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NODA Databank: Student Staff Roles & Responsibilities

Friday, April 15, 2016   (0 Comments)
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Many NODA members’ teams have dedicated student staff and/or volunteers working in the summer or throughout the academic year. Yet there are multiple different ways to structure those student job descriptions and support students who make so much difference on campus. As we looked at the recent postings on NODA listserve, we noticed a couple of recurrent student staff related questions. So we mined NODA Databank for some data to help you compare and benchmark your practices around working with student staff and volunteers. As a reminder, NODA Databank is a collection of statistical information around Orientation, Transition, and Retention programs, staffing, and professional development collected every three to five years from member institutions.

1.     Upon a closer look, Databank survey responses indicated that professionals in the following roles often provided leadership when it came to student staff:

o   Associate Director. Duties: selects and manages student staff

o   Assistant Director. Duties: delivers training for undergraduate Teaching Assistants who work with First-Year seminar courses; supervises student staff; develops academic and leadership courses required for all orientation student staff

o   Program Coordinator. Duties: selects and trains student staff; coordinates student staff to support transition programming

2.     Participants also shared that, on average, they employed undergraduate students in several positions (based on responses from 283 - 291 institutions):

o   14 participating programs (4.8%) employed more than 80 undergraduate student staff during student orientation; 47 programs (16.2%) did not employ any;

o   32 programs (11.3%) employed more than 80 undergraduate student volunteers; 159 programs (56.2%) did not employ any;

o   1 to 10 undergraduate students were employed as staff or volunteers during student orientation overall.

3.     On average, 1.6 graduate student positions were devoted to orientation at participating institutions, as compared to 1.7 part-time and 2.7 full-time staff positions.  Additionally, 161 (62%) participating institutions did not employ graduate students in orientation-focused positions at all.

4.     We identified several roles student staff played during their primary orientation programs:

o   Orientation leaders (261 or 99% of participating institutions)

o   Roles involving administrative tasks or tasks such as setting up or taking down of equipment (166 or 61%)

o   Tour guides (147 or 54%)

o   Course registration assistants (99 or 36%)

o   Other roles: campus escort; parent and family program assistants; student counselors; student orientation trainers and presenters; greeters; peer mentors for incoming students; Welcome Week leaders (12%).

5.     Program assessment. If you are looking for opportunities to enhance knowledge and skills of student leaders on your campus and/or move programs and student leader experiences more in line with departmental learning outcomes, student staff feedback is important. Whether used for annual program revision or shared with the university community, orientation session presenters, and key service units to suggest areas of program improvement, student staff and volunteer opinions and feedback can play an important role in continuous assessment.

As a reminder, 2014 NODA Databank survey includes sections on general information and types of programs, budget information, staffing, human resources, payroll, programming, extended and online orientations, parent and family programming, and more. You can access the latest Databank survey results in the Peer Resources via the NODA Membership Portal (both in Word format and as a raw dataset in Excel). An online form is available for requesting specific information. Don't hesitate to be in touch with us if you have questions.

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