Let’s Talk About The People in the Background

With the social, economic, and political landscape that we are faced with in 2017, there are so many challenges that we must confront. With my work as a Higher Education Professional, I often sit in meetings where we think critically about the needs of our students and how we can connect them to the resources that will assist them in navigating these challenges. We ask ourselves, what have our students been saying about xyz topic? How do we engage them in reflection and dialogue about xyz topic? Are there statements we need to make as an office about xyz issue? How do we let students know that our office is a “safe space” for them to discuss their thoughts, feelings, and concerns? While these are all really great questions, we often neglect to recognize the need to extend this same support to the people we sit across the conference room table from every week, our colleagues and staff. Those of us who often live and work in the background to make our workplace successful without proper acknowledgment or recognition. BLOOP!

About Me:

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One area of specific interest to me centers on best practices the field of Higher Education should employ to support, develop, and maintain non-tenure, full-time, full-benefit administrative staff. As a field centered on education of the masses, not nearly enough emphasis is placed on the development, support, and engagement of those who lead the charge. It is imperative that we, especially as professionals of color, synthesize the impact of global issues on the personal and professional to remain centered and engaged with our work. Because of my passion for working with the learning and development of staff, I decided to forgo the traditional path of a Student Affairs Doctored degree and found my place in the Adult Learning, Leadership, and Organization Development ED.D. Program at the University of Georgia.

It is important for me to make sure that you understand the lens from which I will be approaching these blog posts. I attended the Social Justice Education program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and have done extensive inner-work, reflection, and development of my identity as a person, facilitator, and educator. With this deep and constant reflection, I center identity, social justice, equity, and practicality in all that I do. Therefore, you will be challenged to think more critically about your workplace environment, no matter the professional level. Meaning, you will have to look at yourself in that proverbial mirror and ask yourself questions about your experience, satisfaction, engagement, and development in the place you spend the majority of your time, the workplace.

What to Expect:

As I move forward in my professional experience, I would like to shift my attention to questioning and exploring best practices for successful recruitment and retention of faculty and staff members of color.

Each month, you should expect me to challenge and push our thinking around:

  • What are key factors to employee satisfaction and belonging in the workplace
  • How to create more welcoming and inclusive environment for your employees?
  • How do you center continuous learning in the workplace and support employee retention and application of new knowledge?
  • How can the institutional onboarding processes embody the commitment to services and retention of faculty and staff of color?
  • Are there best practices employed in other fields (i.e. business) that can provide a foundation for an institutional and organizational change?
  • What are those factors that have maintained the satisfaction of employees with 10+ years of service?

These are just a few of the topics that we will use as a framework to engage in dialogue about the important developmental and resource needs of employees in the workplace.

Until Next Time…

Sarayfah

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