Is Middle Management Just Middle Ground for Me?
By Erin Halley
Conference Grant Recipient
Every year, the IACAC Annual Conference somehow finds me right where I am. Whether I attend a session as a newbie (now several years ago) and leave jazzed with even more newbie energy. Whether I figure out the grass isn’t necessarily greener or realize I am right where I need to be. IACAC always has something very fitting to offer me. Being in the world of higher education almost seven years, not to mention my four-year undergraduate experience, I think I am safe to consider myself a vet. Becoming a venerated counselor has brought me the opportunity to mentor and manage others in my role as assistant director.
It was two years ago at IACAC that I first attended a session about middle management. This came right before I received the opportunity to take on the role of an assistant director. It was just the start of the enrichment opportunities IACAC would provide me regarding middle management. This year, I was pleased to see another middle management session on the agenda. The Middle Management Institute Panel was my opportunity at the 2013 IACAC conference to focus on that area in my profession. As the title implies, it was a panel of IACAC members who have taken part in the Middle Management Institute (MMI). Panel members discussed their paths to middle management, what they took away from the MMI, as well as future career plans.
This portion of the session most interested me. The thought, “Do I want to be a director?” was discussed. Being an assistant director for two years now, I am still in the role that I need to be. However, I cannot say that the curiosity of where I will go next hasn’t crossed my mind. My director has been with the university for many years. We are very different people, and offer very different strengths to our admission team. That has made me wonder, could I do what he does? The MMI panel helped me realize, if and when I take that role, it will be different. My strengths will help me lead as a director. Hopefully I can combine his strengths with my own and offer them to my team in a way that suits me.
The only disappointment from the MMI session was simply the fact that this year’s Middle Management Institute falls on the same day as a registration and orientation event at my institution. My hope is to be a part of MMI in the near future.