Moral, Ethical and Spiritual Compass * Visionary Leadership * Quality Programming * Evaluation and Assessment * Counseling and Advising * Budgeting and Fiscal Management * Fostering Student Learning * Legal and Ethical Issues Effective Campus and Community Relationships * Managing Conflict and Crisis Multicultural Awareness, Knowledge and Skills * Technology
"As I enter the student affairs profession, I am reminded of the students and the call I have to help develop their minds and hearts. As I advocate for and represent the student voice and experience, in whatever role that may be, I will lead with knowledge of student need and experience. I recognize my role as a leader to fill a gap between student and institution and to be a voice for those who are unknown or unheard. I will lead beyond skill and the need to be validated and relevant but rather with a heart of servanthood. I believe the best leaders are those who are vulnerable and authentic, and in that spirit become available to others, offering their limited experience. I believe leaders must continually be challenged to grow and learn in differing experiences and perspectives than their own. To lead authentically, one must be self aware of values, personality and frameworks that influence interactions with others. I desire to be a leader who confidently takes strategic risks, remains calm in the midst of chaos and uncertainty and effectively communicates goals."- Philosophy Statement of Leadership
During my first year in the Women’s Resource Center, I helped develop the center’s mission statement. Previously there was no real structure or solidified vision for the programs or events that came out of the office. Over the past few years, the center transitioned from the Campus Pastor’s office to the Counseling Center with the leadership provided by graduate students. When I stepped into my role as a graduate assistant, the center was transitioning under the leadership of Shino Simons, the Associate Dean of Student Life. Before the center was able to set learning outcomes or goals for the year’s programs, I needed to engage my staff with a greater purpose and vision for the center. Working closely with my supervisor and one undergraduate intern, we came up with a three-point mission statement: educate, empower and celebrate. This mission statement was directly influenced by the idea that female students need opportunities to lead programs and events, feel safe to express ideas and their identity and feel supported by their institution. The programs that were implemented throughout the year fell under the focus of educating or celebrating women. Through our work on campus and presence as a staff, we hoped to empower young women to step into leadership positions and feel validated to become women with purpose. According to Belenky et al (1986) women’s development, particularly their way of knowing, is unique. For example “connected knowing” is the most effective way of learning for women and it is vital to encourage women out of the “silent” perspective. In practice, the Women’s Resource Center aimed to serve and support female students to find their voice in a safe and welcoming environment and feel validated in their experiences and knowledge.
As I began to develop the vision for the Women’s Resource Center, I knew it was crucial to work closely with and develop relationships with the other staff, student life offices, and the Counseling and Health Centers on campus. According to Bolman and Deal (2008) I was operating under the political frame and “mapping the political terrain” at APU (p216). As a two person staff we had limited time, space and even skill sets to accomplish our programs and events. I needed to draw on the support and resources of other staff and students to help carry out some of the goals we had as an office. A great way to do this was to create committees with various student life representations. Additionally, as we established ownership over the programs we sponsored as a Women’s Resource Center, we recognized that we had limited perspective and knowledge pertaining to some issues. There were staff on campus, specifically psychologists and pastors, who specialized in meeting the spiritual, emotional and health needs of students that neither my staff nor I were qualified to address. In practice as a graduate assistant, I strategized and built networks to support the efforts in the Women’s Resource Center.
As my first year as a graduate assistant in the Women’s Resource Center came to a close and in my decision to return the following year, I became responsible for the selection and hiring process for the new staff. Working closely with my supervisor we discussed the vision of where we desired to see the Women’s Resource Center go. It was important that we continue to find our place on campus and promote educational awareness for our students. We strategically hired and placed undergraduate interns that fit into this vision and overall mission of the center. We also partnered with and began a conversation with adding an intern to the office from the graduate Social work program. We saw this as falling under the umbrella of what the Women’s Resource Center could be on the campus; a place where we partner with academics and community resources to expand our students’ involvement with the center.