Meet R5 Board Member Sean Ferris

April 18, 2017

Sean Ferris, Membership Coordinator
Student Affairs Specialist

University of Washington
[email protected]   
Years in the Profession: 10

Why did you get into student affairs?
I have a sappy belief in the power of education to transform people and as a result our society. For me, personally many of my most powerful learning moments in life have come outside of the classroom. When considering my profession as an educator, I wanted to find a way to capture the potential of life's learning moments and student affairs provided that opportunity.

What do you find meaningful in your work?
A college campus is a place of great excitement, possibility, and a positive outlook. Those feelings are contagious, and it is fun to work with colleagues and students who are bringing their best every day. I love working at an institution that places a high value on diversity, equity, and inclusion, environmental sustainability, discovery and innovation, the student experience. It's wonderful to work in a profession that shares these values.

What are you doing to ensure equity and inclusion are part of your everyday practice?
In my work, I have the opportunity to convene a lot of groups to work on various projects. Successful work with regards to diversity and inclusion starts inviting the right people to the table rather than focusing on an org chart. From there we have to make sure that we create an environment we trust one another and are willing to question and challenge the norms. I recently worked on a student recognition project for the three campuses of the University of Washington and diversity and inclusion was center stage in our approach. We challenged everything. The award criteria, marketing, and publicity, application system, review, and selection process, etc. were all viewed through a lens of access, diversity, and inclusion. Going into our second year, we have a lot of work to do, but we are building from a great foundation.

If you didn't go into student affairs, what profession do you think you would have chosen and why?
I think I would have ended up in a mountain town doing something that involved snowboarding or fishing. Maybe that's a second career to come!

What would a non-student affairs friend say about you?
A typical comment is something like, "not everyone lives in a world that is as progressive as a college campus." It feels good to be able to help push people's boundaries and hopefully expand their perspective as a result of what we do.

If you could have a super power, what would it be and why?
I'd like that Wolverine power where my body heals super fast. Getting older is painful!

What is your favorite non-work weekend activity?
FFly fishing or snowboarding are closely followed by not waking up to an alarm.

Anything else that we should know about you?
I really love to travel.

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