Perspectives from an Interim Dean of Students

Dr. Scott Brown
Interim Dean of Students
Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, Arizona)


[Editor’s Note: This article is one of a five-part series presented in this Special Issue, which offers perspectives from Registry interims serving amidst the ongoing pandemic.]

With this as my first placement, I was delighted to find a different, but powerful purpose in my work at Northern Arizona University. Being a true interim with no personal expectation of being a permanent candidate is quite liberating, and allows for a greater clarity in helping my supervisor and the staff truly focus and articulate what is most important: What questions do they need answered? What answers do they need questioned? And coming in with a full COVID Fall underway, it was important to appreciate the profound amount of work that was in motion when I arrived, mid-stream.

Frankly, my most helpful contribution has been to provide some useful context, so they understood how significant their work has been, and be an extra set of hands to help where it was needed most: supporting and stabilizing a staff that has been dealing with the churn of change for far too long.  In a normal crisis, no matter how bad, there is always a beginning, middle and end. This, however, is like sprinting with disappearing finish lines.



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