In everyone single leadership class I have taken in my time here at Rutgers (that’s a lot of them!) I have always had amazing opportunities. I have gotten to interview Patrick Love (Associate Vice President of Student Affairs here at Rutgers), I did a presentation in front of a panel of Deans and Administrators, and many more. An opportunity that presented itself to me in one of my current classes was to interview a woman named Kathleen Kerr who is the Director of Residence Life at the University of Delaware and the new President of ACPA (American College Personnel Association). Although my interview with her was for a different class I could not pass up the opportunity to sneak in some interview questions for this class as well.
Kathleen has been a leader since birth (according to her twin brother) but has always considered herself an introvert. From then on she had taken up leadership roles in high school, college and of course her professional career. In that time she has had a lot of experience supervising staff of all kinds from student staff to graduate staff to professional staff. She said the biggest thing she has learned, regardless of the type of staff member, about leadership is that it is different then management. She said “leadership is about moving an organization forward and being an advocate for not only the organization but the people in it”. She said you need to see the steps ahead and be able to articulate where you need to go and how to get there. Kathleen also said it is really important to recognize and understand the people you are working with, she said “supervising an RA who wants to be an engineer is different then supervising one that wants to be a director of residence life; they have different needs”.
Interviewing Kathleen Kerr was definitely and experience I will remember and gave me new ways to look at leadership and the supervision of staff, I hope it did the same for you.