The Student Employment Office moved from the Career Center in Meliora Hall to the ground floor of Wallis Hall on Monday. According to Associate Dean of Financial Aid and new Director of Student Employment Charles Wilder Puls, this will enable the Financial Aid Office to devote more resources and support to student employment. Although the Student Employment Office has moved, all Career Center resources such as the Goldman Library, Reach funding and career counselors remain in Meliora Hall.
‘At the Financial Aid Office, we have a vested interest in students working,” Puls said. ‘We can devote more of our resources to the office [than the Career Center].”
Six new students have been hired to work in the office. No staff from the Career Center has moved. In addition to Puls, Jon Heininger, senior assistant director for self-help (loans and student employment), and George Swierc, student employment coordinator, are SEO staff. According to Puls, eventually all financial aid staff will undertake additional tasks to improve student employment.
In an e-mail sent out to students last week, Puls explains the administration’s four areas of targeted improvement for student employment. First, UR would like to increase training, development and evaluation opportunities for students, supervisors and the program itself. Secondly, UR hopes to increase student employment recognition by raising the profile of student employees on campus.
Third, UR will expand the Federal Work Study program with regard to community involvement. The program subsidizing funding for students to work is part of the financial aid package. Federal Work Study requires that a certain amount of resources be devoted to community involvement.
‘The SEO can help promote those opportunities,” Puls said, referring to organizations like the Rochester Center for Community Leadership and Brooks Landing projects. According to Puls, there may be an increase in off-campus jobs in the future, but they must comply with Federal Work Study guidelines.
Finally, UR is hoping to use technology to improve students’ access to employment opportunities. According to Puls, one of the first items on the agenda for student employment is updating the Web site software. Currently, the SEO Web site features a pdf file updated on a weekly basis. Puls hopes to collaborate with advisers and deans throughout the College to determine needs. He is looking to perhaps create a shared online portal for students. The portal would allow students to access volunteer, research and community-based opportunities as well as job opportunities.
However, Puls is cautious about carefully researching ideas before implementing changes. Puls and student employment staff will attend the National Student Employment Association’s Student Employment Essentials on Oct. 19 to begin to research ways to make these changes.
‘It’s going to take us a bit to identify where the growth and development should go,” Puls said. ‘What we don’t want to do is anything that will set us back.”
Assistant Dean and Career Center Director Burt Nadler was excited about the prospects of the student employment office moving to the Career Center.
‘Now students and employers will have the full strength of advising, logistical and technological support available through Financial Aid, as well as counseling and other services of our office,” he said in an e-mail message.
He mentioned that the Career Center, which now has the salary of the former SEO employee available, will consider what kind of new staff member can best address the needs of constituents of the Career Center.
Puls is the president of the Northeast Association of Student Employment Administrators.
He formerly worked in student employment at Dartmouth College and University of Massachusetts Boston.
‘I am thrilled to be given this opportunity by the deans, taking this development that has happened and continuing it,” he said.