GROWTH: Student Talent Development

The Division of University Life (UL) at George Mason University is committed to providing student employees with the opportunity to gain valuable skills and co-curricular experiences that will enhance their personal development, professional growth, and academic success.

What is GROWTH?

GROWTH: Student Talent Development is a framework for enhancing students' on-campus employment through developing and evaluating learning outcomes that contribute to post-graduate success. All UL units hiring student employees categorized as Student Wage or Federal Work-Study are required to participate. Current participating units include:

Disability Services; Diversity, Inclusion and Multicultural Education; Early Identification Program; International Programs and Services; Leadership Education and Development; Learning Services; Mason Autism Support Initiative; Mason Recreation; New Student and Family Programs; Off-Campus Student Services; Student Centers; Student Involvement; Student Media; Student Success Initiatives; Student Support and Advocacy Center; University Career Services; University Life Central; University Life at Science and Technology Campus; Women and Gender Studies;

Four UL groups are responsible for GROWTH program administration:

Administrative Team (4); Unit Points of Contact (19); Supervisors (80+); Student Employees (500+);

The GROWTH Working Group, made up of staff from the division of University Life (see below), support the administrative requirements of the program, provide necessary training for the Points of Contact and Supervisors, and report on evaluation data related to the UL Strategic Plan and Learning Outcomes.

  • Kristin Leonato, University Career Services (Chair)
  • David Corwin, Women and Gender Studies
  • Dennis Kisielewski, Recreation
  • Kelly Reid, Student Centers
  • Phil Rippa, LEAD
  • Melissa Taylor, UL Marketing and Communications
  • Saskia Campbell, University Career Services (Executive Champion)

Each unit appoints a GROWTH Point of Contact to act as an intermediary between the unit’s Supervisors and the GROWTH Working Group, communicating issues such as expectations, deadlines and troubleshooting.

All UL supervisors of Student Wage and Federal Work-Study employees are required to participate in GROWTH with their supervisees. Supervisors of other types of student employees (e.g. graduate assistants) are strongly encouraged to participate and receive the same support from their Unit Point of Contact and the GROWTH Working Group.

Supervisors conduct one-on-one guided conversations with their Student Employees a minimum of three times during the work cycle (August-May academic year for most units):

  1. To discuss goals for the first half of the work cycle (Fall semester for most units).
  2. To discuss the mid-work cycle evaluations (Conducted in December for most units)
  3. To discuss the end-of-work cycle evaluations (Conducted in May for most units)
The Division of University Life (UL) at George Mason University is committed to providing student employees with the opportunity to gain valuable skills and co-curricular experiences that will enhance their personal development, professional growth, and academic success. UL's GROWTH: Student Talent Development program was developed by the Office of UL Assessment and University Career Services to:
  • Support the divisional goal of engaging students in high-impact co-curricular learning experiences
  • More intentionally structure student employment experiences to support intended learning objectives, many of which are connected to skills valuable to future employment
  • Help student employees clarify expectations, set goals, and make connections between learning occurring in the classroom and through on-campus employment
  • Provide student employees and supervisors with the opportunity to discuss performance achievements and address areas that need improvement
  • Develop student employees’ awareness and articulation of their job-related skills, facilitating communication about their job readiness to prospective employers
  • Formally assess development and achievement of student employee learning outcomes

The foundation of the GROWTH program is made up of five core competencies, which are rooted in NACE Career Readiness Standards and CAS Student Learning and Development Outcome Dimensions:

CommunicationSelf-AwarenessWork EthicProblem-SolvingWorking with Others
1. Communication2. Self-Awareness3. Work Ethic4. Problem-Solving5. Working with Others

From these core competencies, ten student learning outcomes were identified and written into rubric form (see PDF below). At the end of the fall and spring semesters, the supervisor and the student employee each complete a GROWTH rubric (“Supervisor Evaluation” and “Self-Evaluation” respectively), enabling direct and indirect assessments of learning outcomes achievement.

Rubric

The GROWTH Timeline provides a list of milestones occurring over the course of an annual performance cycle. Associated with each milestone are expected actions, deliverables, responsible parties, recommended dates, and follow-up tasks. The length and start/end dates of an annual performance cycle may vary by unit or employee role. Since most unit and role cycles follow Mason's 9-month academic year (August to May), this is reflected in the timeline below. Units with other cycles should consult with the GROWTH Working Group about their custom milestone dates.