Creating the Competitive Edge: Making Student Learning Experiences Valuable for the Job Market

As a student supervisor of a team of six at Kennedy Library, Conny Liegl (TITLE) is challenged not just with providing services to clients and stakeholders, but also carry a moral responsibility for her employed students. Students are essential to her daily work, and indispensable for many large-scale, high-visibility projects.

It is important to identify individual students’ needs and goals, as well to recognize current stressors and worries. It is essential to provide student assistants with valuable experiences that directly apply to their interests and their future job tasks. To mentor effectively also means to collaborate broadly with colleagues from different disciplines and other colleges in hands-on partnerships. Class assignments, senior projects, and staff collaborations provide opportunities for students to experiment, explore, and broaden their skill sets. To ensure the library project demands are in alignment with students’ future job requirements, and to support each student individually, regular check-ins are mandatory.

Conny’s entire student team meets regularly once a week over lunch, and assigns upcoming projects, reviews tasks and developments and invites constructive feedback for designs and approaches. We also discuss future dreams, possible career options, and potential areas of improvement. Students’ performance is evaluated on a regular basis.

Her ten rules for an effective student-supervisor relationship are:

  1. Give pointers and directions, not orders.
  2. Teach only what you’re good at.
  3. Take students seriously.
  4. Talk and sketch together.
  5. Listen.
  6. Watch.
  7. Learn.
  8. Experiment.
  9. Keep problems away.
  10. Have fun!

Conny’s slides are here.