Current Position and Institution:
Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, University of Houston System
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, University of Houston
First Position and Institution:
Residence Hall Director, Office of Residence Life, Syracuse University
My first professional position was as a Residence Hall Director at Syracuse University, my alma mater. I was thrilled to go back to SU; I knew the University, a new the community, I had family working at SU, and the university was a big part of my identity at that time. My experiences as an student leader and the encouragement from my hall director to explore college student development were big influences in my decision to pursue a master’s degree. However, I did not know what it would mean to work at my alma mater. Lucky for me, I was blessed with talented, supportive, and visionary colleagues who taught me a great deal about being a professional. I was also fortunate to have a supervisor, Dr. Joanne Conlon, who would later become a significant mentor to me in my career. I learned many things in my first year as a residence hall director and I continue to share these lessons with student leaders, peers and staff. Here are my top 5 favorites:
5. As a young live-in professional, shy away from the same local places that your students may socialize. No good will come from this interaction. Ever.
4. Your behavior is being watched by those who you work with and serve. Especially when you have a live-in position.
3. Your work is your reputation. You will continuously contribute to your reputation through your actions, your outcomes, and your attitude.
2. You will, you can, and you should make a difference every day.
1. Theory to practice is what we do and we do it well. Get on board.
I had an opportunity to apply for the Greek Advisors position during the spring semester of my first year. I took it and transitioned to that role shortly after school let out. I learned a few more lessons in that process and as the Greek Advisor. Those can wait for another time. Having an opportunity to serve my alma mater in two distinct positions within the Division of Student Services (later to become the Division of Student Affairs) will always be a highlight in my career. To have the chance to give back to SU and specifically the student affairs units which helped to shape me professionally provided me a strong foundation from which I have built my career on is priceless.
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…