Q&A: Meet Tracey Schaffer, the New IADT-Detroit Campus President
November 20, 2012
•IADT General, IADT Detroit
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We’re excited to welcome Tracey Schaffer as the new president of IADT-Detroit. With her wealth of experience and positive outlook on her career and her life, she brings engaging strategies and ideas to the table to help faculty, students, and staff work together to make the IADT-Detroit campus’ vision for a brighter future come to fruition.
Beth Rodgers, IADT Learning Resource Center specialist, and Syed Kazmi of the Internet Marketing, Information Technology and Retail Merchandise Management programs, sat down with President Schaffer to get to know her a little better and to get her perspective on her role as campus president.
Beth Rodgers (BR) and Syed Kazmi (SK): What experience do you bring to the table as president?
Tracey Schaffer (TS): I have been in higher education for my entire professional career [20+ years]. This has given me the opportunity to work in a wide range of different areas of higher education. The majority has been in schools with a career focus. I have a great love for this type of education. The majority of success I’ve encountered has come from schools with a career-focused model.
BR and SK: What do you love about your job?
TS: It sounds cliché, but I love helping students succeed and keeping my eyes and ears open to individuals who have more trouble than others. I enjoy talking with students and getting to know them, as well as helping them to stay motivated. When students are here on campus, I would rather be talking to them than doing administrative tasks that can be done at other times.
BR and SK: What is your vision for the IADT-Detroit campus?
TS: I really want to see everyone working collectively to achieve student success and to have a student-first philosophy. We all get really caught up in the day-to-day and need to focus on the bigger picture of why we’re here, helping students toward careers and the like. If what we’re doing every day doesn’t have a positive impact on students, we shouldn’t be doing it.
BR and SK: How do you feel students, faculty, and/or staff can help you apply your vision?
TS: We all can help. It is up to all of us and we have to help each other - faculty, staff and students alike. Many times, issues may be things we can’t have an impact on, but keep things in perspective – help one student at a time. How do we engage hundreds of students, keep them here, and prepare them for the world of work? We must be creative, be problem solvers; solutions are not always right in front of you. You have to think outside the box, be flexible, and change gears very quickly.
BR and SK: What new, innovative ideas do you have to spice up campus life?
TS: It is difficult in a commuter school. There are students who have time gaps of three hours and such with no comfortable place to really stay while here on campus. I’d like to know what students would like to see that will keep them on campus.
BR and SK: If you had to describe yourself to someone in just a sentence or two, how would you describe yourself?
TS: I am very open-minded and non-judgmental. These are good characteristics to have in a position like this. I have to be willing to accept differences and suggestions. I recognize that I’m not the person with all the answers. I’m very positive and I believe everything happens for a reason.
BR and SK: What is your favorite book? Favorite movie? Favorite type of music?
TS: My favorite book is a series of Janet Evanovich novels. They aren’t serious, just funny, and they’re non-realistic, but I can read them and laugh. They’re silly. My favorite movie is Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. It’s Michigan-oriented since it’s set on Mackinac Island. In terms of music, I’m an ’80s girl, but I also like late ’70s rock, including Def Leppard.
BR and SK: What are some of your hobbies?
TS: Between work and family, I have very little time. Football, however, is one of my favorite pastimes. My son has been playing for six years and I love to watch him play most of all. When he isn’t playing, though, I will settle for college and professional football on television. I also love to read; I read every day to relax.
BR and SK: What is one surprising thing you can share about yourself that no one would expect of you?
TS: People probably don’t think I’m an introvert or homebody. I’m comfortable with my immediate family, but I have to step outside of myself for this job.
BR and SK: What is your favorite kind of pet? Dogs? Cats? Fish? Etc.?
TS: My favorite animals are dogs. However, we have a lot of pets at home. These include two German Shepherds and four cats. My son loves aquatic-type things, so he also has turtles, a bearded dragon, and crabs.
BR and SK: What is your favorite type of food? Favorite place to eat?
TS: I love all different types of food, but I would say that Thai cuisine is my favorite. I especially like Bangkok Pepper restaurant in Grand Blanc, Michigan.