AVP Spotlight: Meet Maurice Washington of Morehouse College!

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October 11, 2017

This edition of the AVP Spotlight features Maurice Washington, Associate Vice President for Student Services and Dean of the College at Morehouse College.

The Basics

Maurice Washington, Associate Vice President for Student Services and Dean of the College, Morehouse College

Years of Service in current role:  One year, nine months

Years of Service in Student Affairs profession:  Over thirty years

Describe the units within your portfolio and if you have any specific duties in addition to providing supervision to those units.

As the Associate Vice President for Student Services and Dean of the College, I am responsible for managing and supervising seven units that are integral in providing service-oriented products and support to students:  Career Development and Engagement; Freshman Year Experience; Housing and Residential Education; International Student Services; Recreation, Intramural and Fitness; Student Conduct; and Student Life.  In addition to my role as Associate Vice President and Dean of the College, I have been appointed to serve on several campus committees, including co-leading the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/Commission on Colleges (SACS/COC) re-accreditation committee for the Division of Student Development as well as serving on the senior leadership team for Morehouse College.  I am also affiliated with several collaborative efforts that include both academic and administrative initiatives.

What do you enjoy doing most in your current role?

In my current role, I most enjoy facilitating activities and experiences that foster a greater and stronger embrace of students.  These activities are too numerous to mention, but having the opportunity to meet students where they are, provide consultation and mentorship and also support their transition from being a man of Morehouse to a Morehouse Man is incredible and truly rewarding. In addition to engaging students, I enjoy my involvement in the development of the student affairs practitioners I have the pleasure of supervising. I have always found joy in assisting and supporting the refinement of one’s vocation – particularly pathways in student affairs.

How have you been involved in NASPA, and do you currently serve NASPA?

I certainly make it a point to maintain my NASPA membership annually as well as participate in important initiatives sponsored by our association.  I have presented at and participated in NASPA supported programs (Aspiring Senior Student Affairs Institute; AVP Institute to name a few) throughout my tenure in student affairs; however, I have not served in a leadership role regionally or nationally.  Additionally, I have had the opportunity to introduce students to the student affairs profession and NASPA through the NUFP Fellows Program.  And, as a means to be an ambassador for NASPA and the student affairs profession, I make it a daily mission to represent the profession to the best of my abilities, while exuding the essence of leadership, mentorship and professionalism.

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

I have two responses for this question.  First, the book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, is something that has truly resonated with me during my first year in the Associate Vice President position.  Essentially, the role of the Associate Vice President is one that requires continuous learning and un-learning to have an effective practice.  What I thought I knew about the student affairs profession has been challenged every day. However, keeping up on trends and reaching out to my peers has helped me reconcile any dissonance I have faced in my relatively short tenure in the Associate Vice President position.  Second, I am acutely aware that planning is essential!  I have found that this is an invaluable proficiency to incorporate and not just think about planning. Planning for success as well as planning for the challenges and obstacles will truly make a world of difference in successfully executing the multiple tasks of the Associate Vice President position. 

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

As Associate Vice President for Student Services and Dean of the College at Morehouse College, one of my most proud accomplishments was the launching of the Residential College platform.  One element of this platform for which I had a direct impact was the launching of four (4) centers of excellence throughout the campus - the Career Development and Engagement Center, the Dean’s Suite, the Residential Commons and the White Hall Center of Excellence for the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps.  Together, these centers provide resources, development and outreach opportunities that support student success and retention strategies.

AVP roles are challenging!  What do you do outside of work to ensure that you’re fresh and energized for your campus job?

Indeed the roles and responsibilities of an Associate Vice President are multi-layered and challenging, but they are also equally as rewarding.  Having the opportunity to support students through the challenges of college while preparing them for even more rigorous encounters as a productive citizen in society is a priceless experience.  So that I am renewed and rejuvenated, I take great pleasure in enjoying the serenity of lounging on my deck.  As a reflective practitioner and so that I am mentally prepared to be my best self at work, I take time to meditate daily and reflect upon the many facets of my life.

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

I am a (New York) sports fanatic.  As a native of New York, I must make time to watch and (hopefully) enjoy my New York Giants; Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Jets, and Rangers. Watching sports helps me to release any stored negative energy.  In addition and when I have the opportunity, I enjoy traveling; and if I can travel to a beach, that is even better!

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

The work of being an Associate Vice President is constant and continuous.  As a means to enjoy a balanced quality of life, oftentimes, I arrive at the office early and many evenings stay on campus late for student engagement activities.  But when I drive off the campus after a long day, I make a very conscious effort to re-align my focus with spending time with my wife and son and enjoying home life. And, when the time on campus extends into the family time, my wife politely calls and provides the “reality check” message to come home.

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

Currently, I am actually reading two books - Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson and Living Your Discipleship by Kathleen A. Cahalan and Laura Kelly Fanucci.  Both books are helping me rekindle and strengthen some of my values and principles that guide my life’s journey.

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