AVP SPOTLIGHT! Meet Juan Guardia of the University of Cincinnati

naspa avp steering committee

July 17, 2019

The AVP Spotlight series is an initiative of the NASPA AVP Steering Committee and is designed to highlight many of the outstanding contributions to the profession that are made by AVPs across the country.

This edition features Juan R. Guardia, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, for the Universtiy of Cincinnati.

AVP.   Please share with us your title, institution, years of service in your current role, and years of service as a student affairs professional.

JG.       I serve as the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students in the University of Cincinnati, Division of Student Affairs. I am wrapping up my 3rd year in this role and entering my 20th year as a student affairs professional this fall.

AVP.   Please share which units are within your portfolio in your current role.

JG.       My portfolio includes the following units: Bearcat Bands, Dean of Students Office, Marketing and Communication, Parent and Family Programs, Resident Education and Development, and Student Conduct and Community Standards. Since 2018, I also serve as the Interim Supervisor for the inclusion and retention units: African American Cultural and Resource Center, Ethnic Programs and Services, and the LGBTQ Center.

AVP.   What do you enjoy doing most in your current role?

JG.       The diversity of my portfolio! An example of a work week may include attending the Bearcat Bands Marching Band rehearsal, speaking with parents on behalf of Parent and Family programs, dropping in on programs sponsored by the three inclusion and retention units, and attending executive board meetings for the student organizations I advise. Those fun activities disrupt the cycle of weekly meetings.

AVP.   How are you involved in NASPA?

JG.       I have been involved with NASPA for over 15 years. I am currently involved with NASPA as a member of the AVP Steering Committee and planning committee member for the inaugural AVP Symposium, which takes place in January 2020. Previous involvement opportunities include Latinx/o/a Knowledge Community Co-Chair, serving as faculty, and later director, of the NUFP Dungy Leadership Institute, and on national convention planning committees.

AVP.   What is the best advice you would give to yourself as a new professional knowing what you know now?

JG.       I would advise new professionals that their reputations early on speaks volumes in this field; many times we’re only 1 degree of separation from others! Back in my day, there wasn’t much social media outside of MySpace or MiGente.com, and now it is an integral part of our personal and professional lives. As such, continually connect with colleagues and mentors who are honest and authentic in sharing advice that relate to your various online social identities.

AVP.   What is something you are most proud of as an AVP?

JG.       At UC, I am extremely proud of establishing the UC Safe Apartment. It’s a great partnership with our Residence Education and Development unit and offers students in crisis a living environment on a short-term basis who are at risk or perceived risk of harm if they stay in their current housing situation or are currently without a place to stay due to a victimization. Now in its third year, we have seen steady use and occupancy by our students.

AVP.   Our roles as an AVP can be challenging. What do you do outside of work to ensure that you’re fresh and energized for your campus job?

JG.       I am an avid runner. I completed the Chicago and Walt Disney World Marathons, several half marathons, and plenty of 5K/10Ks. It’s a great way to de-stress, reflect, and gather my thoughts as I tackle each day in my AVP role.

AVP.   What do you do for fun when you’re not working?

JG.       I thoroughly enjoying traveling! Living in Ohio, I fly home often to Miami, Florida to see family and friends and other parts of the country to ‘get away’ and totally immerse myself in those experiences.

AVP.   How do you balance your personal life with your professional responsibilities?

JG.       I practice self-care and make sure that my colleagues in my portfolio do the same. I have become better at saying ‘No’ to opportunities that may take me away from my personal relationships. Moreover, I definitely ‘work to live’ and embody that holistically.

AVP.   What are you reading now (or have you read recently)?

JG.       Currently I’m reading Dr. Gina Ann Garcia’s new text, Becoming Hispanic-serving institutions: Opportunities for colleges and universities. As an HSI alumnus and having previously worked at an HSI, it’s a great read on how these institutions are reframing and serving Latinx college students.

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