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Service with a smile

By Mandy Cook | Jan. 2, 2010

Director of Student Success Programs Tom Brophy may be a seasoned hand at his line of work, but he is as youthful as the students he assists.

As the driver of student-based programs such as orientation, loan disbursements and specialized centres such as International Student Advising, the Scholarships and Awards Office and the Native Liaison Office, Mr. Brophy is the kind of person who greets you with a broad smile and a quick joke.

“Just because you grow old, it doesn’t mean you have to grow up,” he quips when his Mickey Mouse tie garners a few comments.

During the 10 years Mr. Brophy has worked at Memorial – moving from a student life officer to manager of Student Affairs and Services’ entry point, Answers, and on to the director’s role of Student Success Programs – he says he has “always had Memorial at heart.” He says the atmosphere of collegiality and vibrancy of youth keeps him young.

Although he doesn’t spend as much time face time with the Memorial student population as he’d like, Mr. Brophy’s daytime hours are devoted to ensuring students have as much administrative assistance as possible to achieve their academic goals.

“Right now, we’re gearing up for the winter semester, getting all the new students through things like orientation, distribution of student loans and issuing campus cards to helping international students settle in to life at Memorial,” he says.

Mr. Brophy is part of a team of professionals including the Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Lilly Walker and the deans and directors of Memorial’s various units and faculties. In particular, he says he enjoys collaborating with the unit heads on the challenge of student retention – an issue many institutions are grappling with at this point in time.

One of the most exciting processes he says currently in development is the establishment of a co-curricular record. A transcript that records on-campus activities and achievements from outside the classroom, the co-curricular record reflects a student’s complete learning outcome – not just his or her academic success.

Whether it is an award for exemplary leadership as a residence assistant in student housing or volunteering to help new students adjust to university life, a student’s co-curricular record can be verified by the university and included as an addendum to an individual’s resumé.

“By participating in these kinds of activities, students can develop on a personal level,” says Mr. Brophy. “Those activities are then validated by the student’s superiors, so that potential employers can understand the whole of that person’s experiences and not just the grades on his or her transcripts.”

As Mr. Brophy looks ahead to another semester and a new crop of students, he says he wants the next generation of the workforce to enjoy their jobs as much as he enjoys his. It’s the kind of work that keeps him smiling.

“Any job that allows you to help others succeed is a job you’ve got to love.”


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