Onboarding Student Employees

by Clare Creighton

September is a common time for onboarding student employees, and across the Academic Success Center and Writing Center, we brought on 37 new student employees this fall. In the next few months, we’ll be reflecting on the training we delivered, assessing the experience for student staff, and identifying any changes for the next round. We asked some of our new employees what they appreciated in their onboarding experience, and this is what they shared with us:

  1. It was emphasized to us that the best way to learn is by doing. I was relieved to know I don’t have to be any sort of expert before starting my job!
  2. I have really enjoyed that you guys have created a safe space for us to learn how to do something new without judgement. I feel like I can learn better and quicker in an environment that doesn’t punish me for making a mistake, especially when I’m learning something new.
  3. The time we spent to get to know the other student staff members—community and support for each other was and continues to be part of the ASC’s core values!
  4. I loved the emphasis on validation and praise, and how our jobs not only revolve around the writing process, but also around instilling confidence in the writer and their abilities.
  5. I appreciated that I was able to interact and train with returning [peer leaders] since it allowed me to start getting to know everyone and not feel isolated on my first day of leading tables.
  6. I liked that our training incorporated both individual work from canvas and group sessions over zoom and in person. This gave me the chance to get comfortable with the material on my own, and then help build a community with my coworkers.
  7. The room to make mistakes I had while onboarding for coaching contributes to the majority of the skills I use in coaching today!
  8. I have really appreciated the support and encouragement along the way. Putting in the effort to at least know all our names and check in every now and then when we’re in between tables is a great way to make us feel like an actual person, not just an employee!
  9. The training for my position was done in a way that allowed me to connect with, practice, and discuss with other students as we all learned from each other and together.
  10. I appreciated how training established early on that everyone is a writer, and that the most important thing a consultant can do is encourage. I found the focus on empowerment to be a very refreshing and reassuring framework.

Do you onboard student staff in your role? We enjoy conversation about training and supporting student employees and would love to exchange ideas with you. We’re also eager to make folks aware of the open source online training modules “Introduction to Student-Centered Peer Education” that we use in training. Email Clare Creighton clare.creighton@oregonstate.edu) to start a conversation.

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