Today we are digging deeper into how folks ended up in their current functional area within student affairs. We also asked what a “typical day” looks like.
What led you into your Student Affairs functional area? Is it where you “planned” to end up?
I was in a job I hated. I couldn’t find work, or even land an interview, for positions I wanted. I thought long and hard about staying in Higher Ed. I started applying to “diagonal” positions, those that would utilize my skills, but also allow me to move into a more student-centric position. I started applying to positions outside of higher ed. My current department is interested in my education, theoretical knowledge, research, and point of view. They also let me attend professional development trainings. Not where I want to be, probably isn’t where I’ll be in 5 years, but I’m good for now.
~ Chelsea O’Brien
I actually wanted to be in academic affairs. But, Pete Goldsmith, an associate vice president at MSU and mentor in grad school strongly encouraged me to go into res life. He gave two reasons. First, it is where most of the entry-level jobs are. And, second, it is an outstanding learning experience given the diversity of the job responsibilities. My plan was to stay in res life for 1-3 years. I stayed seven. I truly did develop skills and knowledge that have been invaluable to me in positions I have held since being a hall director.
~ Gavin Henning
Academic Advising is certainly not the area I planned on landing in as a professional. However, perhaps based on prior career aspirations this functional area is most appropriate. However, throughout my graduate education I immersed myself in a number of functional areas to help me determine what area I was best suited for and still Academic Advising was not an area I considered. My experiences working with first year students as an undergraduate and the academic support experiences I had during graduate school allowed Academic Advising to find me.
One of my favorite things about the field of Student Affairs is that it is so varied and diverse. My functional area, financial wellness, is never one that I thought I would end up in (let alone knew existed!). My undergraduate background is in business, and my transition from that “world” to the one of Student Affairs was a bit jolting at times. The way things are approached and discussed can be very different in a corporate setting compared to an educational one. When I saw the position I have now, I thought-“Wow, I can’t believe something like this exists! It combines my experiences from both undergrad and graduate school!” When I was preparing for my interview, the more I learned about the financial literacy movement the more I became engrossed with the topic. I never would have thought I would have ended up here, but I love being able to help students in this unique way.
~ Mandi Schweitzer
I had experience as an RA and that introduced me to student affairs. When I looked at grad schools, I was hoping to explore Career Services. I ended up getting a position as an RD right out of undergrad and doing grad school part-time. I did an internship/practicum in Career Services but the fit in Residence Life was better for me . . . so I stayed . .. for more than 25 years.
~ Beth Moriarty
At IU as an undergraduate student, I lived in the Collins Living Learning Center. This was an LLC affiliated with the College of Arts and Sciences. I quickly became a believer in the holistic educational experience of students – one in which the in-class and out-of-class opportunities intersect to create a transformational educational experience for the student. Head, heart, and hands are connected. That has always guided me in my work in Residence Life and Housing and helps me maintain my passion for the important environments we create for students – once in a lifetime living environments that are integral to their college experience.
~ Kathleen G. Kerr
To be completely honest, my mom got me into Student Affairs. During my undergrad orientation she heard a career counselor speak at the parent program and that person mentioned that the career office had positions open for students. My mom recommended applying for the job. I did so, had an interview, and started working in Career Services at the beginning of freshman year. During senior year when I finally decided to pursue a career in Student Affairs, I chose Career Services as my function area. I dabbled in other functional areas during grad school, but I knew Career was where I wanted to be, and it’s where I ended up.
~ Ellen Hatfield
I studied abroad as a high school student, and in college, but I didn’t ‘process’ those experiences very much when I started my graduate program. I knew I wanted to work with college students after an internship at a leadership development program over the summer after I graduated, but honestly didn’t have much of a plan. It seems funny thinking about that now, because I am older now and need plans, but it was probably the best course of action for me.
I started a position my first year of grad school in the ADA Compliance office, which just so happened to be managed by one of my professors that is also heavily involved in international education activities with NASPA (tip 1: you never know who on your campus does what outside of their day-to-day). I also found that many of my projects in class ended up focusing on international students and study abroad (tip 2: you talk and write about what you care about). I then had the opportunity to go on a study tour to Australia over the summer, and stayed to do my independent project at the University of New South Wales (tip 3: leave campus for the summer). When I returned for the fall, my new position was working with international students at Santa Fe, the community college (tip 4: work at a community college sometime). That pretty much sealed the deal.
When I later expressed to another professor that a bucket list item of mine was to live overseas, he told me about a job in Qatar. I thought I was crazy at first for even considering it, but it only took a week or so for me to realize how amazing the opportunity would be for me. (tip 5: if something scares and excites you, go for it). It was a life changer/ruiner. I honestly think my students taught me more than I ever taught them. I’ve been in the Student Affairs/International Education realm ever since!
~ Emily Yates
I thought I wanted to do residence life for my career. I had worked for a couple of years in residence life before returning to graduate school, and during my second year in grad school, I did a practicum in academic advising. I enjoyed getting to know each student more in depth and partnering with faculty in my college. Since then, I have continued to have roles that straddle student and academic affairs, now working in a residential college, where I support the academic mission and the faculty within my college, but maintain the student affairs functions within the college. I love it.
~ Niki Rudolph
Academic advising and career exploration seemed like a natural fit. I always asked myself what my next move would be – so it seemed appropriate. I am now in a faculty role that supports similar exploration, so perhaps I am just naturally just drawn to it. In the end, I am not sure there is an “end” point in my career. At least I hope not – that’s boring!
~ Laura Pasquini
Honestly, I’m not sure I have a functional area. I have experience with curriculum development, leadership programming, activities, orientation, etc. Being that I was one of just a few people in the education department at my most recent job, I wore many hats and was expected to jump into many things. I’d like to head in the direction of leadership development, though.
~ Jamie Rosenbloom
I’ve always enjoyed housing because it brings so many aspects of the college experience together. There were moments when I thought I might fit elsewhere (orientation) so I tried them out through campus partnerships. I have always come back to housing because of the challenge and development it provides.
~ Chris Stone-Sewalish
After grad school, I moved to Portland because I couldn’t stand the midwest anymore, but didn’t want to move back to California. I applied to every job in higher education I was remotely qualified for. The day before I had to turn in the 30-day notice for my apartment, I was offered a position as a Degree Completion Specialist. I had a rough month or so at 15 hours a week, for $16 an hour. Then a maternity leave Academic Advising position was open in my office, and I moved into it. I wanted to get into academic advising after 5 or so years of working in residential life or campus activities.
What does a typical day look like in your current position?
Insanity! Meetings. “Fires”. Vending machine lunch (because I always miss the lunch hours at the cafe). Maybe some tears. Always laughter!
~ Kelly Krusee
On the commute to work: Connecting with students and staff via social media.
During the day: 3-4 meetings with various students, staff, faculty, vendors, alumni and community stakeholders.
Lunchtime: Walk in Central Park or grab lunch off of a food truck with a colleague.
~ Ann Marie Klotz
There is no typical day!
~ Candice Stadler
Email, email, meeting, meeting, email, lunch (sometimes), program, meeting, program, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Everything I do allows me to interact with students. I work most closely with student organizations on campus, and it’s amazing to see how student grow even in short periods of time.
~ Anthony Pace
A typical day starts off with 1-2 hours blocked off to work on email, office social media, and meeting with my supervisees (depending on the day). Armed with my morning coffee, I glance at email and start scheduling Twitter posts for the day. While doing Twitter scheduling, I’m also reading career articles and pinning those articles and other items to our office Pinterest boards. Morning social media duties also include editing blog posts for the student written blog that we have. I’m one of those lucky people who has their social media duties written into my job description as opposed to added on top of everything else. Even though all social media stuff is scheduled in the morning, I monitor it throughout the day in order to have a decent amount of engagement with our followers. Depending on the day, I will have 1-5 hours worth of student appointments scheduled. Two days a week I work at our 2-hour Resume drop-in service, I hold weekly meetings for my supervisees (both 1:1 and full group), and I attend the monthly training sessions held for all of our student employees. It’s busy, and I love it.
~ Ellen Hatfield
A Chief Housing Officer job is very dynamic. But in general I like to get to work early. 7:30ish. I get several hours to myself if I arrive early. I try to spend my first hour on a project or priority – not e-mail. This is challenging – but when it works, it works well.
Much of the rest of my day is meetings – internal and campus partners. I try to check my e-mail 2-3 times a day. I also try to process any of my paper notes at the end of the day so I’m ready for the next day.
Student Affairs requires a fair amount of evening and weekend time. Especially in a 24/7 environment like Student Housing. I often attend evening/weekend commitments. But I try very hard not to stay late to check e-mail or work on tasks. Rather I’ll stay late to attend events or meet with students/staff as times that are best for them.
~ Chad Nuttall
About Our Contributors:
I’m a Wisconsin girl who transplanted to Minnesota. Currently, I am a Career Counselor in Career & Internship Services at the University of Minnesota Duluth. I run our office social media strategy, supervise our Peer Educator student employees, and I’m starting to dabble in assessment.
In 2005, I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Communication with a minor in Management from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. In 2011, I earned my Master of Science degree in Counselor Education, emphasis Higher Education, from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. I’ve been working at UMD since mid-2011.
My social media platforms of choice are Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and blogging. On nights and weekends I fancy myself a photographer, traveler, hiker, reader, scrapper, knitter, and Netflix binger.
Years in the field: 2 – 4
Connect with Ellen on Twitter: @Ellen_Hatfield
Gavin W. Henning, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Higher Education at New England College where he also directs the Master of Science in Higher Education Administration and the Doctorate of Education programs. Prior to his transition to faculty, Gavin spent over 20 years in higher education administration with experience in residential life, judicial affairs, alcohol, institutional research, and assessment. Gavin’s scholarship has been published in professional journals and scholarly magazines and he has been an invited speaker at regional, national, and international conferences. His scholarly interests include student engagement, student success, along with assessment and institutional effectiveness. He has been involved in ACPA where he is currently the Vice President. In addition to this role, Gavin has served on the Governing Board, on the convention planning team, and a commission chair. Gavin is a board member for the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) where he also serves on the Executive Committee as Member-At-Large for Outreach. In addition, Gavin is a founding member of Student Affairs Assessment Leaders, an international organization for professionals coordinating student affairs assessment. He has been received the Annuit Coeptis award and been named a Diamond Honoree from ACPA for his contributions to student affairs and higher education.
Years in the field: 20 – 29
Connect with Gavin on Twitter: @gavinhenning
Kathleen G. Kerr
I currently serve as the Executive Director of Residence Life & Housing and have a secondary appointment as an Assistant Professor in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Delaware. I am currently the immediate Past President of ACPA, completing my term on the ACPA Governing Board.
I attended Indiana University in Bloomington, IN where I received both my BA in Psychology and my MS in College Student Personnel Administration. In 1998 I earned my Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Delaware.
My professional career began at the University of Delaware in 1990 as a Complex Coordinator. Progressively challenging and exciting opportunities have kept me here for the past 25 years. Prior to serving as the Executive Director, I served as an Area Coordinator, Assistant Director, Associate Director, Co-Director, and Director. As Executive Director, I lead a department that provides students with dynamic living environments that are conducive to academic success and personal growth and promote the development of engaged and environmentally sustainable leaders and citizens. I am responsible for the overall administration, direction and management of a residence hall system that houses 7,400 students.
My involvement with ACPA began on the directorate of the Commission for Housing & Residential Life, which I chaired from 2006-2008. I served on the Presidential Task Force on Sustainability; chaired two convention Program Teams; served as the Director of Membership Development on the Governing Board; and was elected ACPA Vice President in 2012, serving as ACPA President from 2013-2014.
I reside in Newark. DE with my husband, four daughters, and pug, Sadie.
Years in the field: 20 – 29
Connect with Kathleen on Twitter: @KathleenKerr
Ann Marie Klotz
Dr. Ann Marie Klotz is the Dean for Campus Life and Chief Student Affairs Officer on the Manhattan campus of the New York Institute of Technology. Previously, she spent 14 years working in Housing and Residence Life at Oregon State University, DePaul University, Ball State University and Albion College. She earned her B.A. from Grand Valley State University (Political Science) and M.A.’s from Michigan State University (Student Affairs) and DePaul University (Women and Gender Studies) respectively. She recently earned her doctorate in the spring of 2014 from DePaul University where she studied the career trajectories and leadership styles of ten female university presidents.
She is the current National Co-Chair for the Women in Student Affairs (WISA) Knowledge Community for NASPA and is the recent recipient of the 2014 ACPA Standing Committee for Women Research and Scholarship Award. Personal and research interests include women’s career development, professional staff recruitment, developing on-line communities, personal branding, and first generation college students. Learn more at www.annmarieklotz.com.
Years in the field: 11 – 15
Connect with Ann Marie on Twitter: @annmarieklotz
My name is Kelly Krusee. I am the Director of Student Life at Marymount California University in the Los Angeles area. I have been in higher ed for almost 15 years and have held a variety of positions in different areas. From admissions to academic affairs to student affairs, my current role is my favorite. I do feel honored to get to be a part of students’ lives at such a transformative time in their lives. This work is incredible!
Years in the field: 11 – 15
Connect with Kelly on Twitter: @krusonk
Beth Moriarty is currently the Director of Residence Life and Housing at Bridgewater State University (BSU). Beth has been at Bridgewater since 1993 in a variety of roles in the Office of Residence Life and Housing, Beth is also an adjunct faculty member in the Student Affairs Counseling Graduate Program at BSU.
Beth has worked in the field of Residence Life for over 25 years and in addition to BSU, she has held various positions at the University of Hartford and Roger Williams College. Beth earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where she started her residence life and housing journey as a Resident Assistant. Beth has a Master’s Degree in Human Development, Counseling and Family Studies from the University of Rhode Island and she completed her doctorate in Educational Leadership at Johnson and Wales University in Providence. Beth’s dissertation was titled: Relationship of Helicopter Parenting on Autonomy Development in First-year College Students.
Professionally, Beth has been involved at the regional level with NEACUHO (Northeast Association of College and University Housing Officers) and with BACHA (Boston Area College Housing Association). She is a past president of both organizations. Beth currently serves on the NASPA Region 1 Advisory Board as the MA State Director and she serves on NASPA Center for Women Board.
Years in the field: 20 – 29
Connect with Beth on Twitter: @bethmoriarty
Chad Nuttall is Director, Student Housing and Residence Life – ultimately responsible for the UTM residence system. Chad is Past-President of the Ontario Association of College and University Housing Officers (OACUHO) and a Director-at-Large on the board of the Canadian Society for Studies in Higher Education (CSSHE). Regularly presenting nationally and internationally he holds a MA from the University of Toronto and a BA from the University of Guelph.
Years in the field: 8 – 10
Connect with Chad on Twitter: @chadtweets
I have a BA in Politics and an MS in Administration with a concentration in Student Affairs from the University of Rochester. I’m the Office Manager for a department at RIT. I work with the department chair, graduate program director, and academic advisors to plan and support most things the department does. I work directly with our academic club, assisting them with purchases, accounting, and event planning. I’m responsible for supervising student workers, maintaining records, creating and analyzing reports, scheduling meetings and appointments, and anything else the department needs. My research and professional development focuses on student veterans and making higher education more accessible to non-traditional students.
Years in the field: 0 – 1
Connect with Chelsea on Twitter: @ChelseaMDO
My name is Anthony Pace, and I am still relatively new to the world of higher education, but I already know it’s where I belong. I have a Master of Arts in Student Services Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University, where I worked as a graduate assistant or Campus Life. Since leaving FDU I have worked in the role of Student Life Coordinator at Lycoming College, and Assistant Director of Student Activities for Student Organizations and Orientation at Pennsylvania College of Technology.
Years in the field: 2 – 4
Connect with Anthony on Twitter: @ajpace90
Laura A. Pasquini is a Lecturer with the Department of Learning Technologies at the University of North Texas (UNT). Before entering academia, her student development experience involved academic advising, tutoring and supplemental instruction, career counseling, campus activities, first year experience curriculum, orientation programming, and residence life. As an early career researcher, Dr. Pasquini’s teaching and research scholarship lies in the areas of open education, collaborative learning environments, and social engagement. Her recent dissertation study involved text mining 250 post-secondary social media guideline and policy documents from 10 different countries (http://socialmediaguidance.wordpress.com/).
Dr. Pasquini consults with a number of education, non-profit and corporate associations on optimizing social media for engagement, organizational culture and design, and strategic communication. She is a self-declared geek and a self-taught techie who digitally engages both her peers and learners. You can often find Dr. Pasquini tweeting and blogging about learning, performance, and technology.
Years in the field: 11 – 15
Connect with Laura on Twitter: @laurapasquini
I am an educator with a foundation that exists in the overlap of leadership and student developments. I believe in meeting students where they are at and that anything is possible with the power of awe.
I am a reader of many things and a writer of fiction. I love crossword puzzles and warm weather.
B.S.-English, M.A.-Higher Education Leadership
Years in the field: 0 – 1
Connect with Jamie on Twitter: @JamieSara22
In Academic Affairs at Michigan State University
Years in the field: 16 – 20
Connect with Niki on Twitter: @NikiRudolph
Mandi Schweitzer serves as the Financial Wellness Outreach Coordinator within the Student Life Student Wellness Center at The Ohio State University. Mandi graduated with a B.B.A with a marketing specialization, followed by a Masters degree in Student Affairs Administration and Higher Education, both from Texas A&M University. Prior to joining the team at Ohio State, Mandi previously worked at Boise State University in the Student Affairs division as the coordinator of new student orientation. I am passionate about seeing how financial literacy and capability intersect with the world of Higher Ed. In particular, how financial wellness contributes to one’s overall wellbeing. I love chocolate, chipotle, book clubs, and jcrew. 🙂
Years in the field: 2 – 4
Connect with Mandi on Twitter: @mandischweitzer
Candice Stadler currently serves as the Director of Career Services at New River Community and Technical College. New River CTC serves nine counties in southeastern West Virginia. Addition to her duties as Director of Career Services, Candice serves on multiple college committees ranging from grant implementation teams to student affairs committees. Prior to coming to New River, Candice worked at WV Northern Community College, Western State College of Colorado and the University of Charleston serving in the areas of admissions, student leadership/peer education, first year experience, and career services. Candice is a first generation college graduate, holding a BA in History and MS degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Charleston. She is currently pursuing an E.d.D. in Educational Leadership from Marshall University. She is actively involved in the West Virginia Association of Student Personnel Administrators and is currently serving as immediate past-president. In the past, Candice has presented at state, regional and national conferences on career development, retention, student leadership, and advising. Candice and her husband, Chris, reside in Beckley, WV with their two very large Maine Coon cats.
Years in the field: 11 – 15
Connect with Candice on Twitter: @candicestadler
I’m currently an Assistant Director for Residence Life at the University of Kansas. Hailing from Wisconsin, I love all things Great Lakes including hockey, craft beer, good food, large bodies of water, and rock and roll. My research interests include men and masculinity, organizational change, and higher education policy.
Years in the field: 5 – 7
Connect with Chris on Twitter: @stonesewalish
I am a Student Advisor at the Institute of International Education in Washington, D.C, where I advise Saudi Arabian students. Prior to joining IIE, I served as an International Student Advisor at Texas A&M University, and spent three years at Texas A&M at Qatar. I completed my M.Ed. in Student Personnel in Higher Education at the University of Florida, and a B.S. degree in Technical Theatre at Radford University (VA).
Years in the field: 8 – 10
Connect with Emily on Twitter: @emryates