University of Wisconsin–Madison

Purpose and Vision

  • To advocate for student employment as an educational experience
  • To enhance student learning in the workplace by providing opportunities for reflection and professional development
  • To support and engage supervisors of student-employees in their role as mentors and teachers of students

What is WiGROW?

WiGROW is an engagement initiative designed to support the learning of student-employees. Supervisors and student-employees have intentional, reflective conversations with one another, providing students an opportunity to consider connections between their on-campus employment, career goals, and college experience.

WiGROW conversations are sensitive to employment context and individual student, varying in setting and style. Some conversations occur one-to-one after stepping aside from daily operations, while others take place as the student and supervisor continuing to work on tasks. Other conversations are facilitated at dedicated times in small groups. All WiGROW interactions are neutral and non-evaluative, creating a space for students to reflect on their learning in the workplace as it relates to their college experience and goals for their career.

WiGROW conversations lead to continued learning through both organic reflection-in-action and optional WiGROW workshops, which in turn allow students to continue recognizing and developing transferable skills.

In addition to the student-centered WiGROW workshops, semi-annual trainings are offered for supervisors. These trainings are designed to empower and equip supervisors for their role as teachers and mentors of students.

WiGROW logo

An initiative of the
Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration and the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management


All students should have access to high-impact practices that enhance learning and development.

High-impact practices engage students in educational experiences outside of the classroom, and in doing so, support student development (NSSE, 2018), Departments implementing WiGROW support students’ equal access to high-impact practices by recognizing student-employees as active and engaged learners deserving of mentorship and time to reflect, and by supporting supervisors of student-employees in their roles as educators. Treating on-campus student employment as a high-impact practice allows us to reach students who otherwise may not be able to take part in high-impact practices across campus.

When students to reflect on their own learning, they become  prepared to consistently reflect on themselves and their work. Neutral conversations allow students to  freely discuss their skills and goals with a supervisor without fear of judgement or critique, centering the student’s learning rather than job-performance.

History of WiGROW

The WiGROW program was started by the Student Employment Initiative, a committee formed through the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Strategic Plan for 2009 – 2014. It was implemented in VCFA units through the 2017- 2018 school year.

In the fall of 2017, the Office of Student Financial Aid joined the WiGROW initiative as an advisor, becoming a co-administrator alongside OHR and beginning to implement the program for the 2018-2019 school year. Units transitioning from the VCFA to the newly formed division of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs have continued implementing the program in the 2018 – 2019 school year.

The GROW model was adapted from the University of Iowa’s Iowa GROW program with the goal to make student employment on campus a high-impact practice through intentional interaction and reflection.