INTERVIEW WITH AN EXPERTKRISTIN BEAVERS
Director, Center for Global Education, Chapman University
What is your current title, and where do you work?Director of the Center for Global Education at Chapman University
What was your dream job as a kid, and why? If it changed, what led to that decision?
I wanted to become an Artistic Roller Skating Coach. I was involved with competitive artistic roller skating for 18 years and saw how physically challenging and financially unstable; it is for a coach…and no benefits. So, that dream was short-lived.
Tell us about your first international experience and how that influenced your current career choice.
Oh, wow. Flashback! It was a trip I took in my late teens to France with my mother and sister - a week of skiing at Alpes d’huez and a week touring Paris and Bordeaux. We were complete rookies at international travel…and learned a lot from that trip. We took a plane, train, bus and cab to get to our room on the mountain, in several feet of snow. Mom traveled with two sets of skis and I had two bags. Such newbies! Also, I thought my French was much better than it really was at the time. I quickly learned when we had to call the rental car company and they spoke no English. Despite our ineptitude and rookie mistakes, I loved this trip and started planning more international travel. I just needed to be better prepared.
What was your first job in international education? Did you have a hard time obtaining this job? How long did it take? How did you learn about it? (Ex. Job posting, networking, promotion)
My first job in international education was as the coordinator of internships at Chapman. I was hired as the domestic internship coordinator for the (then) Career Development Center and began developing the university’s first summer international internship after a program provider approached our business school. After we implemented this first program in 2003, international internships really took off and we started several more. In 2007, I moved to Center for Global Education at Chapman to manage international internships and exchange programs.
I was very targeted in my job search. I had enjoyed my college experience thoroughly and wanted to work in higher education. My husband and I were living in Oregon at the time and wanted to move back to California, so I began seeking out positions with all of the local universities via their employment websites. I interviewed at two universities and was hired by Chapman after nine months or so.
Describe a typical day/week at the office at your current job.
My day involves working on operational and human resources aspects of the reorganization: budgets, job descriptions, etc. There isn't as much student interaction as there is during the academic semesters. There is still plenty of prepping for the upcoming fall semester that is part of our daily lives: orientation, incoming exchange students, overhauling of marketing materials, just to name a few.
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
Strategic planning, fiscal management and staff development.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Staffing levels -- how to work on the things we want to accomplish with the limited staffing we have. I'm hopeful that our reorganization will streamline processes and allow us to take on larger projects.
What has working in international education taught you about yourself and your own culture?
Empathy and self-awareness. Understanding perspectives and perceptions, non-verbals, space and time differences, has given me more patience with the unknown or "different."
Is there a value or principle from another culture that you have embraced and applied to your own life?
The French work/life balance culture which emphasizes separating personal and work life responsibilities.
Do you have a career mentor or someone that you consult with about career growth? How has that person influenced your career growth?
I don't really have a mentor, presently. However, I have a friend who is a great resource and support person. I've gone to her for advice on many topics and she's been a wealth of information and understanding.
Describe a moment in your career that you consider your greatest achievement.
Making our center through QUIP midpoint reporting was huge for me and a great learning experience.
What’s one piece of advice that you would give your younger self in high school or college as it relates to your career?Be open to whatever might come along. You don’t have to have it all figured out when you when you apply to college. I was a non-traditional student and graduated with my BA at 33. Even if I could, I wouldn’t change my path as I was much wiser and clear on my direction at that age.
What type of hobbies or activities help you balance your work/life experience?
Vegetable gardening and cooking. I can never find enough time for these!