Enhancing the Value of Student Jobs.

Link to: Earn more, learn more | csmonitor.com

One of the initiatives we’re exploring at William and Mary is a student fellowship program where students will work closely with faculty on technology related projects. Our goal is to create opportunities for students to work closely with faculty in ways that are directly tied to teaching or scholarship. We see this program as providing substantial learning experiences for students, as well as sources of income for them.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, other institutions are seeing the value in helping to change the culture of student jobs to more meaningful work. One of the most aggressive of these has been at Rhodes College.

At the same time, conversations with older alumni revealed that many remembered campus jobs as essential learning experiences. Current students, on the other hand, often felt their talents were being wasted on menial tasks.

Meaningful jobs that require substantial amount of flexibility and learning can be an important factor in making our campuses more engaging for students. It’s worth taking at look at other places where we might be able to stretch students’ horizons by involving them in authentic work of the university.

3 thoughts on “Enhancing the Value of Student Jobs.”

  1. Campus jobs provide a way for students to acquire skills that employers seek by having these college apprentices multi-task, problem solve, and enhance communication, and be a team player.

    In my undergraduate program, everyone in my art history program had to do an internship with with a museum or gallery during the summer. It provided me the hands-on stuff that we talked about in class by actually doing the work of art restoration.

  2. One additional tie-in that hadn’t occured to me until I read your post, Gene: a student fellowship program dovetails very nicely with the college’s increased emphasis upon faculty-student research collaboration and extra-curricular mentorship by people at the university who might not be faculty (coaches, professionals, etc.). This begs a question about the program: why limit these student fellowships exclusively to faculty? There may very well be good reason for that, namely to ensure that these fellowships are firmly academically oriented. On the other hand, if the emphasis is upon student learning, one could imagine that a fellow might get more out of some interesting opportunity with, say, the Reves Center or the Charles Center than they would from being assigned to an instructional faculty member.

  3. Excellent point, Rob, and one that we should definitely put into our future planning. We do need to be careful not to define “academic” too narrowly, even if at some point it makes sense to restrict the types of fellowships we sponsor.

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