Supervise a Student Employee 

Supervisors are expected to provide all the necessary training for student employees, including job duties, access to essential resources, and payroll processes. A student’s I-9 form and employment eligibility verification must be completed prior to working their first shift. 

Per Regulation 4-1 (PDF), a WSU employee (faculty or staff) must be the direct supervisor and oversee the work of student workers.

The best supervisors understand that student employees have other interests and responsibilities. They make the work of the student seem interesting, significant, and worthwhile to both the supervisor and the student. 

You must keep in mind that student employees are students first and employees second. While it is important to have high standards on the job, it is also important to be flexible to accommodate academic obligations.

A good orientation sets your new employee up for success in their role:

  • Develop a work schedule that suits both the student’s availability and your department’s needs
  • Instruct your employees on their payroll processes such as how to record hours and deadlines for timesheet submission
  • Thoroughly review job duties and expectations. Avoid misunderstandings by making your policies on dress code, telephone etiquette, customer service, acceptable use of any office equipment, personal cells phone use, and visits from friends very clear.
  • Discuss who in the department can help the student with problems or questions and who can sign/approve their timesheet in the absence of their direct supervisor
  • Emphasize the importance of safety in the workplace
  • Stress the importance of confidentiality of records and files, system access, and security procedures
  • Share what will happen they are not performing as expected

You should also take the time to introduce the new employee to the department:

  • Introduce the new employee to everyone in the immediate office or work area
  • Explain to the new employee what the department does and its role at WSU
  • Share how the student’s role will contribute to the work that is done

Take time to train your students in important skills, attitudes, and habits for professional work, and continue to communicate the job standards and expectations to your student employee.

Let your own approach to daily work be an example from which students can learn.

Provide consistent and appropriate feedback to your student employees. Always acknowledge when a student has been doing a good job or going the extra mile.

Be fair. Campus jobs are “real jobs” and supervisors who are too lenient are not doing students any favors. Treat student employees as you would like to be treated in any given situation.

Consider how you can provide learning opportunities for your student employee with new projects or responsibilities.

It’s a good practice to provide regular performance evaluations, as it gives you and your student employee opportunities to discuss any concerns, changes to the role or expectations, and long-term plans.

At the core, performance evaluations focus on performance problems and workable solutions. You can use this sample evaluation form (PDF).

Keep the following in mind when giving a performance evaluation:

  • Hold students accountable: Students usually know when they need criticism. If you fail to react to unacceptable work, you may lose the respect of the student involved as well as that of other workers in the department.
  • Be positive: Start on a positive note and tell the student what you like about their work, then explain the area that needs improvement.
  • Be constructive and specific: Provide actual examples of poor performance and recommendations for future improvement.
  • Maintain privacy: Do not give critical feedback where others can see or hear the conversation.
  • Be sensitive: Take into consideration the student’s differences in abilities and aptitudes. The long-term goal of student evaluation is to help the student grow their skills and perform better at their job.
Monitor & Approve Student Timesheets

Supervisors are responsible for training their student employees on how to complete timesheets. Student employees follow the same payroll schedule (PDF) as full-time staff employees. 

At the end of each pay period, supervisors must ensure that hours submitted on a timesheet accurately reflect the time worked by the student. It is best practice to have student employees enter their time on a daily basis to ensure hours are logged correctly. 

Approve Student Timesheets

If any kind of fraud is suspected, the student should be contacted immediately:

  • “Holding back” hours because a student has exceeded the maximum number of hours in a particular pay period is not permitted. 
  • Inflating the number of hours worked to “use up” work study is a misuse of federal/state work study funds

If a student worked the hours during the time frame being reported, those hours must be submitted at the end of the pay period. If a student has not completed their timesheet, follow up with the student to submit their timesheet. 

Designate a Back-Up Approver 

We strongly encourage supervisors to designate another employee as a “proxy” (back-up) person who can approve timesheets by the deadline in your absence.

It is always the supervisor’s responsibility to review the timesheet for accuracy and report any discrepancies to Student Payroll.

Grant Access to Department Resources

Depending on their role, student employees may require access to various tools or software used in your department. Make sure you reach out to the administrators of these tools to get any new accounts set up.    

Submit a Student Worker Resources Request Form to grant student employees access to a work email account, a WSU shared mailbox, or a WSU shared calendar. 

  • The student employee must be officially hired in the student payroll system before completing this form
  • Requests will be routed to ITS for review and implementation and you will be contacted once your request is completed

Student employees can only access their work email account and any shared mailboxes/calendars while they have an active work authorization in student payroll. If a student remains hired but has a lapse in employment (e.g., over the summer), the student will automatically regain access to those shared resources when they return to work. 

If the student does not return to their position, notify Tech Support to remove that student’s access to your department’s resources. 

Contact Tech Support at with any question about available resources or requests.

Contact Student Payroll
Student Payroll
Email Student Payroll