Job Title: Staff Coordinator
Type of Company: I work for a college within a larger university in the Office of the Dean. The college provide evening courses and part time degree programs for working professionals.
Education: BA in Dance, San Francisco State University MS in Arts Administration, Boston University
Previous Experience: I worked as a graduate assistant in the Office of Student Outreach for in the same college, and have a degree in administration.
Job Tasks: I work in the Dean's office and coordinate classrooms, the course schedule, and other administrative duties. I work with the program departments to make sure that the courses are in the system correctly, and also directly with the part time faculty to ensure they have all the materials that they need. I also answer students' questions on the phone about how to register for or drop courses, or sign up for graduation. I also schedule meetings for the Associate Dean and order lunches for them.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is learning how to balance many different tasks all at once (organizing a spreadsheet, answering emails and phone calls all at the same time), and working with motivated students and caring instructors.
The worst part is trying to find classrooms for everyone, as the instructors often complain about some of the rooms, even though there are not enough "nice" rooms for everyone.
1. Be sure to take basic computer skills courses - be particularly savvy in Microsoft Excel, and if you can get training with creating/working in databases (like Microsoft Access) and web design (like Dreamweaver), it will definitely help.
2. Also, be sure to have excellent writing skills since so much communication today is written (via email) and it is really easy to convey the wrong tone if you're not careful.
3. Also, in mass emails and memos that I write and send out to all the instructors I have to be particularly careful with grammar and punctuation, or else I'll hear about it from the faculty.
4. Lastly, I recommend that everyone, but especially if you're going into an administrative field, to take a basic accounting course. You will inevitably be working within a budget and you need to know how to read them and how to apply costs and revenues to them.
Additional Thoughts: Probably the most important qualities for any career are patience and a good sense of humor. You will be working with a lot of different personality types, and you need to be able to stay calm while dealing with some of them, and also wait quite a while on items from others. You need the sense of humor in order to get through tedious and frustrating times, and also to relate to other people in your workplace. Making friends at work is really important, not only to your success, but also to your sanity.