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Career Story: Associate Dean Of A Small Liberal Arts College

Associate Dean Of A Small Liberal Arts College

Job Title: College Administrator

Type of Company: I work for a small college in Boston, Massachusetts.

Education: BA, College of the Holy Cross •• MBA, Simmons College (Boston, MA) •• M.Ed., University of Vermont

Previous Experience: After working in a college's dormitory administration as everything from a resident assistant to director of housing, I became director of a program. From there I moved up the ladder to associate dean.

Job Tasks: My primary job is to work with students, faculty and the deans on a daily basis. With students, I deal with everyday issues from advising or registration to health issues that affect their ability their attendance. I lend a different sort of support to the faculty, helping them to get what they need to teach as well they can and sparing them the hassle and the tedium of dealing with building issues, logistics, etc. I help the dean in any way I can and assist in the planning for long-term growth.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Best parts of my job are working with students every day, working with a range of students that included undergrads, students returning to school after being out for many years, and MBA students. Helping all of them solve problems is rewarding.

The worst part of my job is having too much to do and not enough time to do it. Planning takes a back burner when you are constantly putting out fires.

Job Tips:
1. Work in as many different areas of the college as you can.

2. Develop a thick skin so that when people get upset you don't take it personally.

3. Always be aware that credentials are important in both academic administration and student services. You will need to have a minimum of a masters degree and most likely a Ph.D if you want to be a dean or director at at big school.

4. Get experience at both large universities and a small college.

5. You must be able to multi-task every day and be able to prioritize what is important, essential or just agreeable to do.

Additional Thoughts: Most people do not understand that higher education is a field where people have advanced degrees. They think that it is easy to transfer into these jobs, but that is simply not true! One of the most important personal qualities you are likely to need is an ability to stay upbeat. You have to be flexible and you must be extremely resilient and inured to personal criticism.

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