Month: May 2019


Residence Life Professional Staff of the Month

School: The University of Texas at Dallas Region: SWACURH
Nominee: Pam McElrath Nominator: Devin Andersen

On-Campus Population: 5500 Chapter Size: 20

Please explain the outstanding contributions of the nominee during the month of nomination

While most people think about May as a month where residence life calms down, for Pam McElrath, May is a month where her work in residence life starts ramping up. Pam is the Associate Director for Residential Camps and Conference Services (RCCS) at The University of Texas at Dallas, and her summers are filled with fast-paced and exhilarating work as summer groups begin to check in to the residence halls in May. Pam has done a lot of incredible work this month, including training 6 professional staff and more than 40 Conference Assistants, facilitating the check-ins of over 600 summer guests, and answering a relentless onslaught of calls, texts, and emails. While all of this is impressive work in and of itself, Pam exceeds the expectations of her role by tending to the needs of her staff members, in big and small ways. It is for these reasons that she should be considered for the Residence Life Professional Staff of the Month.

The University of Texas at Dallas sees over 5000 guests check-in to the University Commons residence halls during the summer, so it’s important for the summer staff to be a well-organized team. With the help of the Residence Life Coordinators (RLC’s), Pam hired 6 ACUHO-I summer interns (known as Assistant Residential Camps and Conference Services Coordinators, or ARCCSC) from across the country as well as 42 Conference Assistants (CA’s) to serve 5 residence halls. Pam organized one week of training for the ARCCSC and one week of training for the CA’s, and provided staff members with catered meals during training. While training was long for the staff, it was even longer for Pam, making sure that everyone’s questions were answered and their concerns alleviated.

During training, Pam also had to manage the check-in process of a total of 612 guests across 9 groups with the help of the RLC’s and ARCCSC. Pam has always maintained the utmost confidentiality and professionalism when coordinating with groups and their sensitive information. She has also made an effort to meet with some of the groups personally, introducing herself and helping the groups get accustomed to the facilities in the building and on campus, as well as talking to the guests about emergency procedures.

It is no question that Pam does an excellent job by training her staff and organizing check-ins for summer groups. However, Pam truly shine in her service to others. She teaches her staff to “give ‘em the pickle!”, a customer service model that inspires staff members to provide guests with whatever accommodations they need, no matter how big or small. Pam exemplifies this model in her service to the CA’s, RLC’s, and ARCCSC, whether it’s expressing empathy and compassion for a staff member’s concerns, or actually dressing up in a pickle costume to incite humor and energy to the new and returning staff alike. Pam will be there for you regardless of what you need. She has said “you can never ask too many questions” and “there is no way you can mess this up”. She takes responsibility for when something goes wrong, and attributes her staff when something goes right.

Pam is a busy woman but she's never too busy for her staff members, and they know that. She demonstrates modesty, a strong work ethic, and a sense of humor in her work, and spends her work days making sure that she’s doing what she can to help others succeed. She is an exemplary professional staff member and should be seen as a model supervisor and director of camps and conferences across the entire student affairs industry.

Word Count: 599

Date of entry into database: 2019-06-01 16:59:06

NRHH Database Home