Today marks the grand return of “A Day in the Life”!!! … … … (I’m waiting for all of the wild cheering and applause to end). … … … You remember “A Day in the Life,” those posts where I ask a student, alum, or (as in today’s case), a USF employee to keep track of their day from wake up to bedtime so that we can learn more about what people do in their lives and jobs? Well, they’re back!!! And today I am especially happy to feature Dawn Lee Tu, Director of Cultural Centers here at USF. Dawn is currently completing her PhD in Cultural Studies at UC Davis (yes, while she works full-time here!). Her dissertation focuses on diversity initiatives and Asian American engagement in college. She has her MA in American Studies from New York University where she studied Asian American youth and hip hop consciousness. She has worked in student affairs for nine years where she has focused on diversity training, community-based capacity building, crisis management, and community mediation. And get this: she is an ethnographer (especially of interest to our COMS majors)! She is also a Bay Area native and proud product of the San Francisco public education system.
As the Director of Cultural Centers, Dawn is in charge of the Intercultural Center and the Gender and Sexuality Center on campus. According to Dawn, “Through the IC and GSC, I make sure that USF students have opportunities to deeply explore their multiple identities, learn how they can become more skilled multicultural leaders, and find ways to make social change. I don’t do this alone – I work closely with a committed staff of undergraduate and graduate student interns and advocates and a very talented Assistant Director to create and implement programs and resources for all students.” Here is A Day in the Life of Dawn Lee Tu, Thursday September 29, 2011:
“615a Wake up to work on writing dissertation.
7a Wrap up early morning writing session by scanning my schedule for the day, checking my facebook and tweeting a good morning to all the sleepy Dons who might be up working hard.
745a I all dressed and ready and I managed to prep breakfast. Time to get my sleepy kid up and ready for school.
750a Sleepy kid wants to build a “creature” out of his construction set.
816a Creature is built, but now we’re running late so that means breakfast in the car.
832a My favorite part of the commute into the City: Skyline at Great Highway where I get to see the clear morning and beautiful Ocean Beach.
845a Drop kid off to school. Chat with his teacher a bit before hitting the road again.
9a Nab one of the last parking spaces in Hayes Healy. I grab a quiet moment in my car to scan my schedule again and drink the last drops of my coffee.
910a Get into my office, greet everyone with good mornings and turn on my computer, check my voice mails, and touch base with Heather Doshay, the program assistant that manages my calendar.
915a Check in with Alejandro Covarrubias, the Cultural Centers Assistant Director. We do a quick run down of what’s on both of our schedules for the day plus any issues that might be on both of our radars.
10a Upward Bound meeting. It was wonderful meeting this group of committed staff and faculty who are working to ensure that Upward Bound continues to get the support the program needs to persist.
1201p Look who I ran into! (pic of me and the USF Don)
1215p Lunch meeting in the Faculty/Staff dining room with Barbara Thomas, Senior Director of Counseling and Psychological Services. Busy so we joined two IT staff members, already eating lunch and I learned about what they do at IT (technical support). I also saw Ed Munnich, Psychology professor.
105p Busted. About to leave the Faculty/Staff dining room with a cookie, but I’m reminded that the rules are no dining room food “to-go.”
108p I take the opportunity to scarf down the cookie, check email, twitter and facebook.
145p Taking a break from returning calls and emails, reviewing documents. I head over to the IC and hang out with the Graduate Interns Diana Victa and Clark Campagna, MA students in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program. Alejandro happens to be there talking to them so it becomes an informal staff meeting as we discuss projects.
206p It’s Thursday so that means it’s CC staff potluck time! Jackie Lara, IC intern plans all of our staff “fun stuff” including weekly staff potlucks. This week the theme is finger foods. I contribute vegan edamame and corn nuggets from Trader Joe’s. Others bring homemade salsa and chips, bruschetta, mini cupcakes plus a few other items. We’re all stuffed!
230p I head back into my office to prep for two 3p meetings.
3p I have to split my time so I head to a planning meeting for the Northern California Forum for Diversity in Higher Education, an event being hosted by USF that will bring over 1500 junior and senior college students from low-income and historically underrepresented groups to help them get information on grad school. I, also with Kim Harris in the Learning and Writing Center are coordinating the volunteers for that day. We’re expecting to coordinate between 50-100 volunteers.
3p I am unable to attend the planning and development meeting for the Allies Training program provided by the Cultural Centers. However, the committee takes real-time meetings notes on Google docs so I check in on my iPhone a couple of times during my other meeting to see how things are going. If I need to I can make a note to them on the document and they can immediately see it.
4p I head over to the final meeting of the day – the Asian American Studies faculty meeting. This meeting started at 330p so when I arrive, Professor Kevin Chun, the program chair, is already on the second agenda item – planning events for spring semester, including Asian Pacific Heritage Month. Everyone has brought snacks and food and I help myself to some flatbread and hummus and then a small piece of chocolate. I answer a question about the Culturally Focused Clubs (we work closely and advise the Cultural Focused Clubs Council). My role at faculty meetings is to be a conduit of information, letting them know about other events that are happening or being planned, who faculty can collaborate with, what student clubs are doing, and what general diversity issues are being discussed.
515p I get back into my office and it’s quiet time. No more interruptions as I close the door and catch up on all the emails I missed at meetings. I review the minutes from the Allies planning meeting I missed. I work on several other pending items and respond to an email about Community Action, sent from Ccaroline Christ, VP of Mission (I advise her). I check and update twitter and facebook and have a quick snack before I leave for the day.
635p I’m back in my car and driving to my parents’ home. My mom picks up my son and my parents eat dinner and hang out with him until about 715p.
7p I arrive at my parents’ home and catch up with my mom about how my son’s day went at school. My dad is playing with my son and I hear them laughing and running around.
730p I’m back in the car with my son as we head home. He asks to listen to some John Mayer. I oblige him and put in the CD. We hum and sing the songs together and talk about each others’ day as we approach home.
745p We arrive home and it’s off to bed for my son.
845p My partner and I prepare and settle down for some dinner together. We have on Chopped, a Food Network show, as we catch up on how each other’s day went.
945p Back to my desk for some more dissertation writing before I head to bed.
1045p Tired, exhausted. Clean up for bed.
1130p Check and update twitter and facebook one last time before I drift off to sleep.”
Thanks, Dawn, for sharing your day with us! You can keep up with Dawn and the activities of the Cultural Centers by following her on twitter: @directorcc (I do!). You can also follow the Assistant Director @usfadcc. You can find out more information about the Cultural Centers here:
Intercultural Center www.usfca.edu/interculturalcenter
Gender and Sexuality Center www.usfca.edu/gsc
You can also find Dawn and the Cultural Centers on facebook: “Dawn Lee Tu” “IC USF” and “GSC USF.”