I have something to admit: I know that I eventually want to go into administration. Please continue reading! I realize that within higher education there is often this us vs them mentality. It is us (instructors, graduate students, support staff and more) vs. the at times faceless, nameless enemy, the administrators. We are the 99% on campus and they constitute the 1%. But, I have to admit that during the last few years, I have had lots of conversations with colleagues and family about what I would do if I had an administrative role on campus. We academics talk lots, and part of this talk includes constructive comments and perhaps even some criticism. I partake in these conversations, but I always get to the part of “what would I do to fix this.” And, my sense of justice and desire to mentor students has meant that I want to go into administration in a role where I will help students or oversee student issues.
One of the best parts of my job is the repeated opportunity to mentor students. I find that I can mentor in the classroom, but the really priceless moments take place during my office hours. My office hours as an Undergraduate Advisor in the Department of Political Science offer those teachable moments for me and my students. When I saw the posting for the Associate Dean of Academic Advising, it looked like a perfect fit for my skill set and desire to help students on campus. I am not going to lie; right before I clicked send my heart was fluttering. I sent my dossier and hoped for the phone call—the one that informs me that I made the shortlist. I got the phone call and my interview is next month.
The reaction by some co-workers has been surprising. A few were surprised that I would entertain having an administrative role and leave the classroom. One remarked that it is unfortunate that good instructors (reference to reputation and university evaluations) go into administration. I understand the unease, but think that a university needs people who want to go into administration and these people should enjoy teaching, mentoring, research, and service.