Dean of Admission
Texas Christian University
How did you become the dean of admission at TCU? What led you to this field?
My journey to our work has some of the typical elements with which NACAC members will relate, but the path has been circuitous. Actively engaged in my college (The George Washington University) community as a tour guide, orientation leader, and student employee in admission, I eschewed the straight-to-admission counselor role for which I seemed primed. Instead, I earned a master’s degree in public policy and worked for a year for former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, from whom I had taken a labor economics course in graduate school. At that time, my goal was to pursue a career in education policy, so student development has always been close to my heart. Eventually, as if the admission community released its pheromones to me, I was drawn back to the Office of Admission at GW. After a few years, an exciting opportunity presented itself to become the inaugural director of college counseling at Solomon Schechter School of Westchester. Four great years were followed by an equally gratifying tenure at the Hockaday School in Dallas. During that time, I served on the Texas ACAC board and connected with folks from TCU. When the director of freshman admission position opened up I was encouraged to apply. I’m now in my seventh year at TCU, my third as dean, and I’m more excited about our work today than I’ve ever been.
What is your favorite part of the job?
Increasingly, I understand the power of our profession. We are not distinct from the social structures and political machinations that impact our students’ lives. On the contrary, we play a leading role to ensure that the tides working against our young people – especially those from marginalized communities – are turned. While I am equally thrilled today as I was the day I started this profession to work directly with students, what really gets me pumped are the big conversations from which tectonic shifts emanate.
Do you have any advice for professionals new to the field?
Seek mentorship outside your office. Hopefully you find important relationships with co-workers, but external partners can provide a perspective free from office politics while keeping your best interests in mind. Thankfully, there is no shortage of intelligent, compassionate, and inspiring folks in our field.
Pay close attention to students whose backgrounds you don’t share.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing counselors today?
Counselors once needed intimate knowledge of the academic offerings and admission policies of countless institutions – a tall order, indeed. While no longer officially in a state of recession, our economy continues to cater to the wealthy. Growing income inequality means that more and more families are navigating the financial aid waters and so counselors now need to understand the intricacies of federal, state, and institutional aid policies, all while working with caseloads that average in the hundreds. Counselors face a nearly impossible task in this untenable system.
When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
Nights and weekends are for family, so I’m hanging with my favorite people: My wife of 13 years, Diana, our three children, Levyn (6th grade), Adielle (3rd grade), and Asher (Kindergarten), and our eighteen-year-old cat, Yummy. I’m also a sports junkie obsessed with history and politics. When I am not watching or sabermetrically analyzing my favorite teams (Lakers, Angels, Raiders, and, of course, TCU) I’m likely devouring the day’s news with Jeopardy! on in the background.
If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?
Jack Tripper of the TV show Three's Company
Describe yourself in five words.
Empathetic, logical, funny, ambiverted, progressive.
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