Posted January 23, 2012 by Sarah Stroud 

What Exactly Does That Mean?

I have one of those jobs where no one is really quite sure what I do on a regular basis. I am here every day. I help out with events when needed or when I can. The staff receives regular emails from me regarding assessment, student training, student employee hours, and other miscellaneous information. I am involved with homecoming, food service, orientation, and more. I maintain the social media for the building. I regularly communicate with our hourly student employees. But people still ask me what my title really means.

For many of us, our titles don’t really explain what we do. There really is no standardization on titles within the college union profession. What does the assistant director, administrative and support services really mean, anyway? I can tell you what the joke was when I got the title. I also can tell you that a Region 5 colleague of mine said my title should just be "Stuff and Things." So, there are times when I wonder if others go through this “identity crisis” with their position due to the vast range of duties it entails.

What does a person with my title really do? 

  • Assessment: Collect, report, and analyze data. This includes, but is not limited to, traffic counts, annual surveys, comments, suggestions, and anything sent to the union email. 
  • Student Employment: Review applications, plan and organize training, and keep track of the milestones. I review GPA/conduct requirements, meeting with students when necessary. 
  • Social Media: Maintenance and updating of Twitter, Facebook, the website, and more.

How do I fill in those “gaps” that we all seem to have in our jobs? I get involved with ACUI. I join a few of our campus program committees. I make sure to interact with students. Sometimes, it is hard work, but other times one week makes it all worth it. And that is the kind of week I had last week. It gave me a boost of confidence. I may not directly supervise a group of students or advise an organization, but when they come to me looking for assistance and direction, it energizes me. When they leave my office with excitement or newly found energy, I know I have done my job. When I have food service calling me to find out the number of people in the building during specific times, which in turn gets them to actually extend their hours, it makes me feel good.

As union employees, we are not always on the front lines, attending the programs, supervising the students, working with the other staff, but we are there to get you what you need when you need it. So, I leave you with a few questions:

  • What does your title mean to you?
  • What does your title mean to those you work with?
  • What is one thing you do on a regular basis that is completely behind-the-scenes to everyone else in your office?
  • How would you like to expand your position?
  • Should there be title standardization across the regions, schools, or the profession?
Sarah Stroud

Sarah Stroud is the Assistant Director, Administration and Support Services at University of North Carolina–Charlotte.


Sarah, First of all...those of us with H at the end of our names r-o-c-k. You know I was just thinking about explaining what it is I do at work. Your essay will really help me as I struggle to "prove my worth" during our perilous budget times. Sarah
Sarah-Ann Harnick
Comment posted 01/24/2012 9:05 AM
My title only suggests a small percentage of what I actually am responsible for. Understated in my title is a broad range of duties that I fulfill daily.
Leticia Olds
Comment posted 02/28/2012 3:51 PM
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