Dean Sanchez reflects on her time at Hopkins

By ALYSSA WOODEN | February 1, 2018

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COURTESY OF SANCHEZ
Hopkins hired Sanchez in 2013.

Interim Dean of Student Life Tiffany Sanchez, who joined Hopkins in 2013, will be leaving Feb. 14 to become Vice President for Student Affairs at Stevenson University.

The News-Letter sat down for a final interview with Sanchez to discuss her experience at Hopkins and her plans for the future.

She said that the most important thing she learned at Hopkins was how to build an effective team as her staff members came and went.

“When people leave, who do you recruit to bring on board? How do you create a group that really buys into what you’re trying to do at an institution?” she said. “I think probably one of the things that I’ve been most proud of is the team that we’ve created in student engagement.”

Sanchez said that one of the best parts of her job was meeting and working with students.

“I’ve made some really great connections with students. There are student alums who still contact me for recommendation letters,” she said. “It’s been really special to see them as they go through their experience here at Hopkins and then out into the world.”

Sanchez also discussed how she values the relationships she has formed with fellow staff members, both those who were already at Hopkins and those who came on board during her tenure.

“These are people who are committed to social justice,” she said. “They are committed to learning and growing themselves as professionals. They are committed to Hopkins in terms of working with students in meaningful ways.”

Before coming to Hopkins, where she has been for four and a half years, Sanchez worked at American University in Washington, D.C. She described how the larger staff she supervises here has given her strategic planning and management experience.

“When I was at American University, I supervised one full time staff member,” she said. “Here I’ve had the responsibility at different times for at least six direct reports.”

Sanchez explained that although her job has had challenging elements, she appreciated them for providing her with opportunities to grow.

“I’ve learned about myself and about my style and about working with others in ways that support them,” she said. “I think that those are all valuable lessons.”

One of Sanchez’s most impactful memories from her time at Hopkins was when students, faculty and staff participated in a demonstration in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

During the demonstration, participants lined up along North Charles Street for a moment of silence.

“That was probably, in my time here, one of the most powerful moments of community,” Sanchez said. “I really appreciated the opportunity to stand with students and faculty and staff in such a visible way.”

Because of the connections she has made here,  Sanchez said that the decision to leave Hopkins was a difficult one.

“I’ve loved my time here, I’ve loved the students and I’ve really loved the staff that I’ve worked with,” she said.

She explained that she and her eight-year-old daughter have decided to stay in the Baltimore area permanently, so she is always looking for opportunities at nearby institutions.

“The funny thing about higher ed is that you never know when opportunities are going to come up. There’s only so many colleges here,” she said. “So when you are bound by a geographical radius to Baltimore, you really have to take advantage of those things when they come open.”

At Stevenson, Sanchez’s position will cover many of the same areas she was involved with at Hopkins, such as student activities, residential life and housing, multicultural affairs and counseling.

“Those are all areas that I’m currently overseeing now,” Sanchez said. “It’s just that as the Interim Dean of Students I report to the VP of Student Affairs who has responsibility for the whole student affairs unit here. It’s just a different way of organizing things.”

Sanchez, who will start her new position the day after she leaves the University, hopes that Hopkins will remember her for the connections she made with members of the community, as well as for helping people connect with one another.

“It’s about… feeling that all the things that we each do every day matter to someone,” she said. “And trying to help folks understand — staff and students alike — that they’re seen and that they matter to our community.”

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