In 2015, the Student Managers Initiative Committee, comprised of student managers from various departments at UC Riverside, identified a need on campus for more training, support, and use of best practices for student supervisors.
The committee’s findings inspired Vice Chancellor for Business and Administrative Services Ron Coley to approve and fund the committee’s desire to create a Student Supervisors Conference. The conference, titled Operational Excellence: Supervising Students Successfully, took place at UCR on January 4, 2018.
Several members of the UCR Library staff team have served on this committee over the past few years, including Public Services Assistant Zayda Delgado, Acquisitions Assistant Christy Brown-Anderson, Access Services Desk Coordinators Elisha Hankins and Leslie Settle, and Interim Director of Organizational Design and Human Resources Wendy Williams-Clark.
“The existence of this committee demonstrates the campus commitment to the experience of our students, not only in academics, but their overall experience,” Delgado said. “There are dedicated managers on this campus committed to making sure that our student employees are getting the very best out of their years here in Riverside.”
At the conference Settle and Hankins led an interactive workshop, Be the Difference: Building Emerging Leaders through Mentorship, which highlighted how to engage and cultivate leadership qualities in student employees through what's known as servant leadership, and the importance of mentoring relationships with student employees.
As part of their workshop, former library student employee Lacey Grawe gave personal testimony. Grawe is now in a career staff position as the Orbach Library Assistant Night Supervisor.
“People were so interested in our presentation the room was filled more than 15 minutes prior to start time,” said Settle. “Our presentation was so packed that people had to leave. Some sat on floor and stood along the walls.” Out of 150 total conference attendees, 65 people attended Settle’s and Hankins’ session.
According to Settle, the committee's scope of work evolved beyond simply discussing how managers supervise, to writing a 400-page proposal about how to make student employment on campus consistent and developing a new campus Student Employee Center. The proposal is currently under review by the UCR Cabinet. “The conference is a very minute portion of the bigger picture we are working on,” she explained. “Student employees are the future of UCR and will carry the brand. I want to ensure that the brand they carry is representative of the great campus I belong to.”
“Leslie and I are passionate about finding the best in individuals and calling them to live a life of excellence and purpose, whether they are our staff or student employees,” Hankins commented. “Our UCR students are emerging leaders and agents of change in various fields. We are today’s leaders investing in and nurturing tomorrow’s leaders.”