Whitney Cain, Tate Student Center
Assistant Director for Facilities & Operations – Tate Student Center
2022 Student Affairs Innovation Award Recipient
Whitney was nominated for the Innovation Award by a colleague who wrote:
Tell me more about your area and the inspiration for creating something new for your student employees.
The impact and visibility of the Tate Student Center is felt across campus and within our community. In addition to the full-time professional staff, Tate operations are supported by 35 outstanding student staff. The inspiration for additional student staff training derived from a renewed commitment to the student staff experience, especially regarding continued learning, development, and career readiness.
What all does this employee engagement initiative entail?
As Josh Hudson, the Senior Coordinator for Facilities and Operations, and I considered ways to enhance the student staff experience, we landed on creating an eLC course—a technology all our students are comfortable with and use regularly. Alongside content, videos, and discussion posts detailing position responsibilities, we include opportunities and challenges to strengthen professional skills and competencies aligned with the Student Affairs 2025 Strategic Plan.
Additional content includes ways to connect with campus partners, engagement opportunities, well-being resources, and defined expectations on being a UGA staff member. I’m excited for the continued improvement of the curriculum and grateful to Josh for his dedication to our student staff and their development.
Why UGA and…Why UGA still?
If I was a potential candidate considering applying to (or accepting) a position in UGA Student Affairs, why should I? What about your role, the workplace, your experience, or the division makes you want to stay?
“Prior to working at UGA, I spent several years in hospitality and restaurant management before obtaining my real estate license back in South Carolina. Once I moved to Athens, I assumed I would stay in real estate—an industry and work I really enjoyed. But, I fell in love with Athens and the idea of working at UGA where I could use my experiences and expertise to advance a greater public good and mission.
I’ve now held a few roles the Tate Student Center department—business operations, event coordination, and now facilities and operations. I like to think of my job as “selling Tate to our students” by sharing the benefits of spending time in our space where they can feel comfortable, supported, and build community.
There are a lot of opportunities to connect with folks within the university and do some incredible things for our student staff. I hope to continue to take advantage of opportunities provided to me and remain convinced that I still have a lot to offer UGA—a place that has provided me with far more than I could have dreamed.”
What would be a “tweetable” piece of advice would you give to folks thinking about working in UGA Student Affairs?
“Don’t forget to request UGA football tickets your first year! Kidding aside, it’s always been true for me that investing in others is always time well spent.”
Athens, GA is known as being quite the fun college town with a lot to offer for its size. What are some things you like most about living and working in Athens?
“I would assume it’s a basic understanding that Last Resort’s white chocolate cheesecake is in a league of its own. Living in Normaltown when I first moved to Athens, there were many evening strolls to dinner at Agua Linda, Normal Bar, and Hi-Lo. I am naturally drawn to green spaces, so Founders Memorial Garden and the Trial Gardens are not only sights to see but also impressively maintained. We have two dogs, Swansea and Cooper, who have hunkered down quite comfortably here in Athens.”
Thank you to Whitney for her willingness to be interviewed for this staff development initiative. To connect with Whitney about her student employee development program or partner with her on a future initiatives, she can be reached at email@example.com.
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Staff Spotlights: Sharing the stories of staff in UGA Student Affairs
In UGA Student Affairs, each and every staff member is more than “just” their title or position in the division. The contributions they make and the impact they have goes beyond their job description. Staff Spotlights were created to recognize and celebrate the stories of the incredible staff that work in UGA Student Affairs. Nominated staff are interviewed and we’re honored to share their stories in the Staff Matters email newsletter and here on the website.
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Tate Student Crew
The Tate Facilities Team