Author’s Note: Please note that Kenneth has changed roles since this interview took place. As of 11/2019 he his new role is Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director at University of Michigan
Name: Kenneth O. Miles
Title: Assistant Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs & Executive Director of the Cox Communications Academic Center For Student Athletes.
Company: Louisiana State University
What They Do: The Center where Kenneth works is responsible for the development of all the student athletes at LSU, so they provide academic support (tutoring, studying environments, technology access, etc.) and they also do education testing, screening, working with learning specialists, media training, etc.
Originally From: Northwest, Washington, D.C.
College: University of Virginia
Field of Study:
- His BA is Studio Art and a M.Ed. Social Foundation of Education at University of Virginia.
Listen to the interview:
A Few Notes From the Show:
- Are you doing what you thought you would be doing after college? It is kind of a yes and no answer, and here is what I mean: not necessarily in this particular position. What I knew I liked to do and what I love is teaching. And so often the questions come to me “Are you a teacher?” and I said “Yes, I am…of life” and that’s how I ended up presenting this, I look at what I do as a cross between academic affairs on the campus, students affair and athletics. And that trilogy helps me think of ways to be successful by creating partnerships and allies across campus, by maximizing our resources that are available here; so those are little seeds that I end up planting. I was a teacher back at my high school (Gonzaga), when I was approached by the current Alethic Director at the University of Virginia and he had stipulated that there was a position that he wanted me to look. That pretty much started it all.
- What is Studio Art? Drawing, painting, Photography, paper making, book making, sculpture, computer graphics.
- Do you still practice your craft? No, It is interesting because I just had a conversation with an intern of mine. She asked me if I ever tried to go back to the sketch book? You is a place of tranquility.
- What was your path from College to what you are currently doing now? From the University of Virginia, I went back to my high school to teach art basics, I did that for a couple of years and the story I told earlier. That was back in 1997 and I was in UVA from 1995-1997, then I went to Syracuse and oversaw the academic support program for Football (I did this for 4 and a half years). Then I moved from athletics to the campus and I was the assistant Dean of student services and I did this for 3 and a half years. For 6 months I was the executive director of graduate admissions and university enrollment management. Then I got recruited back to athletics as the associate A.D. (Athletic Director), then I got recruited by LSU to come down to the Academic Center.
- Tell me the story about how you discovered you were a teacher? So the point at when I was leaving the university of Virginia, I already graduated, I was on my 5th year and money ran out and didn’t finish my degree but I started to interview. I had interviews with Retail, Mortgage finances, Residential Banking, and it wasn’t until that opportunity and I think it is called “The people’s bank” where I met with the president of the bank and he said “Kenneth, I appreciate your story…I wish you were the teacher of my sons” and I said “It’s interesting you said that because I am having an interview back at my high school in Washington D.C next weekend” and he wished me well and what I took away from that was that my responses to his answers sounded very much like a teacher and I found that it was just an easy, organic match. It was not something that it was forced, it was something that it was very easy for me.
- What advice would you give to someone that is inspired to do what you do and is just starting their career? One is to contact the people in the position that they would like to be in, let them know that they would like to pick their brains, ask them to be their mentor and let them know how you would like to grow professionally. I often share with folks information to understand who the national organizations are, so you can develop and cultivate a network of colleagues across the country and ensure they also have some membership to that organization and try to attend to their regional and national conferences, and if you don’t know how to do this, you can visit BranchRight.com to get the best resources for networking online and offline. The other things that I also share with them to is to understand that the experience can be more valuable than any money can provide and let them know that maybe to might need to volunteer some of your time.
- What do you wish you would have been told when you started your career? I wish I had Supervisors that could have helped me to navigate through the career. You know is interesting, I had a supervisor once telling me that he was going to be my mentor and it sounded great, unfortunately it just landed with words. One of the things that I carefully do with the folks that work here is that I tell them “I hope you grow in what you want to, but you must first meet the expectations of the job and understand that becomes a priority first” “I will help you to navigate through your brain, I will help you to avoid land mines” and I said “I do this because I feel that if I didn’t do it I would failed as your supervisor“.
- What is the unspoken wisdom that you discovered in your career field? What has time taught you that potentially no one could mentor? That’s an excellent questions, I would probably say you must focus your time and energy on the things you can control and not about the bad things that you can not. I think the other thing is that relates to teaching, cultivating and open minds, I think recognizing that in this profession you are not in for the money. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that our profession is quite deserving as any teacher should be but again when you look into the society impact, where the society is focused, maybe? Where the energy and politics is? Unfortunately education is not necessarily at the top. You start to realize if you weren’t doing the work you don’t know who would be.
- Which are the books that have had most impact in your life career? It hasn’t be necessary books that have had a bigger impact in my career, the dialogue and the courses that I have taken. One of the things I recall is telling one of my instructors “the more I read, the more ignorant I feel”. Her response, “You too.” LOL
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