Yesterday I had the great privilege of being asked to serve on a panel with three other admissions leaders as part of IACAC’s Middle Management Institute held at DePaul University. It was a great opportunity for many reasons, including spending time with emerging leaders in the admissions profession, listening to other leaders share their wisdom about leading people and because it provide me with a chance to think more deeply about what it takes for middle managers to advance in this great profession.
For me, it was a moment (actually two hours) of renewal.
My confidence was renewed in the quality of emerging leaders we have in this great profession. As I looked out on the participants I saw serious and enthusiastic admissions professionals. Each participate was there to learn, grow and think critically about their career. For the first time in a very long time I felt that I was looking out at professionals who will not just be “accidental” admissions leaders. Instead, I am pretty sure that I was in the presence of the next generation of great admissions leaders (it’s likely that one of those participants will ultimately replace me).
I also was impressed with the diversity—experience, ethnicity and gender–of the participants. I am more hopeful than ever before that admissions leadership will soon more accurately reflect the students we serve.
Finally, the participants demonstrated their “chops” by asking thoughtful, in-depth questions. It was clear to me that they are clear thinkers and were engaged at a very high level throughout.
I also had the chance to catch Sacha Thieme (DePaul University) and Rob Springell (Bucknell University), as they discussed leadership and communication styles with the participants. It was obvious to me (and to the participants, I suspect) that Rob and Sacha are thoughtful and carful leaders. They are two professional who are clearly interested in cultivating, developing and nurturing the next generation of admissions leaders.
My fellow panelist, Todd Burrell (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville), Carlene Klaas (DePaul University), Stephanie Levenson (Elmhurst College) and moderator Julie Nelson (Xavier University) were great to work with! Their thoughtfulness and candor was refreshing and reassuring. As I sat and listen to each panelist address some very tough questions, my admiration for my colleagues grew. It was a pleasure for me to work with such a great group of professionals.
For me, the afternoon further reinforced those bits of advice about professional advancement in a recent column in IACAC’s website. I hope the participants will take time to read the column and keep the following in mind:
- Ask questions
- Take an interest in your organization beyond your office
- Choose your mentors wisely and thank them often
- Stretch beyond your comfort zone
- Don’t forget the basics
- Say yes…a lot
These are the things that have kept me focused and keep me focused as I advance in my own career.
Kent a.k.a. @bowtieadmission
P.S. I am taking a bit of a break from social media and blogging through the summer as I take on a different role at Augustana College.