Supervisors of student workers have the opportunity to teach lessons not found in a college classroom. In the best student work programs, supervisors understand what values may be gained through work experience, and they do their best to ensure that students understand and develop the skills and traits that will complement their academic program. Taking responsibility for a part-time job under effective supervision enhances employment options after graduation.              

Work helps prepare a student for modern office culture, and promote constructive employer/employee relationships. Students express ingenuity and creativity, as they are encouraged to make improvements in their job situation. Working students also develop good habits such as consistency, dependability, cooperation, tact and poise, and learn responsibility through meeting work schedules and quality requirements. Students are often able to find jobs that relate to their academic subjects, which further fosters new interests and abilities.

Supervisors, then, have two responsibilities: concern for the development of the student as a employee, and also for the employee as a student. The best supervisors treat their student workers as individuals, and understand that student workers have other interests and responsibilities. They make the work of the student seem interesting, significant, and worthwhile to both supervisor and student.

Implications for Supervision

  • The fact that students’ primary goal is their academics does not excuse irresponsibility, but some flexibility in work schedules may be necessary.
  • Students are most effective when their work is defined in terms of projects or tasks. When a student is given a specific task defined by objectives and turned loose with the resources and guidance to pursue it, he or she will almost always out-produce students in more traditional settings.
  • By understanding the dual role of employer/educator, the supervisor can be instrumental in assisting a student in his or her developmental growth.
  • Students may be an invaluable resource for innovative and creative ideas for change or improvement.


Roles and Responsibilities

  • Expectations

     Make position and employment expectations clear and in writing. 

  • Establish Policies

    Establish internal policies and communicate them to the student employees to ensure that all employees understand the office rules. 

  • Training

    Train students to successfully carry out the duties and responsibilities of their job and supply any other information they may need. (i.e. line of authority, where and how to report absences, breaks, schedule changes, etc.) 

  • Inform

    Keep students informed of any changes in procedure, scheduling, or working conditions.  

  • Coordinate Work Schedule
    Work with student employees to ensure school and work schedules complement each other. If you set the work schedules, allow time before/during/after work for students to eat, arrive at next class on time, etc.
  • Report Hours

    See that each student's work hours are reported accurately and on time. Monitor the work study allocation for each work study student you employ to prevent overpayment.  

  • Assignments

    Be prepared for students' daily arrival and have work tasks ready.  

  • Consistency

    Treat all student employees with the same respect and have the same expectations of everyone.  

  • Discipline

    Correct inappropriate behavior as soon as possible. Explain why the behavior was inappropriate or incorrect and how to remedy the situation. Try to resolve any problems pertaining to job performance or working relations at the time of the incident. 

     Please refer to Progressive Discipline for more information. 

  • Develop Good Relationships

    Develop a good supervisor/student relationship among student employees. This is not a "friendly" or "parental" relationship, but a professional association intended to foster mutual trust, respect, and a genuine interest in meeting the goals of the student, department, and the University.