Education and teaching always seemed to go together in my mind. Even though education is a field that I am very interested in; I have known that teaching was not my field. So it has been a nice surprise to discover that there is an entire field out there where education can be highlighted but not involve teaching. Student affairs is a huge field and even within there are a lot of different positions. Housing is a huge part of it and there is so much more than what you would expect. This informational interview was with Ellen Hearn the Community Director of Manning West. Ellen graduated with a degree in Public Relations, a field where many transferable skills can be found. Through her RA position as an undergrad, Ellen decided to become a Community Director because of the student interaction aspect that she was interested in. This is her fourth year with this position and her second year here at UNC.
So what exactly does a Community Director do? Well everything from student development, administrative functions, committee work and advising to crises management. This is seen in the hours that are put into this position. From 8-5 in the office week days to 5 to 8 evening hours and including some weekend tasks Ellen will spend between 45 to 55 hours working. Due to these hours, here at UNC, most Community Directors have this position for three years. This allows the Community Director to do their very best within this time period. What helps her love her job is her commitment to the students which she enjoys through helping them in their progress and development. CDs get excellent training at UNC by going through an intense orientation for a month where they explore the culture of UNC, logistics, and the different procedures specific to UNC. Her courses at the undergraduate level from interpersonal communication, cross-cultural, basic counseling, and higher education law have helped her understand and excel at her position.
This position can have a lot of benefits from having free housing, parking, and sometimes a meal plan. This position pays about $25-30 thousand but once you add that you are getting free housing it ends up paying like $40,000.
Ellen loves her position as Community Manger. Student affairs, higher education, and housing are exciting fields where you can develop and grow as a person.