#SATBT Student Affairs Throwback Thursday: Gavin Henning

Gavin Henning

Current Position and Institution:
Associate Professor of Higher Education, New England College

First Position and Institution:
Resident Director, University of New Hampshire

The most important lesson I learned in my first position has been a guiding principle throughout my career. I learned as a residence hall director at the University of New Hampshire to be intentional in everything that I do.

At UNH, we were fortunate to be empowered as new professionals. After my second year as a hall director, the department eliminated the programming model we had been using. Instead, RHDs were taught to assess the needs of our communities and use that assessment to design educational programming. For me, however, this intentionality went far beyond just program. Whenever I was walking the floors of the building, I always had 1-2 questions or topics in mind to discuss with residents. While I was always open to any conversation on any topic, having these “conversation starters” handy allowed me to have thoughtful, in-depth discussions with students rather than superficial ones.

This affinity towards intentionality fueled my interest in assessment, particularly as it emerging on the higher education scene in the mid-late 1990s. Student affairs assessment provided me the opportunity to combine my interest in applied research methods with a goal of intentional practice. After nearly 15 years being intentional in the realm of assessment, I transitioned to full-time faculty in 2012. Now, I continue to be intentional as an associate professor and instill in my students this same drive to be deliberate.

hetzel staff

The #SATBT series asks higher education and student affairs professionals to share a picture and reflect on a memory and/or one of the most important lessons the learned from their first job in the field.

Consider contributing your story for potential inclusion in the book version…

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