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My approach to administrative work could best be described as service-oriented and people-centric. I see the role of any administrator as one of service—not in the traditional academic definition—but as a person tasked with ensuring that the needs of others, particularly those below them in the university hierarchy are satisfactorily met. As an administrator, I am an advocate for students, staff, and faculty members. I am keenly aware that, as an administrator, one of my primary roles is working with people, all of whom are distinct individuals with unique skills and situations, who work within a larger, university system that is designed, in most cases, for uniformity. To be an effective administrator means to work within the existing systems, and to sometimes challenge and change them, to do what is in the best interest of program(s) I administrate and the people who I serve as an administrator.
There are four tenets that I see as central to being an effective administrator.
Effective administration means working with people from all parts of campus. While the title of administrator affords a certain degree of power, I do not see it as a license to proceed in any course without consulting with others. I value the input, expertise and experiences of others, and believe it is necessary for stakeholders, including faculty, students, staff, and other administrators, to be involved in decision-making and implementation processes. Additionally, a diversity of experiences and expertise can produce more effective solutions to problems and more opportunities for innovation.
Administrators cannot work in a vacuum. They must work with others, as addressed above, but also allow others to work. Effective administration requires recognizing the talents, skills and abilities of others and providing opportunities for others to use their unique skill sets. For me, effective administration is as much about celebrating the good work done by others, as it is about effectively completing projects of my own.
Effective administration relies on trust and good faith between all parties. As an administrator who believes my role is to serve and advocate, it is necessary that I build trusting relationships with the people around me. Being transparent, explaining what I’m doing and why, and receiving the same transparency from others is essential to productive administration.
Part of working effectively with individuals is showing respect for their time and resources. It is essential that effective administrators make judicious use of both their own time and resources and the time/resources of the people they work with. I support and seek out tools and systems that can make communication and completion of tasks easier, more streamlined, and more effective.
Being an administrator means taking responsibility for decisions that are made and how those decisions affect others. Administrative work is working on behalf of others. It is my strongest belief that administrators should not only actively seek ways to improve situations for the students, staff and faculty they represent, but also vigorously challenge and oppose situations that disadvantage or harm those they represent.
Effective administration is about being a recognizable face, a go-to person, a person who can get things done for other people. For me, being an effective administrator means that people from across campus can rely on me and see me as someone who recognizes them as individuals and seeks to do what is in the best interest of both students and colleagues.