#SATBT Student Affairs Throwback Thursday: Todd Porter
Current Position and Institution:
Director of Residence Life, The Juilliard School
First Position and Institution:
Residence Director, The University of Vermont
The most important lesson(s) that I learned as an entry-level are how to be effective in doing your job and recognizing your own limitations and capacity. First, realizing that I was new to the institution and had to learn the culture, the expectation, and above all learn how to do the basics of my job to the best of my ability was critical. As a new professional, I had come in expecting to change things for the better, but that had the ability to alienate some people who were there previously because I did not have the institutional knowledge about how things had been shaped prior, nor did I have the positional capacity to enact all the changes I thought ought to be made. I had to learn what battles were really important to fight for, and what could I let go. Lastly, I had to learn what was in my scope of control. There were times that I got a little to big for my breeches and thought I should (and could) change everything that I saw was wrong. I did not always see the larger picture, institutional politics, and inherent flaws in my own thought processes. Being a new professional is a very liminal position. You are expected to do good work, but need to understand the limitations of what you can do. That is a delicate balance that has taken many of us a while to learn.
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…