We recently had our first Admin Meeting! This was the first opportunity for almost all Teachers College administrative and support staff to meet face to face. At first you may think, ok, so what’s the big deal? Why is this so exciting? Well, for many of us admins in the Teachers College, we only know each other by email, phone, or not at all.
As great as our local silos may be, we realized we needed more. We need to be able to network with other admins, exchange information, share admin stories — we discovered we needed each other.
Prior to the big meeting, a group of us interviewed each admin over a two-month span. The interviews were a chance to gather data on what we really do and what the future could look like for admins. Based on these interviews, the message was clear: we all want the same things. We want better communication, a place to find information, and in general, just to know each other. But HOW do we achieve this?
At our first Admin Meeting, we started with a nice, conversational ice breaker: What non-work-related thing are you a mini-expert in? It was the perfect question to get all of us talking and comfortable with each other. Admins are so task-oriented it’s sometimes jarring when someone else takes an interest in what WE do and what motivates us.
Then, we all had the opportunity to brainstorm and come up with some tangible ideas to implement. Let’s just say, these ideas were an excellent launching pad for a lot of wonderful things to come for the admin group.
This first meeting went better than I expected. I knew it was going to be good and helpful, but I didn’t expect how fun it would be to get to know one another, or how exciting it’s going to be to see all of these ideas come to life.
So far, we have talked about having our own Slack channel, and having an Admin directory with our information and areas of expertise. We also discussed opportunities to get together, whether for a casual lunch, a session to learn something new, or a craft session for our mental sanity–I mean our mental health! Bottom line, we were talking, exchanging ideas, and eventually will be making these ideas a reality. So in closing, I am excited to see what awaits this lovely group of dedicated, hardworking, task-driven people.
Admin Extraordinaire to Associate Dean Punya Mishra