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The Student Affairs Mid-Level Administrator: The Power and Strength of Leading from the Middle

Career and Workforce Development Administrators in Graduate and Professional Student Services
Peggy Burke

Mid-level administrators often believe they have the hardest jobs within their organization. They are pulled in multiple directions by multiple people with multiple agendas and multiple deadlines. And yet, they do not have as many professional development opportunities designed for their specific needs as entry level professionals and senior-level leaders do. In this interactive session, we will explore the knowledge, skills, and abilities of successful mid-level administration as well as share advice on ways to chart your own success as a mid-level administrator in student affairs.  

Professional development of mid-level administrators is often overlooked and/or misunderstood. Assumptions are made that campus leaders are those individuals who occupy the highest levels within our institutions: president, chancellor, provost, dean, vice president, etc. If this was true, then the leadership of our complex organizations would be limited to just a handful of people; the pressing realities of our colleges and universities require leadership at all levels within the organization, especially at the mid-level. Another challenge is that most professional development efforts are focused on entry level and senior-level administrators. This effectively excludes the unique needs of the largest group of potential leaders on campus: mid-level-administrators.

During this session, we will explore the foundational skills of the successful mid-manager and the importance of leading from the middle of the organization. We will also share tips and advice on how to apply these concepts to achieve excellence as a mid-level administrator.  Middle managers are tasked with translating the institution’s strategy into implementation. “Mid-level managers are the key to institutional collaboration, collegiality and change” (Young, 2007). Let’s take some time together to specifically address the needs of this critically important group on our campuses. 

Learning Outcomes:

Participants will:

  • learn about the foundational skills necessary to be a successful mid-level administrator in student affairs;
  • explore the importance of leading from the middle; and 
  • begin to develop a plan of action to expand their own professional skills as a mid-level manager and leader within their organization.  
Course Length
Course Type
On Demand

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