Current Position and Institution:
Vice President for Student Affairs, New York Institute of Technology
First Position and Institution:
Residence Director, SUNY Albany
The Importance of Critical Feedback: I received written feedback from the other residence directors on staff. All were extremely positive except one. My supervisor said I had a choice. I could easily ignore the one instance of negative feedback, or I could follow up with the individual and try to discover what led her to the conclusions she reached. Despite my upset, I chose to follow up with the intention of learning (rather than defending myself) and learned a few important things about how I was coming off to other people. It helped me adjust my behavior. Since then, I have attempted to be non-defensive in the face of critical feedback, because I know I will learn more from that than from positive feedback.
Intangible rewards often cost nothing but can be more memorable than money: My supervisor took me to a dean’s staff meeting as a guest to observe. Afterwards, she said she did it because she knew that someday I would be around that table. I never forgot that and treasure it to this day. I have no idea what my raise was that year. And it cost her nothing to take me!
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…