Linda Clement, Vice President, Division of Student Affairs
1. Why is cultivating a thriving workplace important to you?
I have been working on campus for over 40 years, as have many of my colleagues in Student Affairs. During my time in several departments and divisions, I have learned that an engaged workforce is our most important strength. When our employees feel connected to the institution, they build stronger relationships with other faculty and staff, they serve as good role models for our students, and they develop a loyalty to the University.
2. Why do you think it is important for the University to focus on this right now?
We are living in a tumultuous time in our nation’s history. Recent events on this campus are no exception. As an institution, we must build a campus culture that is strong and safe, where diversity is embraced, differences are valued, and students feel comfortable learning and growing. To accomplish this, we must create a workplace where all employees at every level feel they have a vital role in the education and development of our students.
3. Tell me about a time you were doing your work with passion and feeling a profound connection to your organization. What were you doing? How did you feel?
Shortly after the tragic murder of Lt. Collins on our campus in May, I called my staff together for a listening session. Over 120 staff members gathered to share their feelings and their fears. Colleagues who are young and old, graduate students and AVP’s, multiple races, ethnicities and sexual orientations, representing all 14 of our diverse departments, came together for a very honest, authentic conversation. I was so moved by their willingness to be vulnerable and share their thoughts and feelings with me, and other staff in our division. The openness and honesty gave me hope for our community.
4. What are some things you are doing to promote a thriving workplace in your College?
Early on after results were received, we specifically set objectives for departments to develop action plans. I have charged a workgroup to meet and share best practices. We have identified a TWI representative in each unit who is responsible for moving the agenda forward in their departments. Some of our best practices have been shared and then adopted by other units. Increasing communication efforts within and across departments has been one of our common themes in Student Affairs.
5. What is something you have learned about yourself and your leadership through your work with the Thriving Workplace Initiative?
The Thriving Workplace Initiative has reinforced the importance of an active, engaged workforce. Employees who feel invested in their roles are aware of the greater mission of their organization, and are offered opportunities for development and input, are happier, healthier, and more committed to the success of the students, their units, the Division, and the University.
For more information on past Thoughts on Thriving, click below for more: