It’s a been a tremendously exciting and productive quarter preparing to become OSU’s next VPSA, and I’m thrilled that July 1 has arrived. Larry Roper, Jodi Nelson and I have met regularly over the past three months to discuss projects and topics that lay the groundwork for a smooth and thoughtful transition. I am grateful to them for the care they’ve put into this work, as well as to all the members of the Division who have extended such warm welcomes to me.

There are certainly advantages to transitioning into this new role from within the University. I share already in OSU’s most deeply held values and cultures: our land-grant ethos of service and access, our affinity for collaboration and cross-disciplinary innovation, our history of (and ongoing commitment to) striving for deeper levels of inclusivity, our pride in ensuring individually compelling educational experiences for all of our students.

Although I’m an OSU insider, I don’t plan to bypass the opportunity for slowing down and learning that comes naturally when a new leader arrives on campus from another institution.  So over the next few months, you’ll see me doing lots of listening and asking questions. Here are a few highlights:

  • Meet-and-greet meetings with each Student Affairs unit and tours of facilities to listen and learn from people across our organization
  • Meetings with student leaders across campus to learn their goals, aspirations, and plans and to look for the best ways for me to stay connected and supportive throughout the year
  • The Student Affairs Leadership Team (SALT) summer retreat (July 7 & 8) where participants will have a chance to reflect on and communicate “What do we want Susie to know about SALT and Student Affairs?”, and other topics aimed at taking stock of where we are and projecting where we want to go in the future.

I also plan to maintain an “open door policy” for my office on the 6th floor of Kerr Administration Building. You are all invited to stop by any time. If I’m not there or am in a meeting, please leave me a note, and I’ll follow up with you as soon as I can.

Many people have told me over the past months, “Those are big shoes to fill,” referring to Larry’s remarkable leadership both here and nationally in higher ed circles. While I know well the measure of Larry’s proverbial shoe size, I think not so much about how big the shoes are, but how inspiring. I feel honored and privileged to be taking the hand-off from Larry. And knowing that I’m now on the team of OSU’s amazing Student Affairs people, I am energized and inspired for the next era of Student Affairs excellence at OSU.

Best wishes for the summer months, and I look forward to seeing and meeting you the departmental meetings this summer.


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