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Aug. 6, 2010
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Three students, along with Vice President of Human Resources & Organizational Effectiveness Mary Throener, took the success of Northwest's student employment program to an international audience last month during a visit to Birmingham City University in the United Kingdom.
The contingent was invited overseas for a three-day program, July 12-14, to collaborate with representatives from BCU and Copenhagen Business School about the benefits of student engagement and integration into the University tapestry. Student making the trip were Walter Redden, an agriculture education major from Ravenwood, Mo.; Emily Felton, a biology major with a cell/molecular emphasis from Maryville; and Katie Suntken, an international business major from Harlan, Iowa.
The Northwest group toured BCU's eight campuses and interacted with the other students. During the visit, three teams of students from each school explored their own student employment programs to create a tool kit for how organizations can develop their own student employment initiatives.
"It was really incredible to be a part of this experience and be given this opportunity through student employment," said Suntken, who is a Student Ambassador in addition to working in the registrar's office. "It was encouraging to see how much other universities look to Northwest for information and ways to improve - and on such a large scale."
Felton, Redden and Suntken emphasized the strengths and merits of student employment at Northwest, including career development, engagement with staff and faculty, and the convenience of working on campus. On the final day of their visit, the students participated in a question-answer session with the university's Learning and Teaching Committee.
"I said, 'If you have your students in front of you, why are you not employing them, but when they graduate you're expecting other people to employ them?'" said Felton, who works in the provost's office. "The experience for the student offers some big benefits. It's an opportunity for me to work on campus and be involved."
The students also offered examples of the ways Northwest's 1,000-plus student employees are integrated into key areas throughout the campus. Students working in areas where important records are maintained, such as the University wellness center, know they must follow confidentiality rules. If they don't, they risk losing a supervisor's trust and their job.
"Students want to do well for the University," Felton said. "They know if they mess up a student position, they won't get a good recommendation. So there's some incentive."
BCU, which has an enrollment of about 25,000 students, has shown strong interest in Northwest's student employment program. Four representatives visited Northwest in January to observe student workers firsthand, and in coming months BCU hopes to develop a series of collaborative articles based on the discussions.
Throener said visiting the university to showcase Northwest's student employment program was an honor and a privilege.
"Northwest Missouri State University's program continues to be considered a benchmark for student employment internationally, and it was both engaging and rewarding to share our journey over the past 15-plus years as we've made progressive steps along the way in maturing our program," Throener said. "Getting to work with BCU and meeting its leadership benefited Northwest and its students by seeing how an international university is governed and works through proposals for change."
Throener added: "Leaving Birmingham City University resulted not in any closure of relationships, but more enthusiastically, in the hope of future partnership. Our students were stellar, our discussions were rich and our collaboration with BCU will certainly continue."
For more information about Northwest's student employment program, go to: http://www.nwmissouri.edu/hr/student/index.htm.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900
Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468