide constant constructive feedback throughout the
course of the experience. Using the BEAR method can be a great way to
provide ongoing feedback.
- B – behavior – describe the specific behavior that needs to be adjusted.
- E – effects of the behavior – describe how the action affected the
client, the team, the project, etc.
- A – alternative behaviors that you would like to see instead.
- R – result – what the result of the alternative behavior would be.
In addition, it can be helpful for the student and supervisor to
discuss the student’s learning objectives at the half-way point of the
experience to make sure the student is on track and meeting the
supervisor’s expectations. Conducting an evaluation at the conclusion
of the experience is a great way to end and it also helps the student
identify both their strengths and areas for improvement. Evaluations
will automatically be sent at the end of the academic year and it is
recommended to review with your student.
Handling difficult situations
While most experiences go very well for the student and organization,
it is possible to find it necessary to part ways with a student. Like
any other employee within the organization, a student should not be
given special treatment when it comes to disciplinary action. It is
important to discuss and document the issue with the student as soon
as the issue arises. Please don’t hesitate to contact the Student
Employment Office should you encounter this type of situation.