August 29, 2016

Reed named inaugural Student Affairs Fellow

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Kayla Reed, selected as the first Student Affairs Fellow at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is passionate about fostering “authentic leadership.” 

Reed, who serves as a hall director for SIU’s Wall & Grand Apartments, sees the program as a way to learn more about the field of student affairs as she works on the leadership project she envisioned. Her goal, as outlined in her application, is to develop a series of workshops for student affairs staff members focusing on “authentic leadership, motivation, the power of genuine vulnerability in developing trust and connectedness, and how to make these practices part of our daily lives.” 

As a member of the university’s residence life staff, Reed said she recognizes the importance of connecting authentically with students and demonstrating genuine care and concern for their success. 

“When we lead authentically, we are able to create a circle of trust that opens the door for greater communication, and when we have better communication, we will be able to better hear the needs of our students when they are asking for help,” Reed said. 

Officials said in the future, the leadership training platforms Reed develops may have some student applications as well. 

“Reed is a great fit for this position,” Lori Stettler, interim vice chancellor for student affairs, said. “Her positive energy, passion for student success and genuine commitment for student advocacy, aligned with her proposed professional development series, will strengthen the Division of Student Affairs as we strive to meet the needs of today’s students.” 

Reed, a native of Cascade, Md., has worked at SIU since July 2015. She earned her MBA and her bachelor’s degree in political science, along with minors in business and gender studies, at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md. 

The Student Affairs Fellow program, new this fall, offers student affairs staff the opportunity to gain valuable career development experiences to enhance their professional skills. Participants will broaden their understanding of student affairs through a series of weekly visits within different student affairs units where they will observe and participate in daily activities. The fellows will also work on a semester-long project of their design with the goal of advancing the mission and goals of SIU’s Division of Student Affairs and the university’s diversity and inclusivity objectives. 

The candidates for the first fellowship each “proposed an important project,” said Deborah Barnett, assistant dean of students and fellowship application reviewer. “The passion and creativity with which our student affairs staff continue to engage in their work for the success of our students is inspiring.” 

Barnett recently served as an assessment fellow through SIU’s Office of Assessment and Program Review, learning first-hand the value of such fellowships, and said, “I had such a great experience as an assessment fellow and I’m excited that Kayla will have similar opportunities working with our student affairs staff.” 

Plans call for selection of a Student Affairs Fellow each fall and spring semester with all entry- and mid-level SIU Student Affairs staff eligible to apply. Applications for the spring 2017 fellowship will be available in October and the notice will go out through a Student Affairs email.