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Career Story: Summer School Director At A University

Summer School Director At A University

Job Title: Higher Education Administrator

Type of Company: Private, non-profit university

Education: BA, English •• MA in Human Services Management

Previous Experience: I began as a records clerk in the Registrar's Office. After 18 months, I became administrative assistant in the fledgling continuing education office. Each time I reached the point where I would have looked for a different position, I was either promoted or there were significant changes that fostered acquiring new skills and career growth.

Job Tasks: My job as Summer School Director moves through annual cycles of activity. From September to March I am involved primarily in program planning and budget activity. From April to August my focus shifts to making sure planned programs are successfully presented and evaluated. The range of tasks necessary during the year are:

-Project revenue and manage budget -Oversee course selection -Design and execute marketing campaign -Academic advising -Faculty salary negotiations and payroll administration -Coordinate activities to make sure that on-line registration functions smoothly -Supervise students in residence halls -Participate in student disciplinary process as needed -Report on programs, enrollments and revenue -Support other staff in planning and presenting field trips, events and classes -Maintain relationships with other administrative offices that support Summer School Program, i.e., Facilities Management, Dining Services, Financial Services, Academic Services, Bookstore, Student Life Division -Participate in other projects as requested by head of faculty and academic functions -Coordinate providing classroom and living assistance to students and staff with documented disabilities in line with University policy and the Americans with Disabilities Act -Interact with students and their families on academic, financial, social/personal issues

During a day I use e-mail, telephone calls and face-to-face meetings with fellow staff to insure that the program receives all the services necessary. I often meet with students and their families to discuss their participation in University programs.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is helping students solve their problems and making sure they can successfully meet their goals.

The worst part of my job is working with angry students or parents. In general, the University functions well from September to May. In the summer, when our programs are at their busiest, people tend to be on vacation or less motivated to offer support. Getting the needs of my programs recognized or trying to change attitudes toward the summer are very difficult and often frustrating

Job Tips: Relationships with people are important. Treating everyone you work with regardless of their position with respect and listening carefully to their needs and concerns is of enormous value.

In an academic setting you are judged by what you know. Having degrees or "being credentialed" counts more with some groups than with others. As with any job, you have to learn which groups are sensitive to this issue and adapt your communication style.

Additional Thoughts: Eventually having an advanced degree will serve you well.

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