Husker Grow conversations reinforce student learning

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Husker Grow conversations reinforce student learning

Paul Gebers, a student employee at the Outdoor Adventures Center bike shop, works on a chain as part of a basic bike tune-up.

A newly implemented program called Husker Grow is helping student employees connect job experiences with academic learning. During the 2016-17 academic year, 11 departments in Student Affairs piloted the program where student employees engage in structured conversations with a supervisor.

Initial survey results show that students who participated in Husker Grow conversations were nearly five times as likely to strongly agree that their job helped them improve analytical skills; three times as likely to strongly agree that their job helped them improve leadership skills; and twice as likely to strongly agree that their job helped them improve teamwork abilities, communication skills, problem solving skills and interpersonal skills.

More than 91 percent of Husker Grow participants who participated in at least two structured conversations with a supervisor strongly agreed that as a result of their job they were able to learn from and interact respectfully with diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and religions. This compared to 72.3 percent of students who did not participate in the conversations.

Conversations also helped students link their job to an academic major or coursework with nearly 75 percent of students who participated in Husker Grow strongly agreeing they could see a connection, as opposed to only 49.6 percent of students who did not participate in the program.

Additionally, 85 percent of students who participated said they were better prepared for full-time employment as a result of their job in comparison to only 62 percent of student employees who never participated in the conversation.

“Working at the Outdoor Adventures Center has taught me the value of great leadership, relationships with peers, educational skills, and a huge passion for the outdoors," said Paul Gebers, an employee in the Outdoor Adventures Bike Shop. "These skills that I have learned at the OAC will help me as I pursue a career in corporate wellness. Leadership skills are fundamental to being successful anywhere I go, and the ability to teach health and wellness to a workforce effectively will be extremely valuable."

Beyond the skills gained through the employment positions, Husker Grow participants shared positive experiences like making friends, improving English language abilities, finding mentors, establishing academic support and being part of the legacy of Nebraska.

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