Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Moving Up

Moving Up!

Tanisha Powell

Looking To Better Myself


Anne and I have a great partnership. When we had our first meeting, it was like a "get to know one another," which went very well. Anne and I have called our partnership "Moving Up." We teamed up to find away to better myself as far as looking to further my education. I must admit the thought of going back to school is intimidating. That means studying, writing papers, etc. I sat down and told Anne some of my future plans, and where I see myself in a couple of years from now. Anne has listened to me and she is helping me reach my goal. We have looked up different colleges and different careers that interest me. We also reached out to some of the staff at Bryn Mawr College, who have been wonderful help. So until next time, I'm still trying to Move On.....

Anne Dalke
What We've Learned So Far

This semester, Tanisha and I have been exploring the question of how to "move up" at Bryn Mawr. We each have a particular investment in this question: me because I have been teaching off the tenure-line at Bryn Mawr for 25 years; Tanisha because she hopes one day to move on from housekeeping into a clerical position at the College. We've found out a lot so far about the structures at the College that might enable and restrict the sort of movement that interests us.

* The Community Resource Center in Canaday Library has on file a number of folders that list enrollment information for a number of area colleges and also information about applying for scholarships.

* Career Development Office offers counseling (practice interviews, editing advice on resumes, etc.) not just for students, but for all members of the College staff.

* One tip: when preparing your resume, think in terms of “skills” rather than “jobs” (i.e. a housekeeper might mention “people skills” and “problem solving” before she lists the assigned obligations of her job).

* The Community College of Philadelphia has open enrollment for anyone with a high school degree; you can actually apply easily on-line, and then send in a $20 application fee with a copy of the application (we did this!).

* The College will pay $600/year towards educational expenses for any staff member.

* We hope to help pilot a “shadowing” program, in which staff members who are interested in other jobs can shadow someone else for 2 hours a week.

* What else might the College do to help this process happen more often?

* Bryn Mawr has about 740 total employees (this number varies depending on the number of adjunct faculty and miscellaneous temporary staff we have on payroll at any given moment). The split is about 500 staff and 240 faculty (again, this varies based on adjuncts).

* The largest department is Dining Services, with 56 employees; next is Housekeeping, with 40 employees; third largest is Facilities, with about 25 employees. Of the 500 staff employees, about 250 are A/P (Adminstrative/Professional), 100 are C/T (Clerical/Technical) and 150 are S/C (Service/Craft).

Ann Ogle
On Being Shadowed

During the last few weeks, Tanisha has been with
me in my office for an hour or so on Fridays
"shadowing" me in my job as a faculty secretary.
It's been really fun to have her with me,
and to give her a first hand look at some of
the things that faculty secretaries do. It's also
brought to my attention some of the things
I take for granted - like constant interruptions
from students and faculty with questions
and requests! A faculty secretary's
duties vary a lot depending on the needs of
each of the faculty members that she reports to.

Tanisha Powell
Shadowing Ann

Ann Ogle and I had our first meeting last week. Ann is
the secretary for the Psychology Department and the
Bryn Mawr/Haverford Education Program. Ann has been
with the Bryn Mawr community for fifteen years. She
has a lot of responsibilities as a secretary. When we
first started talking I told Ann that I was interested
in a clerical position. Since she had been at her job
for a while, I thought she could show me what she
does on a daily basis.

I must say she does have a lot of work to do. From the time I walked in, Ann was very, very busy. She has a nice personality. She handles or direct telephone and fax traffic as well as mail and computer correspondence. She hires and supervises student workers for office assistance, student workers for teaching assistants, and research assistants. These are just a few things she does. There is plenty more. Ann told me she loves her job. The people are very nice, and she likes working for the Bryn Mawr community. She suggested that I take a couple of courses to get me started. Ann has been a lot of help. I am looking forward to our meeting this week. THANKS ANN.

Tanisha Powell
Shadowing Gwendolyn Randolph

Gwen, as everyone calls her around the office, was born in Germany, but came to Philadelphia in the 1980’s. She has two children and is soon to be married. When she came to Philadelphia, she worked at a publishing company for six years doing data entry. She then wanted to do something she loved, and that was becoming an accountant.


In 2005, she decided to go to Community College of Philadelphia, where she took two semesters. I asked her, “How was it going back to school?” She said that this was something she had wanted to do for a long time. She went to CCP because of the low cost and the flexible schedule. It was hard for Gwen to be a full-time student, because she was working full-time and she also had to raise her son. There was another parent to help, so everything worked out real well. Gwen’s major was accounting. She loves dealing with numbers. The classes were good for the most part. Gwen has earned her associate’s degree at CCP. She has now been accepted to St. Joseph’s University where she is going for her bachelor’s degree.

Gwen has been with the Bryn Mawr community for three years. She is a Customer Service Assistant for the Facilities Department, so she does a little bit of everything around the office. Here are just some of the things she told me she does. She pays the energy bills and heat bills for the entire campus. She prepares wire transfers and payment forms for certain vendors. She handles business calls, takes accurate messages, routes callers and answers routine inquiries. She also reviews and processes invoices for payments. She interacts with the facilities service management team, the shop heads and the purchasing department. I asked her if it was hard for her since she has so many responsibilities. She replied that at first it was kind of hard, but then she got the hang of it. Now she is kind of used to it. She told me that when I decide to go back to CCP, she will guide me through all the paper work to get financial aid. She knows her way around the campus, so she can point me in the right direction. I am glad to know that Gwen will help me reach my goal.

Thank you Gwen!


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
8 + 3 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.