Vice Deanship: A Juggling Act
- by Georgette Chapman Phillips
I love my job!
That’s the first thing I tell people when they ask me about my position as Vice Dean and Director of the Wharton Undergraduate Division. There is never a dull moment as I tackle issues with admissions, curriculum, student life, fundraising and operations. These are just a few of the administrative areas that I manage as director of a division responsible for over 2,000 students.
What people forget, however, is that most vice deans are also full-time faculty. We span the divide of administrator and professor, juggling the two responsibilities while trying to remain grounded and sane.
Though I may not always maintain a firm grasp on sanity as I manage my myriad tasks, I do enjoy the challenging schedule. For example, the other morning I was analyzing admissions trends with the Undergraduate Division program directors. We had lively discussions on the challenges of higher education admissions, our successes and our plans for the upcoming year that will help us reach the students who make Wharton such a wonderful community.
I then switched gears in the afternoon to work on my first real estate course presentation for the fall. I had to freshen up the PowerPoint, make it reflect a constantly changing market and make certain it was aligning with the syllabus I had submitted to my department weeks before.
I definitely have moments when I don’t think anything will get done on time, but it’s totally worth it for such a unique viewpoint. The ability to “walk in both worlds” allows me to see the students from the administrative angle, when they are grappling with schedules or interested in new student initiatives, and the faculty angle, when they come to me for help with classwork or to talk about course materials. I can understand the complexities of higher education far better given the dichotomy of my role, and I feel it is invaluable experience as a professional and as a person. Even though I may sometimes seem pulled in two directions, I am able to hone in on one objective—ensuring that Wharton undergraduates are getting the best possible education.