I cannot for the life of me fathom what happened to summer! Nor, can I explain my neglect of this blog. But, I assure you it’s not because I’ve be on the golf course or in Tahiti basking in the sun. Summer simply slipped away from me leaving me starring at the beginning of the school year and a new recruitment cycle.
I do want to take this chance to share a couple of things about the summer and describe some changes that will influence my work and this blog in the near-term.
It would be dumb to say summer was busy; it’s always busy. However, summer was different.
The Office of Admissions at Augustana College experienced a good deal of turnover, some anticipated and some unanticipated. While turnover is not unusual in college admissions; it is alway difficult, in that the disruption impacts everyone. Fortunately, the office of admissions has attracted great talent and a new team is forming. The counseling staff is fully staffed and is increasingly focused on our important work. I look forward to working with a talented, diverse and committed staff of great admissions professionals.
One position we were not able to replace immediately was the position of dean of admission, which will impact my work for the foreseeable future as I step back into a day-to-day management position for much of this year. (I’ve already moved back into the admissions office and am relearning some important things that have lapsed with have the luxury of a dean of admissions).
Another reason summer has been a bit crazy is because the Office of Admissions has been working hard to hold onto our first-year cohort and try to grow the group, since we fell a bit short of our enrollment target. While we will open the school year short of our first-year student goal. However, there is still much to celebrate, including a recent high number of degree-seeking international students, strong multicultural and socio-economic diversity and a gain in net-tuition revenue (NTR) per student of $1,000+. Still, missing the number you want is alway discouraging.
Summer also includes a number of engaging conversations about Augustana’s strategic direction. This time, I was able to participate and listen, rather than lead. I found these conversation tremendously informative and fulfilling. It was great to have diverse members of our community discuss serious issues in a thoughtful and respectful manner.
In short, all the change, work and great stuff going on meant that I played one lousy round of golf.
One other cool thing that occurred this summer resulted from a call from a reporter at The Chronicle of Higher Education. The reporter called to ask me “how I define professional success” in my position. It was an interesting questions and moment for me and led me to think pretty critically about this question.
As I thought about the question I shared the following with the reporter:
1. How frequently I have been asked to stretch beyond my comfort zone to serve the college;
2. Whether I can authentically point to things that I am doing that fulfill the college’s mission
3. Whether I continue to feel engaged and energized by the work I am asked to do.
Are these the right things? I don’t have a clue. But, I feel some level of relief and comfort to be able to use these as a measuring stick of sorts. And, while the being asked to do something outside of one’s comfort zone is often initiated by a third-party, being willing to serve and the other two things mentioned are self-initiated and self-fulfilling.
The article, which you can view here, appeared in late-July.
The busyness of the summer and a moment of clarify my own thoughts about defining success has helped prepare me for my work ahead and I look forward to it. I also look forward to sharing some thoughts with you as part of this blog in the coming month.
I hope you have an equally fulfilling summer.
Kent Barnds a.k.a. @bowtieadmission