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AS Student Program Assessment Coordinator and SPAC (Structure and Program Advisory Committee) Chair, Matt Smith
What are some of your position or department’s responsibilities in relation to other AS departments?
My position entails working with seven offices a year to assess, create meaningful suggestions for change and long or short term student needs, and search for consistent problems or opportunities, which goes through the SPAC office and into the AS. We guide the AS Assessments in an every-four-year rotation. Initially relying on AS departments to do their own assessments were not sufficient enough for meaningful changes, which is why my position/office was created.
What are some work tips you would pass on to an employee with similar job duties?
Don’t lose sight of why you chose the job, and don’t forget what engaged you. Focus on aspects that engage you and create change for others. Be an active listener and take the time to listen to the concerns and experiences of others, to avoid creating a poisonous environment and workplace. The AS is a complex, dynamic organization and we are not there to judge others.
What are some work practices that works best for you in your position?
Being focused on relational aspects in terms of support, and interaction between person to person makes higher quality assessments. I also focus on thinking outside of just getting the job done, as I work in a very unique setting with a constant turnover of student staff. Making people feel supported, and being organized; focusing on categorizing/organizing the work you do works best. It’s a bureaucratic organization, so I keep organized on a lot of documents. Focusing on each position by themselves and focusing on what is working works best.
What is the most difficult and interesting part of your position at WWU?
I deal with a lot of complex issues, some that are really diverging, and challenging the assessment process isn’t everything. Sometimes the issue is so multifaceted that it takes more than one recommendation to change it. Working with logistical budget constraints and the realities that change may not be possible financially or personnel wise can be difficult.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Just don’t lose sight of the change and impact you’re able to create!
Q: What are some work tips you would pass on to an employee with similar job duties?
I would say to always put students’ needs first, and make sure you’re there to help them. It’s a very bureaucratic system at the office with e-forms, and there’s lots of layers of steps to get things done. I emphasize always being of support, so students and staff can come to me. I want to be of help, and I prioritize my time around helping students. I recommend scheduling using Outlook for deadlines and goals.
Q: What are some work practices that work best for you in your position?
I use to-do lists for accomplishing short and long term tasks/goals, and Outlook calendars to schedule due dates and tasks. I work with a student, so I also make sure she is supported every day. Being prepared for interruptions during work, as well as multitasking and being good and open for communication has worked best.
Q: What is the most difficult and interesting part of your position in WWU?
The interesting part of my position is working with a diverse student and staff population, and the most difficult part of my position includes tight deadlines and a heavy responsibility being part of the Finance Office. As we send out information to various departments across campus, the information we send must be extremely accurate. Its difficult letting others know you are delayed as you are keeping up with all the deadlines, as interesting things/obstacles may pop up suddenly. To break up the intense workload, we make the atmosphere light, we laugh a lot; we work hard, and we try to mix it with fun times as well!
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