By Julia Vergara | Staff Writer
Baylor’s Office of Student Employment is in the process of changing its entire structure with the purpose of benefiting students and the university.
A year ago, according to Director of Student Employment and Career Development Julie Veselka, Baylor decided to create a new, centralized office for student employment in Career and Professional Development (CPD). The transition to being housed in CPD was made because the university wants a student development focus implemented in all work-study positions in Student Employment.
“Right now, it’s just a way to help with loans, help get finances and money,” Veselka said. “The real vision is to take that one step further and to prepare students for real-world experiences.”
There are many misconceptions—even with students and with supervisors—for what it means to be a student employee, Veselka said. Especially with the term work-study, individuals tend to think students are hired to sit in an office and study.
“That’s benefitting the student academically, but it’s not benefitting them for after graduation,” Veselka said.
With the new office, Veselka hopes to redefine Student Employment at Baylor.
“Our vision is to get real experience while they’re here,” Veselka said. “Baylor has such a vast difference of job opportunities on campus that if a student is interested in that area, let’s get them plugged in there.”
The Baylor University Press already has a student development focus in their student employee structure and Veselka said she hopes to make that a university-wide focus.
Baylor University Press Director Dr. Carey Newman said their student employees work on real-life assignments. The students get the opportunity work in a professional setting in positions such as assistant editor, events manager, finance assistant, marketing and publicity assistant, operations assistant and productions specialist.
“They’re not firing blanks,” Newman said. “They’re firing real-life ammo.”
Houston graduate student Steffi Hoffman works as the events manager and said it is astonishing how many tasks she does for the Baylor University Press that can be applied elsewhere.
“Throughout my time here so far, I’ve learned a lot of skills—interacting and various programs—that are very much going to be helpful and are very necessary for the workplace,” Hoffman said.
Brentwood, TN senior Kingsley East said her position as editorial assistant allows her to shadow Newman with all of his acquisitions.
Through this position, in a couple of years, East will wind up actually being able to do the work of an editor, Newman said.
“You’re getting tons of opportunities that you can’t get in a classroom,” East said. “It’d be great if people in other disciplines have that opportunity.”
Veselka said transitioning to this student employment structure university-wide will not only be beneficial to students’ success after graduation but also be beneficial to Baylor’s participating departments.
Coming from a human resources background, Veselka said she has seen a lot of departments that do not have the funding and resources to fill in with some of the work needs they have.
If a department is not able to hire a new staff member because of a lack of funding or resources, another option is to use students. Students can do some of the work that an entry-level staff member could do, Veselka said.
The Baylor University Press already uses student employees to fill some of their work needs. While a press of their size normally has 12 to 15 full-time employees, they only have five. According to Newman, the student employees are able to do the work of anywhere from five to seven full-time employees.
“He has just a handful of full-time staff,” Veselka said. “He’s not only helping students but also not costing the university more overhead in staff.”
In addition to the new student development focus, Veselka said Student Employment will also be changing the hiring process. Currently, students have to go to the student employment webpage in order to access job listings and contact departments individually to discuss hiring.
However, they are now in the process of implementing new software to make the process easier for students.
The new software will act like any other company’s applicant management system except this one is customized toward students, Veselka said. Students will be able to go in and apply and supervisors will be able to go in and look at the list of applicants just like in a real, professional job.
The new Student Employment office will also be serving as a “one-stop-shop” for students and supervisors, Veselka said. Before the new centralized office, students and supervisors had to go to several different departments regarding payment and positions.
“They’ll only have to come to one place,” Veselka said. “They don’t have to go to financial aid, they don’t have to go to payroll, they don’t have to go to HR just to get a job. They only have to go to one place and then we’ll work behind the scenes with those partners.”
Veselka said that as of right now, Student Employment is still working out the details for all of these changes. However, students can expect to see jobs posted in the new system by Fall 2018.