2023 Conference Management & Professional Development

Creating Tomorrow’s Developers by Training Them as Student Content Editors Today (MTP5)

The web team from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga shares a playbook for hiring, training, mentoring and more.

Your team has too little time, too few staff, and too many projects to complete. But by using your student population as a built-in workforce pool, you not only tackle those “terrible toos” – you can move forward your institutional mission of helping students develop into the workforce of tomorrow outside (or perhaps inside) the university environment.

Susan Lazenby, director of web development, and Bridget Hornsby, web applications developer, both at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, shared their playbook for creating a win-win solution for both your students and your team – everything from hiring to training to mentoring and more.

Here are their tips from Creating Tomorrow’s Developers by Training Them as Student Content Editors Today at the HighEdWeb 2023 Annual Conference.


Hiring becomes part of your student development plan as you give students a real-world hiring experience. This includes requiring a resume and cover letter. You can even make the hiring process part of your team training by including one of your senior student workers in the hiring process.


Training is key since you are looking for attitude and aptitude more than actual initial skills. Consider alternatives to help ease the training cost for full-time staff by being deliberate with your onboarding process and development training. That can also mean looking for extra opportunities like local conferences or user groups to attend with full-time team members.


A lot like training, mentoring means connecting student employees with full-time team members, including leadership. It also means helping them learn from other students. Great takeaways included taking students to meetings with clients and helping them learn to take notes and follow-up with clients, even in difficult situations.

And More

Building the professional credibility of your student employees across stakeholder groups (including faculty and administration), helping them build their professional portfolio, and gaining understanding and experience with interviewing, hiring, email etiquette, and accountability are all things you can offer your student employees. Together you can turn “student jobs” into career builders and your “terrible toos” into triumphs!

Certainly a “golden nugget” session for this blogger! And a must review for when I return to the office! If you missed it, be sure to watch the recording when it becomes available.

Link Journal has covered the HighEdWeb Annual Conference since 2011. Explore our archives for articles about previous conference sessions.

Julie Duersch is the manager and CMO (chief meeting officer) for the Utah State University IT Web Team. As the ranking extrovert on the team, she enjoys the benefit of being the one to interact personally with our many internal and external colleagues to understand their needs, forge partnerships, and work together to elevate the USU web presence.

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