Putting Students First

Thomas Stafford, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, describes how he encouraged administrators to ensure they always put students first when implementing policies and programs. Dr. Stafford also describes his responsibilities as vice chancellor.

Interview on 2012-05-03


00:00:00.000 Well the way I like to describe this job-. People say what do you do and I say I'm the vice chancellor
00:00:06.373 and they say well what does that mean? [Laughs] Most people don't have any idea.
00:00:10.347 If you look at the division of student affairs
00:00:14.727 you will find a lot of different departments.
00:00:19.412 You've got Army ROTC and you've got music and you've got the student health center and then you've got Greek life, and I could go on and on.
00:00:28.685 My point is that there are a lot of different departments
00:00:33.625 in the division and they do different things
00:00:37.558 but in the final analysis they are all doing the same thing,
00:00:42.377 and that is they are providing either a program or a service
00:00:48.073 that is designed to have a significant impact on the education and the development of our students,
00:00:56.045 and that's why I use this,
00:00:59.773 "Students First," because that applies to everybody in the division.
00:01:04.482 It doesn't matter what department you're in or what job you have,
00:01:07.917 I want everybody to always think about whether or not what they're doing is going to have a strong positive impact on our students.
00:01:16.494 So my job, the one word I would use to describe my job,
00:01:23.320 is leadership.
00:01:25.480 My job is to provide the leadership for all these people who are in all of these departments and
00:01:32.269 to support them and provide the vision
00:01:38.494 that I want them to follow, and my vision is the one I just showed you on my cup, "Students First,"
00:01:45.081 and the other important value that I've emphasized has been the one on diversity that I mentioned earlier.
00:01:53.412 I want everybody to work hard to create that environment that welcomes everybody regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, or handicap, or disability.
00:02:05.649 So the role of a leader is to provide a vision,
00:02:11.324 to ensure that a good team of people are in place,
00:02:16.560 and to support that team and motivate that team and recognize them when they've done a great job.