Stacy Oliver’s timing is impeccable. Granted, I also believes she is a machine. While I have random notes in a blog draft about Corey Booker’s leadership during the Newark snowpacolypse, Stacy pumped out a lesson for student affairs administrators on the value of using social media to connect with students. But my awe of her timing has more to do with her post on the The SA Blog yesterday, appreciating her colleague’s skill in working with students.
I am writing this blog in the middle of orientation, where I play more of a Girl Friday role to support my advisors meeting with new students. For our late orientation sessions, we relocate to a classroom across campus. Claiming a student desk and stringing laptop cords in MacGyver-like fashion, we meet with students in our makeshift bullpen. Since I monitor check-in lists and field questions, I have the rare opportunity to watch my advisors meet one-on-one with these incoming students.
And these advisors are amazing.
Minus the cape, they reach superhero status with how much they explain (over and over and over again with the patience of Job), how sincerely they listen, and how deftly they navigate the university’s bureaucracy for these students. If you just watch the non-verbal communication from the students, you can see them visibly relax their shoulders. In full disclosure, I had a hand in hiring all five of these professionals. All were directly out of their masters program, and all have grown in ways I could never have imagined.
But more than being impressed with their skill in welcoming and guiding students, I am humbled by how they have guided me. They have pushed me to reevaluate my own advising skill set. They challenge the status quo in ways that set me back on my heels and say, “Hmm, I’m not sure why we do that.” Their indignation at how they system fails students and their dedication to making sure the impact on students is minimal is phenomenal.
I am not perfect, and neither are they. However, we easily tease each other about our quirks. We find humor in every staff meeting. I am very blessed to work with such a great crew. And if you are looking for an incredibly spirited game of Apples to Apples or Uno, we double dog dare you to join us for lunch.
**To learn more about the machine, Stacy Oliver, please go here.