Copyright, Steve Hambuchen
Institution: Lewis & Clark College
Title: Senior Assistant Dean of Admissions
1. What drew you to L&C?
I started working at Lewis & Clark in the summer of 2001 as a recent college graduate from Boston University. After a few years in the admissions office, I spent the next few years at home with my young children. When I returned to the work force, I was drawn back to working at Lewis & Clark. While I loved the community, I was looking for a way to challenge myself beyond my work and I started searching for graduate programs in higher education or student affairs. Since I was not planning to move my family there were very limited options open to me. When I learned that this new program was starting right here at L&C I jumped at the opportunity to fulfill my goal of graduate studies.
2. Most memorable moment from your classroom so far?
I really appreciated my cohort members. We were all very different from one another and we had very different experiences, both in life and in student affairs. I learned more than I ever expected to about the fields that my peers were most interested in like Greek life, disability support services, athletics, inclusion, career services, and residence life. While I knew that my future likely would be in enrollment management, I enjoyed the exposure that I got from our coursework, but also from each other. I didn’t know ahead of time if I would like the cohort model, but I definitely did.
3. How do you plan on using what you are learning in the SAA Program?
I had worked in higher education for a while prior to the program and I felt like I had a good handle on what it was all about. But I feel like I understand how institutions work much better after completing the program. I use what I learned all the time to help students understand not only the college I represent, but also what they should expect of going to college in general and how that might vary depending on the type of institution they attend. My job is not always to get students to come to Lewis & Clark. Sometimes I find myself doing more general counseling about options and I feel much more prepared to do that after the SAA program.
4. What is the most important thing you learned at Lewis & Clark that you are already putting into practice outside of the classroom?
I believe that I think more critically about why we do the things we do in higher education, whether they work, and how we can gather data that tells us whether they work. This sounds easy, but it’s actually very challenging. I’ve learned that trusting entropy is problematic for many reasons, but particularly for issues around equity and access. Colleges and universities are particularly resistant to change, or slow to change and it is imperative that we reassess what we do in all facets of higher education in order to ensure that we are creating institutions that really meet the goals of higher education.
5. Has anything changed since you began?
I have held a couple different positions at Lewis & Clark since 2001. When I started the SAA program, I was working as a financial aid counselor. During the program, I moved back to the admissions office.