Supervision is an essential skill requiring ongoing learning and development for all members of student affairs (and higher education) organizations. The importance of inclusive, effective supervision can be seen in the satisfaction, engagement, and retention rates of employees, who are directly impacted by the quality of supervision they receive. Supervision must be viewed as an investment in the employee experience in supporting today's workplace and sustaining the future of an organization. Student affairs practitioners typically lack academic or formal training in the competency of supervision. It is not often included in graduate preparatory programs, and instead, supervisory skills are learned on the job anecdotally through trial and error.
The division of University Life (student affairs) at George Mason University is committed to the staff experience. This commitment comes from the division's strategic commitment to organizational excellence, as evidenced by its strategic outcome of Organizational Excellence and the goal of “cultivating positive staff experiences and d professional and technological competencies tr evolving student growth, development, and success need.” (University Life Strategic Plan, 2020-2024, http://ulife.gmu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/GMU_Strategic_Plan_v2.pdf ) The first strategic action under this goal is to increase employee supervision satisfaction. The overall strategy goal addresses improving the staff experience of student service practitioners through strategic actions focusing on professional development, competency development, performance evaluation, awards, and recognition, H. With this commitment, the organization is primed to develop programs and initiatives to advance the supervision competency of all staff. At a time when student affairs and higher education professionals are experiencing high levels of reported dissatisfaction, creating opportunities to improve supervision satisfaction provides a valuable return on the employee experience.
In this program, presenters will engage participants in dialogue and activities to consider strategies in which to advance the supervision competency development of today’s student affairs professionals. Presenters will share work emerging at their home institution and share some of what was learned from a recent strategic planning exercise. With the participants, presenters will discuss the existing gaps in supervision practices, including lack of assessment of supervisee developmental needs, lack of supervisor training, need for ongoing development for supervision competency development, lack of in-house professional development for both supervisor and supervisee, etc. Participants, with the presenters, will explore strategies, resources, programs, and initiatives that can be employed short- and long-term at institutions to invest in the supervisory and employee experience.