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What have we learned at Maryville College? Managing Student Affairs During Hard Times.

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Presentation on theme: "What have we learned at Maryville College? Managing Student Affairs During Hard Times."— Presentation transcript:

1 What have we learned at Maryville College? Managing Student Affairs During Hard Times

2 Subtitled: “A great way to accelerate your development as a leader is to successfully handle a crisis.” Or “Never waste a good crisis!”

3 Where we are going: Maryville College – The Roaring 2000’s The Crisis How Should Leaders Respond to Crisis The Campus Reaction and Student Development’s Response What We Learned Along the Way Tell Us About Your Campuses The Two Questions 1. What can we learn from these experiences? 2. How can we be better prepared in the future?

4 The Roaring 2000’s! A History Lesson  The 2001 Maryville College Strategic Plan  Unprecedented enrollment  Unprecedented investment in infrastructure, deferred maintenance, and new construction  Unprecedented debt

5 And then, FY09 and the Recession  5% percent drop in new student enrollment  9% decline in assets with debt remaining the same  25% drop in annual fund donors  Paralyzed capital campaign  Not enough cash to cover the budget (cash poor)

6 How should leaders respond to a crisis?

7 Seven Lessons for Leaders Leading through Crisis Bill George, Wall Street Journal, April 2009 1. Face Reality—Gather the team and gain agreement on the root causes (crucial step toward problem solving). “Everyone on the leadership team must be willing to tell the whole truth.” 2. No matter how bad things are, they will get worse. “Far better for leaders to anticipate the worst & get out in front of it” 3. Build a mountain of cash, and get to the highest hill. “In a crisis, cash is king.”

8 4. Get the world off your shoulders. “Leaders must have the help of all their people to devise solutions and implement them.” “This means bringing people into their confidence, asking them for help and ideas, and gaining their commitment to painful corrective actions.” 5. Before asking others to sacrifice, 1 st volunteer yourself. “Leaders should step up and make the greatest sacrifices”

9 6. Never waste a good crisis. “A crisis provides the leader with the platform to get things done that were required anyway & offers the sense of urgency to accelerate their implementation” 7. Be aggressive in the marketplace. “Crisis offers the best opportunity to change the game in your favor”

10 Maryville College’s Response to the Crisis Operational budget cuts Hiring freeze Staff position eliminations through attrition and lay-offs Graduated salary cuts Cuts in employee benefits Debt renegotiation with a different lending institution Increased oversight of spending Drew down on the endowment

11 Campus Reaction to the Crisis: Bunkers and Silos Transparency vs. secret meetings Managing the media Trust vs. mistrust Battles for limited resources How much to cut and from where? Faculty vs. Professional staff What to tell students? What to tell parents?

12 What We Have Learned: The Importance of Mission The Importance of Organizational Structure Right People in the Right Places The CSAO serves Multiple Roles Officer of the College Divisional Leader Focus on the Student Experience Demonstrate SD Relevance to the Institution Communication is Critical

13 The Importance of Mission The Maryville College Mission “Maryville College prepares students for lives of citizenship and leadership as we challenge each one to search for truth, grow in wisdom, work for justice, and dedicate a life of creativity and service to the peoples of the world.” What does it mean to be mission centered? How does that help in a crisis?

14 The Student Development Mission  DIVISIONAL GUIDING PRINCIPLES Safety always comes first. Students develop as whole persons. Environments must support learning.  DIVISIONAL MISSION STATEMENT “Student Development staff and programs challenge Maryville College students to thrive as leaders and citizens.”

15 Get the right people in the right places. How do you know? Staff reviewsDivisional assessmentGut feeling As personnel changes occur, voluntarily or not: Downsize with continuous improvement. Rethink the Divisional structure. Blow it up? Program creation vs. program elimination The Importance of Organizational Structure

16 Student Development Team Structure THREE TIERS: “All Staff” 3 gatherings per year for Professional Development and socializing Responsible for achieving Divisional and Program goals “Super Six” Advise the Vice President Have Big Picture Divisional budget responsibility Determine Divisional goals Meet as needed Directors Program oversight, report to Super Six Program budget responsibility Accountable for program goals and activities Meet 4-5 times per year

17 The CSAO Serves Multiple Roles What is the CSAO’s role within the senior leadership team? How can I help avoid a campus turf battles? How can I lead collaboration? How can I help preserve mutual trust on the Cabinet? What is the CSAO’s role within the SD Division? How much information do I share and with whom? How do I realistically reassure others? Who takes care of me?

18 Focus on the Student Experience NEVER forget the students. Remember the one really important question: “What actions will have the least negative affect on our students?”

19 Show Student Development’s relevance to the success of the institution. Assess, assess, assess! Know where there is under-performance. Demonstrate Relevance to the Institution

20 Share important information Who needs to know what? Make sure information is accurate and clear. Consider timing of BIG announcements. People create there own truth. Communication is Critical

21 What Happened on Your Campus?

22 “barn’s burnt down… now i can see the moon”  FINAL THOUGHTS FOR LEADERS A clear vision is essential when crisis occurs. Know your allies and ask them for help. Sometimes you have to blow things up and start over. Believe that good things can and do surface eventually. Don’t ever pretend to know more than you do.

23 Contact Us Vandy Kemp Vice President and Dean of Students vandy.kemp@maryvillecollege.edu Dr. Andy Lewter Associate Dean of Students andy.lewter@maryvillecollege.edu


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