Amy N. Pennington, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students & Title IX Coordinator-Arkansas Tech University
July 18, 2019
Moving Up…Without Moving Out of Town
Over the past few years, I have often noticed that AVPs are frequently asked to give advice and counsel to new professionals on their career paths and how best to climb the student affairs professional ladder. We all know that no path is the same and the number of possibilities are infinite. However, as someone with a very non-traditional career path, I have often struggled with how best to respond.
This fall I will start year number twenty-two at the same institution. Yep, you read that correctly! My entire professional career has been at one institution. You may have noticed that this is not a common journey.
After an amazing undergraduate experience in which I was fortunate to fully engage in a variety of co-curricular leadership opportunities, including a work-study position as a campus tour guide that introduced me to the student affairs field, I was offered a student recruitment and publicity specialist position in Admissions and Enrollment Management. I graduated in May and started, what I now recognize as my student affairs career, the following month. Over the years, I transitioned to Residence Life, International and Multicultural Student Services, Student Conduct, and now serve as AVP/Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator. Each transition represented an increase in my level of responsibility and added to my portfolio but never included a departure to a new campus. Many personal and professional factors account for my decision to stay at the same institution. While I fully recognize and appreciate the incredible value of being able to work on a variety of campuses (different experiences, missions, sizes, locations, etc.), other new professionals might find themselves in my situation. They too may need advice on how to navigate advancement opportunities if changing institutions is not an option or they, like me, find their home early in their career.
My personal story and experiences lead me to believe that it is possible to advance professionally at the same institution. Below is a little of what I have learned along the way, and what I commonly share when I am asked for advice:
Key to any successful and fulfilling career is finding a good fit. Advancing at the same institution can only be successful when you truly believe in the vision and mission of the campus in which you serve.
Amy N. Pennington
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students & Title IX Coordinator
Arkansas Tech University
To submit an article for publication on the AVP Blog please contact Kevin McCarthy, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at North Central College by clicking here.
Opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of NASPA. If you agree or disagree with the content of this post, we encourage you to dialogue in the comment section below. NASPA reserves the right to remove any blog that is inaccurate or offensive.