Monthly Archives: January 2019

Getting the Doctorate is all about timing

I graduated with my EdD in Higher Education Administration from Texas A&M – Commerce in 2011. It was the right, albeit, expensive choice for me. Since receiving my doctorate degree I have gone on to serve as the director of the office of Student Involvement at the University of Central Florida, teaching the higher education department at the same school and now serve as the Executive Director of the Florida Consortium. I have had more chances to present, write, and speak in environments where I know my EdD was a critical designation for my selection. So being Dr. Preston has been a good thing overall. Continue reading

The Unseen and Seldom Talked About Responsibility of Privilege

I am sitting at a deli in downtown Atlanta on a chilly Friday. I am attending the AAC&U Annual Meeting and it is time for lunch. As you can tell by the picture I had a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup and I got a Diet Coke (after all this is Atlanta, home of Coke). This morning I enjoyed breakfast at my hotel (one that I did not pay for out of my pocket). I got here using a plane ticket paid for by my employer, rode the MARTA train, attended the conference, and tweeted about my experience on a phone that was subsidized by my employer. Throughout the conference I will enjoy complimentary snacks at a reception, be provided unlimited tea, coffee, water, and soda, and given lots of resources I get to take home. I have to admit, it’s pretty great. Continue reading

How I learned to be the trimtab and not the boat

Working for a university is hard work. There is a lot of pressure to perform and you always know that a failure at your work affects if students can do their work. There is also the pressure that comes from the perceived pressure to be great all of the time. Finally, there is the issue of impostership. When you are constantly surrounded by really smart and accomplished people there is a sense that you don’t quite measure up and you will one day be “found out”. I find from time to time I suffer from this lack of confidence and push myself to be all things to all people. But I am getting over it, here’s how. Continue reading

Like it or not, College is Vocational Training through personal enrichment

As the Executive Director of a multi-university Consortium I get an opportunity to interact with a lot of different folks, doing a myriad of jobs, and with differing impacts on college students. Working with three universities representing over 180,000 students in large metropolitan cities like Miami, Tampa, and Orlando I get to assemble teams of university professionals which include faculty, administrators, community leaders, and student leaders. While the topics and discussions range in subject matter and importance there seems to be a prevailing and ongoing conversation as to the importance of college and its role in a modern society. Continue reading

How I Became a Better Leader when I Stopped Leading and Started Working

In 2015 I took the job as the Executive Director of the Florida Consortium and I thought that meant something. After years of toiling in the minor leagues I had finally been called up to pitch on the big stage. Finally I can be the leader I always felt I was destined to be; visionary and decisive. I pictured myself in suits, speaking to groups of eager higher education folk at our three universities; Florida International University, University of Central Florida, and University of South Florida. And I felt that the best way to ensure I was followed was to be a big thinker; regal, and stout. Boy, was I ever wrong. Flash forward four years and I am working with more humility and measure than I have in my career. Because I learned a few things the past few years culminating with the greatest lesson of all – great leaders are also great workers. Most great leaders inspire greatness from their teams by being the hardest worker in the group and using that work ethic to pave the way for the entire team to excel. Continue reading