Faculty members are the lifeblood of any university. Their work with students and contributions to academic research are the reason development officers work so hard to raise private support. Furthermore, they are on the “ground level” with our students, so they know what’s going on in the classroom and individual students’ stories and aspirations.
As a Regional Officer, I found working with faculty to be one of the most rewarding aspects of my job and one of the best ways to stay in the loop on campus events (which is important, considering I’m thousands of miles from Athens). Establishing partnerships with faculty members has also been beneficial in terms of the work I do with alumni and donors in my region.
For example, Dr. James Hamilton, the head of the Grady In LA program has been key in my work in Los Angeles. Not only does he keep me informed on the students currently enrolled in the program (great stories to share with donors!) but he and I have also worked together on providing speaking engagements/mentorships for alumni that are interested in connecting with students.
When working with faculty, I’ve found that it’s key to remember that their priority is teaching and research. For example, I try to be sensitive to the fact that during finals, professors are likely to be dealing with students. Similarly, immediately after final exams, faculty are often grading tests and papers, and working to compile grades. I’ve found that understanding the fact that faculty and development officers sometimes have different priorities and time tables is important when establishing partnerships across campus.
These relationships with professors continue to inspire me, remind me why I’m doing the work that I do, and remain one of the best parts of my job!