We interviewed and ran interactive activities with Student Life Professionals to determine how the university and professional networks can best support them, so they can support students. From these events, we identified collaboration, communication, and meaningful referral systems as key factors in staff success.
Our work with Student Life Professionals began in 2018.
How can we better support student life staff in their jobs and careers? - Fall-Winter 2018-19
Based on insights from 2019, this project included a series of activities and small-group discussions with student-facing staff. Key themes from the activities included:
- The importance of personal networks in navigating the University;
- A need for better support in working across department;
- The desire for professional development activities that are applicable and accessible
Through these themes we offer insights and takeaways that can support Student Life Professionals in the U of T community.
How do student life staff navigate the university and make connections? - Summer 2018
Our findings highlighted that regardless of departmental affiliation and seniority, staff highlighted the importance of transmitting and preserving institutional knowledge. Moreover, interviews with student life professionals revealed a need for stronger personal connections, both horizontally (between departments) and vertically (between senior and junior staff). The SLP Network is uniquely positioned to fulfill these needs.
Findings were divided into three themes:
- Guidance and support
- Community and space
- Structural barriers
For each theme, we provide some insights and supporting quotations from the interviews. We conclude with a brief discussion of the project limitations and recommendations for next steps.