Miami administrator draws from 29 years of experience, collaboration with colleagues
UH’s search for a new vice chancellor and vice president for student affairs continued as candidate finalist Richard Walker made his case at an open forum interview Thursday in the University Center Lone Star Room.
“I believe my progressively responsible professional experience in higher education, at both public and private institutions, over the past 29 years makes me a well-qualified candidate for the position,” said Walker in his resume.
Walker, currently serving as the associate vice president for student affairs at the University of Miami, also holds a doctorate in education from the school.
In his resume, he said that his work contributed to the University of Miami’s rise in the U.S. News & World Report ranking to 47th from 67th in student experience.
“I am definitely a student affairs educator who is student-centered; to me it is about enhancing the student learning experience through curricular and co-curricular opportunities which support the academic mission of the institution,” Walker said.
At the forum, Walker discussed the University’s role as a residential campus versus a commuter school. He stated that student satisfaction with available housing is key to improving student involvement, and explained that the programs, services and environmental structures available to residential students will play a huge role in changing the school’s attitudes toward housing. These plans, in conjunction with efforts geared toward smoothing the division between students and faculty, would make the school a better place for students.
“Are we asking students what they want?” Walker said.
Walker also took time to detail his plans for UH, explaining that, if chosen for the position, he’d try to be strategic about the budget cuts by protecting staff and exploring decisions concerning school programs based on their impact on the campus.
In addition, Walker revealed that he is a veteran in dealing with emergency situations that affect the campus. Noting the University’s experience with Hurricane Ike in 2008, he explained his experience with Hurricane Andrew, a category 5 storm that struck southern Florida in 1992. After closing the University of Miami and sending students home, he was chosen to serve on his university’s emergency committee, where he trains the school’s student affairs staff to deal with such situations.
Walker believes that his team-centered approach makes him a strong candidate for the position. He said a collaborative effort between departments, faculty and students will bring success to the student affairs office.
“I lead by example and expect no more from others than I am prepared to give myself. Much of my success as a student affairs educator and leader can be contributed to my ability to develop strong collaborative working relationships with students, faculty, staff and alumni,” Walker said in his resume.