Lynette Drake offers experience, interim vice president

Analicia Haynes, Administration Editor

Dedication, a passion for helping students, and the desire to learn new things are what motivate Lynette Drake, the interim associate vice president of student affairs to be successful.

With an extensive background on college student affairs engraved on the walls of Eastern, Drake said her experiences are a culmination of general knowledge that have been helpful in giving her perspective, but didn’t always have this career on her mind

Drake was appointed at the start of the semester after Dan Nadler, the former vice president, and though she has extensive background on college student affairs, Drake said she never imagined working at a university, especially the university she graduated from.

“I had intended to teach high school math,” Drake said.

Drake dug her roots in Eastern when she came here as an undergraduate.

During her second semester of senior year, Lou Hencken, the director of housing and dining at the time and former Eastern president, encouraged Drake to apply for grad school and do her grad work as an assistant for housing.

“At that time I had not given much thought of staying and doing my grad work,” Drake said. “I thought I would teach for a while, go back to get my masters, then continue to teach.”

After applying and accepting the position as associate resident director of Stevenson Hall, Drake said she still wasn’t sure about finding a job as a math teacher with a master’s degree without teaching experience.

Instead, Drake said she decided to do her masters work in college student affairs and worked as the Residential Director at Lawson Hall for four years, the same hall she lived and worked in as a residential assistant (RA) as an undergrad.

Returning to work for Eastern in the fall of 1995, Drake accepted the position as director of orientation/coordinator of AIDS, alcohol and drug information, which was a newly created position.

“I thought I would like to stay in housing but was open to the idea of doing something different,” Drake said. “I think it’s very important to have a variety in what you do.”

After four years, Drake was offered a position as director for health services and has held that position for since 2001.

“I always loved working for the students,” Drake said.

Drake said for years the mission of the health services was to help students be successful academically and help manage health concerns in a way that allows them to continue to be productive.

“All service units under student affairs understand that and that is why we are here,” Drake said.

Drake has also taken on additional responsibilities as opportunities come up such as search committees to add to her experience.

Drake said she is the interim vice president for student affairs until the end of June or until the position is filled.

As of right now, she is still the director of health services until the associate director returns in the beginning of February.

“I have an excellent staff,” Drake said. “They are extremely helpful.”

In 2005, Drake was acting vice president for student affairs and said she wanted to make sure she had the support of all the directors in the division before applying for the position as interim director.

“I felt committed to the university and the division,” Drake said, “I wanted to let him (President Glassman) know that I was interested in discussing the position with him.”

Drake said the reason she took the position was because she wanted to serve the university, the division of student affairs, and the students.

Unlike her time served as vice president in 2005, Drake said the fiscal crisis adds extra concern and stress to the position.

“It is easier to grow a program and develop new initiatives than it is to start taking away and cutting things that have become engrained in the culture of the university,” Drake said when asked about the budget.

Drake said it is always difficult to take away what you are used to having and it is difficult to start looking at ways to reduce in order to make ends meet.

“That means you have to start looking at ways to help each other out, consolidate, and make decisions on what is important to our students and what we need,” Drake said.

Drake said it’s very different to look at reducing and cutting back when what you do and what you believe in is valuable to our students.

Drake said although the budget situation is difficult it is manageable.

“…You have to continue to smile,” Drake said. “We will get though this semester.”

 

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]