The University of South Carolina Career Center is committed to advancing the professional development of all students. Amy Gardner, manager of student employment, shares her insight about a new initiative to help staff recruit student employees and to make the on-campus job experience more meaningful for students.
What work is happening in the Career Center related to student employment?
The manager of student employment role is relatively new. While the university doesn’t have a formal student employment office, I work in conjunction with campus partners who are committed to the service of students. I consult with human resources, financial aid, training and development, and more. We’re building a library of foundational resources, training and education for departments so they may better serve their student employees.
How are you getting started?
We're completing vigorous benchmarking and data collection to understand the current experience of our professional staff, hiring managers and student employees. When developing a new initiative, it’s imperative to have a pulse of current issues on campus, otherwise, you’ll miss the mark out of assumption rather than feedback provided by the population you’re serving. We have been successful in creating guides for on-campus employers and provided individual consultations with teams to aid them for success. This is only a glimpse of what we’ve started, as there is so much more to come!
What is your advice to other departments regarding student employment?
Look at your current processes. What's working, what's not, where are gaps or snags, how can things be improved, what is going well? At the Career Center, we serve all departments at UofSC. Every student position is different, so let’s chat about how a job description can be enhanced, how to have coaching conversations with students, meaningful recruitment, etc. Utilize the training with the Office of Organizational and Professional Development and Center for Teaching Excellence; their training opportunities are designed to equip you with the skills needed for holistic student supervision. Know your students and in turn know the resources available for them. We’d recommend joining Handshake if you haven’t already done so. It’s an easy way to streamline your recruitment process and attract a wide pool of student talent. It also provides and equitable opportunity for our students if all on-campus roles are within Handshake.
How is student employment related to equity?
Our team, not just the Career Center, but our Division of Student Affairs and Academic Support is extremely intentional with DEI efforts. Part of the DEI focus is within employment: how accessible and inclusive are our job descriptions, how can students utilize our materials, how do we help build social capital? Students are multifaceted, and so is employment. If it isn’t intentional and enjoyable, our students will go elsewhere. There is so much that is involved surrounding student employment, and we hope to provide best practices for departments, so students have a high-impact experience.