Iowa GROW® is a trademarked intervention* (see adaption/adoption note below) that cannot be properly implemented without following the recommended steps and procedures. We have provided all of the tools and readings that we have used over the last few years to ensure that University of Iowa student employees make meaningful connections between their jobs and their learning. This page outlines the steps to effectively implementing Iowa GROW® in your setting. We have provided a timeline of the Iowa GROW® initiative at the University of Iowa for your reference. The timeline at your institution may look different.

The Iowa GROW® graphic found here is a visual aid to familiarize you and your selected Iowa GROW® supervisors with the steps required to successfully implement the Iowa GROW® program.

Begin with a Pilot

We strongly suggest that you begin GROW® implementation with a pilot program. The pilot will provide you with essential information about the effectiveness of this initiative at your institution and help you determine needed changes prior to scaling the program. Learn more about our first two pilots here.

The first step in your pilot should include sending the Student Employee Survey to your full pool of student employees. The survey can be used to start the conversation about student employment by providing baseline data about what students are learning and how often supervisors are currently having work-academic conversations with students.

Select and Train GROW® Supervisors

To begin the pilot program you will need to recruit a core team of supervisors that will act as champions of GROW®. This core team will also be able to provide honest and constructive feedback on the initial implementation.

We recommend a formal, in-person training session for supervisors. Training will provide supervisors with the expectations for GROW®, the desired outcomes of student employment, the results from the Student Employee Survey, and background on the role supervisors can play in helping students make connections between work and academics. Below are some helpful resources. Note that these resources are copyrighted and may be used with acknowledgment to The University of Iowa.

Begin Interventions

After GROW® supervisors have completed training, they should begin the interventions with their student employees by using the Iowa GROW® Notes Template. These should be one-on-one (or small group – no more than 8 employees), face-to-face interactions between supervisors and student employees. The conversation is the intervention - Iowa GROW® cannot be successful unless these interactions are done in person (for instance, just sending out the questions via email will not suffice).

Example Conversations

See the example conversation videos below for a guide to having the GROW® conversation.

Track Results

Send the Student Employee Survey to all student employees, including those who did not participate in the GROW® initiative. Then compare the results for GROW® participants and non-GROW® participants and keep track of your progress. At Iowa we administer the Student Employee Survey every spring semester (late April/early May) to all our student employees.

Keep it Going

Once you have completed the pilot GROW® program, work to expand the number of supervisors participating in this initiative and continue to expand implementation throughout your organization. If you are interested in consultation on effective expansion, please feel free to contact us.

Lessons Learned

We learned a lot while developing Iowa GROW®. Our Lessons Learned document highlights our key 'aha' moments when piloting and implementing Iowa GROW® at the University of Iowa.

Community of Practice

In partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, we are creating space for folks who either implement GROW or are considering implementing GROW, to come together in a Community of Practice. A Community of Practice is a group of people who do similar work and come together to learn from each other, discuss relevant issues, problem solve and brainstorm, and share successes. If you are interested in joining the GROW Community of Practice please contact Teri Schnelle (

*Adopting/Adapting Iowa GROW® on your campus?
Please contact Teri Schnelle ( about use of the registered trademark Iowa GROW®. I can provide guidelines on trademark use and on naming your program.