In response to the University of Missouri Systems President’s request for Strategic Planning, the Student Plus initiative was developed with the collaboration of the Welcome Center (Yolanda Weathersby), Student Operations (Benard Diggs), Human Resources (Tara), and Career Services (Kristen). This program is supervised and housed under the Welcome Center leadership. Research literature informs:
1. When students feel connected – retention and graduation numbers increase
2. Students need resources (aka money)
3. Students have a lot to offer with their innovative ideas
4. A successful university requires an interactive campus community (students, faculty, staff, and administrators).
UMSL StudentPlus is an on campus internship/experiential learning program that allows students to gain experiential learning through university departments, become more engaged with the campus community, and provides enhanced knowledge, skills, and abilities (as well as foster an enhanced focus on degree completion) to our student body in order to better prepare them for the workforce upon graduation while also serving as a resource to attract future students and help UMSL establish itself as a university of choice while instilling a stronger understanding of:
Implementation of the development of leadership skills
Communication Skills Development
Critical thinking skills/Adaptability
Organization/Planning Skill Development
Teamwork and Collaboration skill development
Customer Service skill development
Life skill development
Additionally, through the enhanced student internship/employment experience necessary for each cohort to start the program successfully it is possible to extrapolate the basic tenets to the larger campus community, the program creates a new training schema to how the university approaches “customer service” with all new regular employees participating in the training program as part of their onboarding experience, components of which is available to all student employees including those outside of the program, current managers participating in the already established Management Foundations Institute, and current non-managers having the opportunity to sign up for the program on a quarterly basis working in conjunction with the Welcome Center and Student Operations staffs. The program utilizes previous established, highly recognized customer service training models adapted to the university environment to put an emphasis on student experiences, campus engagement, and supports UMSL in establishing itself as both a university and employer of choice.