To Be or Not To Be?

During graduate school I was working with a staff member who asked if I would help critique her mission statement. I happily agreed and noticed that when I was done there was much more red ink than black. She was almost putting herself down in her mission statement and it was full of “try” and “maybe”.

When I asked her how she wrote it, she said that she just did. She didn’t have a process for it and was never told one.

That sparked my interest in mapping out a process for writing an effective mission statement. What is attached in the PowerPoint that I put together for the session I presented at NASPA’s IV-West Conference, and the workbook sheets in word document form.

The process has been helpful with students who do not have a process for writing their mission statement. It uses my definition of what makes an effective mission statement, and has been adapted to be used at multiple institutions. I have not used it as a workbook but as a guided process with homework.

For my own uses, it has been helpful in providing a framework for students and staff, as well as myself in revising my own mission statement.The one listed was the one I had written in 2008.


Ways I Influence Others

This is an early version of a leadership development activity outline I did for an independent study course I taught. The purpose is to identify different ways that you influence other people through leadership and take that from an abstract term and turn into a specific tactic with an action plan.

I showed my example first and talked the student through one process and had him bring another to the next class. Next time I use it I will tweak it and put together more of a process guide with reflective questions as well as a check-up sheet for the student to reflect on the effectiveness of their action plan later.

It was helpful for the student to have a process and criteria for making his ideas specific and actionable. I myself created 10 and use those to this day to ensure a more inclusive and proactive approach to leadership and staff development.

Staff Norming Activity


These four pictures are of Worldes ( that I made from an activity we did at our first complex staff meeting.

I asked each of the RAs (21) to list out on post-it notes as many answers as they could think of for 4 different questions. The questions were listed on large posters along the wall. If they agreed with someone’s answer they could leave a check-mark on their post-it. The four questions were:

1. What do we fear?

2. What do we want to learn?

3. What skills do we bring?

4. By the end of the year, what words do we want to describe our resident’s experiences?

The answers were astounding! The larger the word, the more often it was given. We have done a few of these activities involving posters and post-it notes to provide us with a visual to process group norms and values with. The staff have been very receptive, excited to participate and enjoy the visuals afterwards. The only editing I needed to do was in the Fears worlde. Originally, the Phillie’s losing the world series was so big that it was difficult to see anything else. After we removed that from our list of fears, it became easier to see all of them. I had no idea before this activity how many Phillie’s fans I had on staff!

From here we will use these to set some group goals and write a staff mission statement as well as define success for us as a staff in terms of our student’s experience.

Get Involved In Greatness

Every year, we welcome the first year residents to the University and into the Complex culture at our first building and floor meetings. This year I challenged them to “Get Involved In Greatness”. I explained what that means and gave them three tips on how to best do that. (1. Try something new, 2. Learn from your mistakes, 3. Participate).

To reiterate that message, I designed this poster to go up a week or so after that meeting and included our complex mascot (the mustached dingo).

With this, we are starting our core message of “Get Involved in Greatness”. Simply put, that means  finding your talents, matching them with opportunities for involvement and then making something great happen. We are carrying this theme throughout the year and will unveil various marketing methods to keep this at the forefront of our residents minds.

This poster was inspired by those somewhat cheesy inspirational posters and is aimed at creating a memorable message. The feeling with this is a bit cheesy and ridiculous, but stands out and gets the message on their mind while tying in our unofficial complex mascot.

This poster was designed using Phoster (for the iPad) and Photoshop CS5.


Tips For Safety

Here is a poster I created for our 3rd Annual Tips for Safety. This was an event I was helping plan and run that brings various offices from all over campus together to put on interactive activities where students learn safety tips. They write those tips down and for every tip up to 15 they get a raffle ticket.

This poster was designed in Adobe Photoshop CS5. My inspiration was a poster that would stand out to first year college students. The background image was borrowed from an another source with the text layout being my addition. I loved the playfulness, fun and pop that Marilyn Monroe brought to this event. This year was the best turn-out that we have had in years and was a fantastic event!


Banner Project

Here is a banner that I designed with colleagues for the Office of Residence Life to display at various events. We used this for New Student Orientation and plan on bringing this to any event where staff or representing the department.

This was designed in Adobe PhotoShop CS5 and was printed in a large banner roughly 6 feet tall. I worked with colleagues on ideas and feedback to help make this vision a reality and to help us stand out.

The banner incorporates pictures of campus life, the ORL Mission Statement, and official University of Delaware colors.