Student employment to be reconstructed

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Committee formed to promote on-campus jobs

UW-Whitewater Provost Beverly Kopper attended an undergraduate research conference a few years ago. At the conference, a student presented thorough and interesting research. When Kopper asked the student what she planned to do with her research, the student said nothing because she has to work off campus and does not have the time to devote to her research.

Around the same time Kopper spoke to the student, she was attending budget meetings. In these meetings, she found out that there was money designated for student employment that was not being used.

These events led Kopper to create the Student Employment Advisory Committee with the specific goal to have more students employed on campus. She made sure the unused money did not

Kopper

get lost and the money is being used to create more jobs on campus.

“The reason I formed this committee is because we needed to do a better job of making it easier for students to get jobs and have one, central place for information,” Kopper said.

One of the main goals of the committee is to revamp Hawk Jobs in order to have all of the information regarding on-campus jobs in one place. Ron Buchholz, chair of the committee, said another goal of the committee is to benefit students’ education and their wallets.

“We think student employment can be a really high impact educational practice,” Buchholz said. “Generally you don’t go to a lecture and have your life changed. Student employment may not change your life, but I think it can have a more significant impact because of the depth you are involved in.”

Buchholz is a director with Career & Leadership Development. The department took over administrative operations of student employment in order to make it a more centralized program since it operates Hawk Jobs.

Buchholz said because the Financial Aid Office used to control student employment, it fueled the myth that most jobs on campus are reserved for students with work study.

However, there are about 2,500 on-campus jobs, and only about 500 of them are reserved for work study students. In addition, Chartwells, a private company, provides an extra 300 jobs.

One of the reasons Buchholz said students cannot find jobs on campus is that many departments hire students between April and June for the following school year.

There are some departments that wait until the start of the school year in order to hire freshman. Hawk Jobs will help clarify when positions hire and which positions do not require work study.

“It’s really imperative that we do a good job with this,” Buchholz said. “It’s really about transparency, fairness and awareness for people to know they can be hired on campus if they do not have work study.”

Buchholz would like Hawk Jobs to be a “one-stop shop” for all student employment entities that is functional in time for the summer 2013 Plan-It Purple sessions. He said the advisory committee would like to plan training sessions for supervisors over the next few semesters.

Kopper said it has been harder to get the word out about the changes to student employment than she expected. One of the reasons was that some faculty and staff were hesitant to hire students to help with research or work in labs due to budget issues.

Another reason Kopper said she wanted to improve student employment perceptions and opportunities is to get students to complete their education at UW-Whitewater.

“There is a national debate about how hiring students to work on campus is a very high-impact practice,” Kopper said. “It supports retention and graduation because essentially, the more students are involved on campus, the more likely they are to stay.”

Another goal with student employment is to get students to stay in Whitewater on weekends and not have to go home to work. Kopper said she would like students to feel like Whitewater is their home for now, and not just a place where they go to school.

“A misperception is that there aren’t any job opportunities and students have to go home to work, and we’re really working hard to make sure that those opportunities are here,” Kopper said.

Buchholz said he is very passionate about doing a good job improving perceptions about student employment and improving Hawk Jobs.

“I think that student employment can be a really great experience for students and can be very learning-orientated,” Buchholz said. “. It’s really about transparency, fairness and awareness for people to know they can be hired on campus if they do not have work study.”