Tips for Supervisors
Supervisors of student employees are, on occasion, a student's first interaction in dealing with a "boss". As such, we supervisors can significantly impact a student's professional development by how we supervise. Here are some tips you might find helpful:
- Establish clear goals – make sure your student employees understand their responsibilities and how their work will benefit your department.
- Set a positive example of professional, polite and ethical behavior – remember you’re modeling behavior of what a professional workplace expects.
- Be an accessible supervisor – an open door policy is always appreciated.
- Show appreciation for exceptional work – students REALLY want feedback. They need to hear when they have fallen short, but they also need to hear when they’ve exceeded expectations. Brag about their good work to your supervisor or a peer.
- Allow for students' input – because our student employees are both providers of services and recipients of our services, they may have some wonderful solutions for an office’s trickiest problems.
- Be a student – our student employees’ fresh ideas on how our offices operate can make our departments even more efficient and customer friendly.
- Be a teacher – our student employees are developing workplace attitudes, habits, and behaviors that they will take with them after college. Look for opportunities to explain the “whys” of your office’s policies and procedures.
- Encourage risk taking and decision-making – provide student employees the chances to apply some of the things they’re learning in classes. Find opportunities in which they can use their critical thinking skills.
- Communicate openly and honestly – model assertive communication so that students feel comfortable dealing with a variety of situations.
- Remember that student employees are students first – it will be important to adjust to their schedules as much as possible; however, help them develop time management skills, if necessary.
Here are some comments about supervisors from students who nominated their supervisors for Supervisor of the Year.
Here is a graph that shows what qualities students appreciate about their supervisors.