A Student of Kindness

September 7, 2004

Mark Miester
Phone: (504) 865-5714

Cynthia Cherrey sometimes meets Dan Nadler for informal meetings on the sidewalk in front of his office.

nadler"It never fails that there is a student that comes by and greets him or talks about something they're working on together," says Cherrey, vice president for student affairs.

"No matter how busy he is, Dan always has the time to meet with a student. It's just his genuine concern and care for students' welfare."

That concern and care has not gone unnoticed. In June, Nadler, associate vice president for student affairs, received the 2004 Bob E. Leach Award for Outstanding Service to Students.

The award, presented annually by the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators Region II, recognizes student affairs administrators who demonstrate care and concern for students and a commitment to humanizing the campus community and maintaining successful student advocacy.

"My interpretation of that is reaching out to students in a very consistent and comprehensive fashion and bringing those students together to talk about issues and concerns," says Nadler, who was nominated for the award by a group that included both colleagues in student affairs as well as students. "Most importantly, it's about outreach and making students feel that their ideas, concerns and suggestions are important," he says.

As associate vice president for student affairs, Nadler's responsibilities include housing and residence life, educational resources and counseling, fraternity and sorority programs, alcohol education initiatives, crisis response and emergency preparedness.

To ensure that the views and concerns of all students are represented, Nadler says he reaches out to key student groups in each area.

"For example, in housing and residence life, there are about 140 student leaders that serve as residence advisers, assistant residence directors and desk service coordinators," he says. "Another one is the fraternity and sorority leaders, and the other group is student government leaders. What I try to do is have good, consistent communication with those students, to listen to their concerns and then address them as quickly as possible."

Nadler came to Tulane in 1993 from Southern Illinois Univeristy, where he had served as director of orientation and parent-family programs. A three-degree alumnus of Southern Illinois, Nadler was originally attracted to the university for its flight program: He intended to be a commercial airline pilot. When the cost of the flight program forced him to rethink his career plans, Nadler shifted his focus to business and organizational communications and planned to pursue a corporate career after earning his master's.

"At the time I was a graduate assistant working in student affairs," Nadler says. "I ended up changing my career path to student affairs administration because of the faculty and staff there."

Since joining Tulane, Nadler has consciously tried to engage students in the same kind of positive interaction that helped him choose his career. One way he has done that is through co-teaching a course on leadership in the TIDES program.

"Teaching gives you a whole different perspective on what students are thinking, how they're thinking and what their expectations are in the classroom," Nadler says. "So hopefully that gives me a greater ability to kind of pull it all together working with the students."

The most gratifying part of the job for Nadler? Without a doubt, he says, it's the interactions with faculty, staff and especially students.

"We want to challenge students, support them and show a sense of appreciation for them," Nadler says. "Those are the three guiding tenets that I use in approaching students and interacting with them. We're very fortunate in that our students take on very important and meaningful leadership responsibilities at the university. In all that we do, we want to work with students to create a sense of partnership as the university moves forward."

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000