Five Questions with Tammy McGuckin
The University of Wisconsin-Parkside's new Dean of Students is Tammy McGuckin. She comes to Kenosha after serving in administrative capacities at universities in Florida and Alabama. RT recently asked her about her career, her goals for our campus, and the possibility she'll take up ski jumping to wile away the winter months.
Ranger Today: Give us a quick synopsis of your professional career and the professional accomplishment of which you're most proud?
McGuckin: I started my career in Housing and Residence Life at the University of Alabama where I served as a resident assistant, graduate hall director, residence life coordinator, and assistant director of housing operations. In 1998, I took a position as the assistant director of housing and residence life at the University of West Florida (UWF) in Pensacola. While working on my doctorate at UWF, I was given the opportunity to work as the executive assistant to the vice president for student affairs. You may be familiar with her: Debbie Ford. She's now the chancellor at UW-Parkside.
After completing my doctorate, I was promoted to assistant vice president for student affairs and then assistant VP / Dean of Students. In those roles, I supervised counseling, health and wellness, child care, career services, student transition programs, student government, student rights and responsibilities, and inclusion services and programs. I left UWF after 14 wonderful years of working with students and being the recipient of amazing professional advancement opportunities.
As for my greatest professional accomplishment, I'm going to say partnership building. Building strong relationships with faculty/staff colleagues allows us to do the work that we do to support students. I hope to build many strong partnerships at UW-Parkside.
RT: What do you see as your immediate priorities for this job?
TM: Getting to know the student affairs staff, learning about the great programs and services being provided for our students, building relationships with administrative colleagues, faculty, and staff; and being an advocate for students.
RT: What are your long term goals at UW-Parkside?
TM: Creating a strategic plan for student affairs that aligns with the UW-Parkside Promise and academic plan, continuing to develop/strengthen partnerships between student affairs and academic affairs, improving retention/graduation rates, increasing the residential population, and increasing professional development opportunities for the student affairs staff.
RT: With the large number of first-generation students at UW-Parkside, you're going to be dealing with "freshmen parents" as well as freshmen students. What will you do--can you do--to help lower the anxiety level for parents and students?
TM: I am a first-generation student and I remember being on my own for the first time, 11 hours from home. It's a stressful time for students and parents. I think it's important that students and parents know that we share the same goals--we want to see students succeed academically, develop individually, and reach their career and life goals. We need to make sure that they know we are here to help!
RT: What are your favorite leisure activities? Are you planning to take up any winter sports--ski jumping, ice hockey, snowmobile racing? Seriously, is there something you look forward to doing--inside or outdoors--to befriend winter?TM: I enjoy reading for pleasure--my favorite authors include James Patterson, Tom Clancy, John Grisham, John Jakes, Lisa Gardner, and Larry McMurtry; watching college football, and playing with my 1-year old Shih Tzu, Finnegan. As for winter activities, I plan to start out slow and easy this first year working on mastering the art of creating snow angels and snowmen! I'm looking at this as an adventure and an opportunity to buy a whole new wardrobe.