Engagement After Placement
Congratulations! You’ve completed a student placement. Ideally, supervising a student in your workplace should be a rewarding and inspiring activity. When the student has left there are still a number of things that you could do to bring this placement experience to a close and to enhance your experience as a workplace student supervisor in the future.
Just as it is important that the student receives feedback on their WPL experience, it is also important that you receive feedback on your performance as a workplace student supervisor. This feedback could include positive reinforcement – letting you know all of the things that worked well throughout the placement, but also constructive information about how you could improve in your role as a workplace student supervisor in the future. This feedback could come from the student, your university contact liaison or both. This could involve a formal sit-down with the student or the university contact liaison, an email following the placement, a short survey – anything really. It can be as formal or informal as you like. The important thing is that you ask for feedback about your supervisor role.
Supervisors often report that students do not provide their supervisors with feedback and understandably so. There is always an element of power and authority in the supervisor-student relationship. Student feedback may not be as sincere as you would like it to be. You can ask the university to provide you with feedback and leave it to them how they organise this. Anonymous feedback is a safe way for students especially if the WPL experience had been a little prickly. You might want to spend some time now thinking of what type of feedback you need to feel affirmed or to improve your supervision capabilities. In addition to asking others for feedback about your role performance, it is also important that you critique your own performance. This involves critically reflecting upon your role and effectiveness as a workplace student supervisor.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Is there anything I need in order to better fulfil this role in terms of training, tools or guidance?
- What have I learned that I might be able to pass along to other workplace student supervisors?
- How deliberate, mindful and reflective was I in respect to my role as a workplace student supervisor?
- If I identify any areas of improvement, how might I go about improving my effectiveness as a workplace student supervisor?
While you may have been acting as the primary workplace student supervisor for the student, it is important to recognise that it is not just one person that is responsible for the student while they are on placement, but rather a team of people. You should not feel that you have to go it alone. Succeeding in your role as a workplace student supervisor potentially involves support from your HR representative or department, boss, fellow student supervisors in your workplace and your team members. Following the placement experience, it is important that you sit down with work colleagues also involved in the placement to review how it went. Depending on your workplace, this could be a formal review session or an informal chat over coffee.
Questions to ask work colleagues:
- How well organised was your workplace for the WPL placement?
- Was the information provided by your workplace about the placement adequate?
- Did you feel prepared for your role as a workplace student supervisor?
- Is your workplace happy with the outcomes of the WPL placement?
- Are you happy with the outcomes of the WPL placement?
- How satisfied was your workplace with the support provided by the university?
- How satisfied are you with the support provided by your workplace for your workplace student supervisor role?
- Would your workplace consider hosting another WPL student in the future?
- Would you considering acting as a workplace student supervisor again?
- What additional resources, support or processes from your workplace would be useful in the future to enhance your role as a workplace student supervisor?
- How do you and/or your workplace think that the WPL placement could be improved in the future?
It is important that you feedback any information that arises out of this review session to the university. A successful WPL program involves the university and the workplace working together – the university cannot achieve a quality WPL program without your input!
As a supervisor, you play a very important role in the quality and success of a WPL program. However, as we have discussed throughout this module, WPL is a shared responsibility between industry and the university. As such, it is important that you provide the university with feedback about the WPL program – letting the university know things that worked well, but also things that could be improved in order to enhance future placement experiences, for both the student and yourself/ your workplace. Some universities may already have an evaluation program in place. If not, here is a short WPL industry evaluation form that you may consider using.
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Be sure to complete the multiple choice quiz below to test your knowledge how you can engage with the university before, during and after placement. Supervisors who complete the quiz will be sent a Certificate of Completion. You can use this certificate to evidence your professional development!
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Good workplace learning experiences include:Correct
What is the responsibility of workplace student supervisors?Correct
Why is it important to communicate with students prior to the placement experience beginning?Correct
Why is it important to discuss workplace supervision with managers and colleagues in your workplace?Correct
Why is it important that students are assessed on their workplace learning experience?Correct
When is it most helpful to provide feedback to the student?Correct
When should you step away from feedback conversations with the student?Correct
If you are having problems with the student during placement what should be your first response?Correct
Why is it important that you provide the university with feedback about the WPL program?Correct
Why do students rarely provide their supervisors with feedback?Correct
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