As we near the end of Phase One of our Student Employment Experience (SEE), we will host focus groups with student employees to to gather their feedback and general impressions of the past year. We will also host focus groups with student employees who have not been part of Phase One, to see if any noticeable differences exist between the two groups. Below is an overview of that schedule and process.
Who’s Coming to Focus Groups?
For SEE Phase One units, we solicited recommendations of students to invite to focus groups. Based on those recommendations, we invited nearly 70 student employees from 13 different units. Of those, 26 students signed up to attend a focus group, which is nearly 40% participation.
For all other units, we pulled a list of current student employees in the Office of Student Life. From that we generated a random selection of student employees across all other units, and invited just over 900 student employees. Of those, 72 signed up to attend, which is nearly 8%. We planned for 45 attendees, so while this response represents a smaller percentage of attendees based on invitations, it certainly exceeded our initial expectations for response!
Focus Group Agenda
Six focus group meetings will be held between March 30 and April 15 – three with Phase One students and three with students who have not experienced Phase One. We will collect a combination of written and verbal feedback from attendees.
The written feedback will ask for basic demographics (for example, where they work, how long they’ve been employed, key responsibilities of your role), as well as information about learning experiences (for example, training attended, conversations with supervisors).
The verbal feedback will include a set of questions for all attendees to discuss and share. Students will be asked to articulate what they have learned through their student employment role, how they learned those things, and whether they will use those things in other areas of their life (for example, classes or career).
You’ve Got Their Responses, Now What?
The Student Life HR team will compile the information collected from the focus groups, and look for common themes among student responses. This will be a similar process to what was used to compile OSU GROW conversation themes in autumn semester. Focus group results will be shared with Phase One supervisors as well as other stakeholders across Student Life.
Not since the 2010 Student Employee Survey has Student Life reached out to student employees across so many units to gather feedback about their experience. It should be noted however that these two methods – survey and focus groups – will generate different types of information. Within the context of the Student Employment Experience, we are especially excited to hear directly from students about what they are learning in their jobs.
The feedback from focus groups has many potential uses. For example, it will be one measure of the success of Phase One in supporting learning for student employees. It may be useful to use in hiring materials, to share specific workplace outcomes with interested candidates as a recruitment tool. It may also help direct future training efforts, both within units and across Student Life.
For more information, or with questions about the focus group process, please contact Jen Pelletier.