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A Man of Many Talents: Campus Celebrity Adam Keyes

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Clark chapter.

Adam Keyes can be found all around campus whether that is working in Residential Life and Housing (RLH), in the Dean of Students’ (DOS) office or in the Kneller just chatting with students! Get to know Clark’s newest Assistant Dean of Students and the hard work he does.

Let’s start by telling us a little bit about what you do here at Clark University. 

Well I work here. I just became the Assistant Dean of Students. I oversee Residential Life and housing, so I work out of the DOS office doing triage for students in crisis. I also meet with students who are considering withdrawal and do enrollment planning. I work with cost projection for RLH during the school year and for the summer, and I work a lot with the RA staff. Additionally, I chair our Judicial board and sexual offence hearing board, work with various partners around event planning and educational plans and work with counseling services. 

(Adam is on the right)

What’s your favorite part about your job?

It’s a tie. I really enjoy our students but I have really great colleagues and I never feel alone. There are always people to collaborate with.

What made you want to go into student affairs?

My sophomore year of college I knew I wanted to stay in Student Affaires. I did a lot in undergrad, like Student Government stuff with other student clubs. I looked into grad schools to see what was the best option financially and the widest breath of opportunity. I chose res-life because I wasn’t an RA and wanted to get experience. I spent two years as a Hall Director and moved into administration, where I did particularly housing stuff. I worked at BU in housing logistics before coming to Clark. I knew when I came to Clark that I wanted to expand my experience further than just the operations part of housing and move a little bit more into the developmental area and work more with students.

What do you like about Clark?

No day is truly predictable. It’s very different and offers great challenges and opportunities. Our students are great and really, really thoughtful. Again, I really enjoy working with my colleagues and have a great group of colleagues in RLH, DOS, and other departments. We’re all part of a team and we trust each other to create experiences that better the students. Yes we have outlines and polices for the job, but when we break those, we trust each other and it’s always for the betterment of the student experience here. The resulting action plan from a judicial decision, for example, may be different based on the student’s individual needs and care plans that are unique to then. We would never break a policy to put anyone in danger, but only to provide as much help as possible for the students.

(The Clark RLH team)

What can you say about the recent demands put forward by the Clark Diversity Committee for Active Change?

When those demands were put forward, a few things were already in play.  We’ve created a plan to extend our leadership, and we have two new leaders and women of color coming to campus. The multicultural position is already here, we’ve hired another Assistant Dean of Students and someone that will oversee the multicultural office. We have also started a process to find a counselor of color to help in that office. We’ve been working on it in any way that can help students. We can’t get too far ahead of what the president says, so we’re waiting to hear how he wants to move forward.

We will be implementing training and awareness for RA staff and building that into program board requirements for our staff. There has also been a bit of talk about the potential of a living and learning community, but we don’t wan to further marginalize students. This would be for anyone of any ethnicity to live and talk about issues like social justice, third world country support, student support for international students, gender and gender identity, support for students of color and the difference between genders and race, discussions about sexual assault, justice laws, etc.

I also want to say that we’re still focused on things regarding gender and removing the gender binary labels. Removing all the his/her labels on housing forms for example, and other places, to make it all gender neutral. Like in the handbook for instance, you won’t see something like “his/her” rights if you don’t identify with “his/her”. One space we do that is in housing applications. Instead, you write what you identify with rather than checking off a bubble. That way people don’t fall into the category of “other”, because we are all an “other”. It’s a soft thing but it’s a way to avoid a micro-aggression. This is something different than what issues are currently being raised, but it’s important not to forget about it.

What’s one thing that you as an administrator what students to know?

Hard question… I would say that change is not as simple as it seems. That’s definitely not to say that it can’t be done, but there are commotions everywhere that it happens. We have to be careful that change doesn’t fail or create outcomes that would cause students to ask for another change. One typical example is decreasing the prices of tuition and housing to back to what they were in 2012, or adding administrators. These changes would ultimately end up contradicting each other. So, when looking at how to go about making changes, we have to make sure they won’t have a negative outcome (Like increasing the price of housing to pay for new administrators, or decreasing it and cutting staff hires). 

What do you do when you’re not at Clark?

I hang out with friends and family. I also go to the gym and I play a lot of golf. Currently I really like a few TV shows. The best show ever on television is Breaking Bad. Yes, I know its, over but I had to put it out there! I watch The Black List on NBC, The Walking Dead and The Leftovers.

What else should we know about you?

In 2001 as a sophomore in college I dated a girl who lived in Wright Hall. My brother and sister in in law both have degrees from Clark (not the way I met the girl), and I grew up two towns over in Spencer. I’ve really come full circle back to Central Mass.

Thanks for doing the Interview, Adam!

Jess is a Senior at Clark University who hails from Detroit, Michigan. She spends her time at college studying Psychology and Culture Studies & Communication, and trying to get involved in everything she can on campus! Jess wears a number of hat's around campus such as, President of the Student Activities Board, Co-President of Radio of Clark University, an intern for the Student Leadership and Programming Office, waitress at Annies Clark Brunch, and the Events Director for Clark's chapter of Her Campus! In her spare time Jess enjoys listening to music, reading, exploring Worcester, and spending time with friends!
Kelly is a student at Clark University pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Cultural Studies and Communications with a minor in Business Management. When Kelly is not in class, you can find her working in the Education Department at The Hanover Theatre, teaching Zumba classes and dancing her heart out with Clark University's Dance Society. Her favorite color is pink (especially Her Campus pink!) and she loves everything monogrammed. Kelly enjoys spending time with her friends, family, boyfriend, and two adorable cats. Kelly is thrilled to be a new Campus Correspondent alongside one of her best friends, Ciara Kilian. Follow along with her on Instagram and Twitter @kellrour HCXO!