First Time NASPA AVP Institute Attendee

NASPA AVP Institute convened in Tampa, Florida for the 2017 NASPA AVP Institute - Excellence in the “Number Two” Role. All attendees participated in the same cohort experience and were expected to engage fully in all aspects of the program .  It is a very intensive experience! Attendees stayed connected through social media with the hashtag #AVP17! Take a look! 

Akirah Bradley was a first time attendee. Here's her story: 

I started my position as the Associate Vice Chancellor & Dean of Students at the University of Colorado Boulder about 6 months ago, so I was extremely excited about the opportunity to attend the NASPA AVP institute. Attending the pre-conference for new AVPs was my introduction to the institute, and this allowed me to meet other newbies from across the nation in a much smaller setting than a regional or national NASPA conference.

Navigating the waters as a new AVP on a new campus has its rewards and challenges. Some of the rewards for me include building connections with new administrators committed to student success and having opportunities to be creative in a different environment. And as with most new positions, there is also the challenge of learning a new landscape of campus politics and  navigating the uniqueness of being in the middle role between the Vice Chancellor and Assistant Dean/ Director level.

Throughout the institute, I listened and engaged with institute faculty and my peers while taking copious notes. My notes were full of ideas to explore on my campus, questions for my Vice Chancellor, and even activities and topics of discussion for my staff.  Many of the sessions left me feeling affirmed, but some sessions produced more unanswered questions, which I will continue to explore. Each session inspired me and cemented additional levels of confidence as a new AVP navigating the number two role.

A mentor once told me that what makes me successful in previous positions may not make me successful as a Dean of Students / AVC. This was highlighted at the institute too and serves a critical and powerful piece of advice now more than ever. It is important, as a new AVP, for me to remember this and sit in that truth.

The institute allowed me the time to reflect and served as a mid-point check-in for my first year as an AVC. It was a meaningful pause from the day to day on my campus, and the opportunity to be surrounded by other AVPs and Deans with valuable insight and a different perspectives is necessary for innovation.  Sometimes I may not have the “right” answer, but being thoughtful, intentional, and using good judgement to develop creative solutions will have positive impact in the division of student affairs.

Sitting in my office about a week after the institute, I am eager to continue to do the work I am most passionate about, helping students succeed to their ultimate potential. I will do this by putting students first, and leading with authenticity and courage particularly in the current climate of the nation.