The AVP Spotlight series is an initiative of the NASPA AVP Steering Committee and is designed to highlight many of the outstanding contributions to the profession that are made by AVPs across the country.
This edition features Dr. Ryan C. Holmes, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, at the University of Miami.
Dr. Holmes, please share with us your title, institution, years of service in your current role, and years of service as a student affairs professional.
My name is Dr. Ryan C. Holmes, EdD. I currently serve as the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at the University of Miami. I have served in this role for 4.5 years, working as a student affairs professional for 18 years.
Describe the units within your portfolio and if you have any specific duties in addition to providing supervision to those units.
Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, Honor Council and Academic Integrity, Greek Life, Case Management/Social Work, The Sandler Center for Alcohol and Other Drugs, Chaplains Association, Student Assessment Committee (Students of Concern), Student Affairs Crisis Coordinators (Crisis and On-Call Team), and Liaison to Athletics.
What do you enjoy doing most in your current role?
In my current role, I like providing mentorship at different levels. While the flavor and approach changes in interactions with undergraduate students, graduate students, office professionals or my peers, mentorship is ultimately about helping others (and the self) get better at getting better. Many think I help them grow while not realizing they are a part of my education as well.
How have you been involved in NASPA and do you currently serve NASPA?
I have been involved in NASPA in leadership, invited, publication, and training capacities.
- Faculty Director, NASPA New AVP Institute, March 2020-Present
- Committee Member, NASPA AVP Steering Committee, March 2019-Present
- Committee Member, 2020 NASPA AVP Symposium Planning Committee, March 2019-February 2021
- Speaker, 2019 NASPA Student Affairs Law and Policy Conference, San Diego, CA
- Keynote Speaker, Undergraduate Student Conference, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), Temple University, Philadelphia, PA March 2018
NASPA Publication Contribution:
- Holmes, R. C. and Longerbeam, S. D. (2009). You home? Meet me on the stairway: Lessons of living together. In Marshall, S. M. (Ed.) More Stories of Inspiration: 51 Uplifting Tales of Courage, Humor, Healing and Learning in Student Affairs. NASPA.
NASPA Trainings Received:
- NASPA Certificate Program in Student Affairs Law & Policy, Clearwater Beach, FL (June 2018) – High Competency Rating
- 2018 NASPA AVP Institute – Excellence in the “Number Two” Role, San Diego, CA (January 2018)
I have also presented numerous times at the Annual Conference as well as served on program submission review teams.
What is the best advice you would give yourself as a new professional knowing what you know now?
Be the best you can for others and yourself, you are smart and others may possibly be smarter, know when to be the feature and when to be the furniture, and your kindness is not a byproduct of anyone else’s behavior.
What is something you are most proud of as an AVP?
I am proud of how my team and other campus teams have collaborated to have students feel a sense of normalcy as we continue to get through the pandemic.
AVP roles are challenging! What do you do outside of work to ensure that you are fresh and energized for your campus job? What do you do for fun when you are not working?
Fresh and energized:
- Peloton and weightlifting
- Listening to music
Fun outside of work:
- Spending time with my children
- Road trips and safe travel
- Sit on the couch in peace and read
- Online Certificate in Business
- Sometimes nothing! 😊
How do you balance your personal life with your professional responsibilities?
I constantly ask myself “are you doing what matters right now?” I believe in giving beyond the necessary to the team, the Division, and the University while understanding that neither will love me like family and friends. That focus helps me to make better decisions than I did in my earlier years.
What are you reading now (or have read recently)?
Taylor, J. C (2021). Reset: A leader’s guide to work in an age of upheaval. New York, NY: Public Affairs, Hachette Book Group.