Connecting with Administrators
Chancellor. Vice Chancellor. Provost. Dean. College is filled with administrators with titles that may sound scary and intimidating. However for anyone thinking about coming to Vanderbilt, or who is already here, I’d like to take this post to talk about how accessible the administration is, which is super cool, because it means that students like you and me really get a chance to connect with them and make changes happen.
From your first day on the Martha Rivers Ingram Commons, you’ll meet Dean Beasley, who is one of the most amazing people you will ever meet and a super strong advocate for students. While you and your parents will likely run into her at a dessert reception, between dinners and book clubs at her house hosted all year long she is rarely more than an email response away. Her dinners are organized around special topics and are often a great place for dialogue and connecting with others who share the same passions as you. She is known for really helping students find ways to advocate for themselves and implement change on campus (and as a Professor of Communication Studies, she is pretty awesome at helping students work through what points they want to get across). She isn’t the only administrator you will see regularly though!
It has recently been announced that our first Vice Chancellor for Diversity & Inclusion, Dr. George Hill, is retiring. While it is sad to see him leave the position, I am excited to see the new ideas brought on by our Interim Vice Chancellor Tina Smith and the ways the University continues to move forward. It also made me start to think it was a good time to reflect and share some of my experiences, after all, can you believe it has already been almost 2 years since Vanderbilt first created the position!
During his tenure as Vice Chancellor, Dr. Hill made a great effort to connect with students. One of those ways was with a Student Advisory Committee made up of students from across all the schools at Vanderbilt. From students at the Graduate School, Medical, Divinity, Nursing, Owen, and undergraduate programs, it was always a room filled with interesting perspectives to share. I enjoyed being able to share the perspectives of students with disabilities (the organization I represented) with Dr. Hill, and was amazed how easy it was to join the committee when I felt it was a perspective that would be valuable. There was no army of people to battle through to get a minute to talk to Dr. Hill. Instead he reached out and welcomed the perspective students across campus and I had to share.
There are tons of opportunities to get involved with the decisions being made on campus, whether you are interested in Athletics, Greek life, or even Parking on campus. Administrators regularly look for students to join committees and make their voices heard so never be afraid to reach out to one of those people with a fancy title in front of their name, they are often more than happy to sit down with undergrads and work with us to make Vanderbilt the best place it can be!