Student Supervisor of the Year Award nominee, Allison Hursh, shared some of her secrets of success when working with students. As assistant director of Aquatics in Recreational Services, she oversees about 90 students.
How long have you been working in this department?
I've been here full-time for three years. Before that, I was a graduate assistant for two years. So overall, I've been with Recreational Services for 5 years.
What are some of your responsibilities as assistant director of Aquatics?
My primary responsibility is overseeing the lifeguards and swim lesson instructors, which is about 90 employees, and all of the programming that goes along with that.
How are your students connecting what they do on the job to what they do in the classroom and beyond?
An important connection we make with all of our students focuses on the Iowa GROW program -- Guided Reflection on Work. I think it's a really great start to focusing on those transferable skills. They are learning how to be an employee, how to be professional, and how to meet deadlines and be punctual. Ultimately, it's that students learn how to be accountable for themselves. To feel that accountability and understand how it affects their lives is really a big thing.
What do you hope to see your students take away from their work experience?
For me, as a student who turned this into a career, it was all about learning how to be an employee. This includes: how to function in a system, how to report to someone, how to work with your peers, how to resolve conflict, how to problem solve, and how to figure things out if you have a question. I hope that's what my students learn from me.
What is your favorite part about this job?
The most rewarding part of my job is working with students and seeing them grow and develop as they transition through their years here. I really get to know them well, and we try to involve them in projects that they're interested in getting some experience with and really teaching them management skills and job skills. It's very challenging, but it's also really fun.
What philosophy do you live by when working with students?
It's about setting high expectations. Some people would say I set very high expectations, but for me it's about helping students understand what's expected of them, because if they don't know what's expected of them, they can't achieve those kinds of goals. Setting clear-cut expectations means my employees know what they have to accomplish. I give them all the tools they need to succeed. Ultimately, it's about building a system where they feel accountable enough to take that information and use it to their benefit.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Recreational Services is a really great place for students to work and get a good experience that will help them out later in life. It's also a good place to stay healthy and fit. I always give props to those holding down a job while in college. I stress that sometimes they don't give themselves enough credit. We couldn't run these facilities without them and that's an important part of our philosophy and what we stand for.