New Adventures

Humbled, excited to serve, to grow, and learn…

When I was 22 years old, living in England (Kensington, London) for a summer with an internship and college course, I had a wonderful professor who told me I was smart.  I had gone my whole life up to this point, without ever hearing those words.  He pulled me aside after class one day and said, “ Natalie, you really get the content of the course; you’re smart.  Have you thought of graduate school?”

I was struck by this compliment.  I don’t think I am overly smart or intelligent but I am a very hard worker, very determined, and very consistent.  To get A’s or B’s through high school and college, I had to work incredibly hard.  It does not come easy for me. I didn’t realize with graduate school, that work ethic, determination, and consistency would be my key to success and strong grades.

I wanted to become a professor.  To teach at a college, write, do research, and work with students.  I found myself teaching at Purdue for 4 years, then as an Extension Educator, then Extension Director, then as a court program coordinator and grant writer, and also teaching part-time at Ancilla starting in 2017.  In 2020, when Marian University purchased the Ancilla, my opportunity to become a professor and department head was established.

The work of a professor or faculty member is always filled with challenges, creativity, and lots of room for collaboration.  This position was my dream.  I have loved every minute of it and have worked hard to build a program, build curriculum, teach overloads, recruit students, build partnerships, create internships, etc.

Content and happy with this role, I found myself a few weeks ago in conversations for even a bigger leadership role, as a Dean.  This aspiration was on my professional development documents but I thought if the opportunity was going to come, it would come 10 years down the road.  But it presented itself, now. 

This past week, I am honored to accept a new leadership position in the form of becoming a Dean.  The Dean of Academics.  This was a dream, a goal, a wild ambition and a roller-coaster of a ride the past couple of weeks have been.  Lots of conversations, interviews, and talks with my husband, thinking, praying, and concerned about leaving my current position, going to contractual work, and focusing on this, one career. I have worked at least 2 or more jobs or contracts for years. I am ready to focus on just one.  I welcome having just one career. 

I am very humbled, excited, scared, anxious, and a million other emotions.  But mostly I feel that I will learn so much in this role and continue to grow as a leader.  I shared with the faculty a quote I found (Dr. Brene Brown quote) that states “Clear is Kind.  Unclear is unkind.”  That is my focus, that is my quote, and that is how I will lead.  From a position of servitude, with clarity, and with kindness.  Thank you for all the kind words of support, well wishes and congrats that have been sent my way. 

Cheers to new adventures!   

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