Hall Director Focusing on Student Success through Involvement
Tyeesha “Tye” Wesley came to Minnesota State University, Mankato from Valdosta College in Georgia in July 2014 to be a Hall Director in the Julia A. Sears Residence Community. With one year under her belt, she is excited for this school year and her latest accomplishment of becoming an American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Ambassador. ACPA Ambassadors connect their institution to the ACPA and to other institutions by building a community with a focus on knowledge sharing and innovative ideas.
Tye received her master’s degree in Higher Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Student Affairs at Valdosta College. While there she worked in residential life, student activities and the access office, gaining valuable experience that she has now brought to Minnesota State Mankato. As a second-year Hall Director for the Julia A. Sears South Residence Community, Tye believes in transformational leadership and challenges her staff to think outside the box as they create an environment that is supportive for each student in the residence hall.
The greatest joy for Tye is when a student is willing to talk through an issue or a question they may have. Creating an atmosphere where open dialogue is valued allows for education outside of the classroom and excitement—not only for the student but also for Tye. She has had the opportunity to show students there is more to campus life than they may know. There are opportunities that extend beyond the classroom and opportunities to become leaders, whether formal or informal. “As a Hall Director, I get to shoulder tap people and say, ‘Hey, you would make a great floor president or community advisor, let’s get you involved!’ Some students just need someone to tell them that and I get to do it starting day one,” Tye says.
Tye’s hope for students is that they leave at the end of the year knowing that the hard work they put in matters. That hope was confirmed last year, when she worked with a student who was not doing well, academically or personally, within the first few months of school because of choices that student was making. Through multiple one-on-one interactions with the student, first initiated by Tye and then by the student, together they were able to make a plan on how the student was going to get back on track. They focused on realistic goals and better coping skills, and the turnaround was amazing. “The student went on to be one of my strongest floor presidents in my building and was able to finish the academic year as a Maverick, which did not seem possible around Homecoming that fall,” she says.
Tye continues to encourage students to become more involved in the campus community. She urges them to create a community they want to be a part of. The choices that are made and the community they create will more than likely impact the way they will operate going forward, Tye commented. “I hope when they walk out of the building (residence hall) they can say at least one time they positively impacted someone in the community and how they can take that lesson and use it in their classes, career, and life.”