Create a student role in my unit or group

overhead view of desk with people working

Student engagement through on-campus roles, paid and volunteer, are a defining part of the Queen’s student experience. Here are tools to help you think creatively about how to create or adapt student roles in your group or unit.

Working at Queen’s this year has been nothing short of amazing! I have experienced many opportunities that have helped me grow both personally and professionally—getting great work experience that is also rewarding. 

— Veronica Sewilski, Student Assistant, Orientation & Transition

Ask how a student could contribute to your unit

Please remember that student roles are not to replace staff roles, but add additional capacity with positions that are best suited for students. Please check with your HR Advisor if you have any questions.

  • What skills may students bring?
  • What work is not being done that a student could do? 
  • What projects have we wanted to do but never had capacity for?
  • What tasks can be collated into a role?
  • What research (e.g., literature review, scan of best practices) could benefit or enhance our work?
  • What student roles have we had in the past that we could adapt to a remote context?
  • What schedule would work best (hours/week, days/week)?

Also, please remember that student roles including Graduate Teaching Assistants, Graduate Teaching Fellows, Graduate Research Assistants, and JD and MD Teaching Assistants at Queens are covered by the PSAC Unit 1 collective agreement. Additional information can be found on the Faculty Relations Office Website.

Examples of student roles at Queen’s

  • Student Ambassador: champion your unit’s program and services to other students, promoting opportunities among their peers through various means.
  • Data Analytics Assistant: analyze data in support of the efficiency and effectiveness of your unit, which could include social media reach, program or service data, evaluation responses, or client relations data.
  • Communications Assistant: support the communications work of your unit, which could include social media copy, scheduling, analytics, graphic design, newsletters, media content, and promotion.
  • Upper-Year Mentors or Peers: pair with mentees to support their journey at Queen’s, often scoped to a particular topic, space, or identity—e.g., study skills, women in STEM, resume coaches
  • Project Assistant: assist one or more projects in your unit with coordination, design, communication, development, delivery, evaluation, or other support as needed.
  • Simulation Laboratory Assistant: assist with the design, coordination, delivery, evaluation, or curricular simulated learning experiences, often in health sciences.
  • Research Assistant: support research activities of a lab or group, with activities as wide-ranging as research activities themselves.
  • Student Advisory Committee Member: a representative of the student perspective on committees in departments or units that advise on the design, delivery, and evaluation of programs and services


light bulbTips for creating a job description


  • Consider keeping experience requirements low and relative to the amount of experience students would likely have had.
  • Remember that part-time, summer, co-curricular and volunteer work experiences can meet your needs.
  • Rather than hiring from only one specific degree, consider being open to students from different academic backgrounds because they may have the skills you're looking for. 
  • Students may be hesitant to apply if they don't have the specific degree or experience requirements you've listed.
  • Include contact information so students know who to address their cover letter to and invite students to contact you with questions about the position or your organization. 
  • Like most job seekers, students tend to wait until the deadline to submit applications, so indicate whether you plan to review applications as they are submitted, or if you will wait until the deadline to review all applications.
  • List core responsibilities so that students know what they'll be accountable for, but don't go overboard with acronyms and jargon. Focus the job description on the key skills and experiences you want students to highlight for you in their application packages.
  • Explain how the student will be supervised and mentored during their time at your organization.
  • Describe the culture of your organization and why a student will benefit from working for you. 
  • Include a clear list of items you expect in an application package (i.e. resume, cover letter, transcript, sample work, links to online portfolios etc.).
  • Provide details about the compensation package (e.g. salary, vacation, health benefits).


 Template job description (Word, 22 KB)


Tips for creating a remote student role

  • Consider the hardware, software, and office supplies students will require and how to make them available
  • Clear, narrow projects and deliverables require less of your capacity to onboard and supervise—e.g., literature reviews, infographics
  • Consider new roles and support you could benefit from in the COVID context

Health & Safety Considerations

As always, the health and safety of Queen's student staff and volunteers is paramount. Where possible, remote opportunities (rather than in-person) are preferred. Extra consideration is required by departments to ensure all student staff and volunteers feel safe at work or at their volunteer opportunity during this period of COVID-19. Departments must apply the same considerations to student staff and volunteer health and safety as you would to other staff.

COVID-19 related information and resources are available on the university’s COVID Information webpage and the COVID-19 Campus Operation Group webpage. If you have any questions about health and safety for student staff and volunteers, please contact the Department of Environmental Health & Safety at or ext. 32999.

Next, learn how to enhance your student recruitment in Step 2: Recruit a Student!