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November 16, 2023

Staff Spotlight: Samantha Monaghan ‘11 (Communication)

Meet Samantha “Sam” Monaghan ‘11, the Director of Academic Operations at Roberts Wesleyan University. 

Hailing from Philadelphia, her journey with Roberts began as an undergrad, leading to various roles and a deep connection with the university. From doing yoga with alpacas to faithfully serving her colleagues in Academic Operations, she brings a vibrant, irreplaceable energy to her office.

Samantha Monaghan headshot

 Tell me about yourself.

I grew up in the Philadelphia area and attended Roberts as an undergraduate student. Once I graduated, a full-time position opened up in the Humanities Office at Roberts, and I saw it as an opportunity to permanently relocate to Rochester. 

Fast forward many years, and I’ve worked in a number of roles here at Roberts, including serving as the Coordinator of Faculty Personnel and the Academic Affairs Operations Manager. I now serve as the Director of Academic Operations.

How would you explain your job to someone?

As the Director of Academic Operations, I work closely with Dr. Dave Basinger (Chief Academic Officer) and Dr. Marlene Collins-Blair (Assistant Chief Academic Officer) to facilitate the ongoing operations and future initiatives of Academic Affairs at Roberts. 

Additionally, I oversee the onboarding of all new faculty members (regular and adjunct faculty), as well as serve as a main contact person for academic policy and process questions.

What do you like about being at Roberts? 

The aspect of my job that brings me the most joy would be the people I work with. My colleagues are dear friends who care about and support me. In turn, I try to care about and support them. 

While no work environment is ever perfect or free of conflict, we form a community that is sustained through mutual respect and kindness.

What are your passions, and what are you currently working on?

I’m passionate about creative problem-solving and fostering the skills of creativity in others. 

In May 2023, I completed a graduate degree in Creativity and Change Leadership from Buffalo State University. The focus of my master’s project was on the relationship between creativity and intellectual humility, which is, put simply, one’s ability to say, “I could be wrong.”

Sam and her father when she received her master’s degree

Sam and her father when she received her master’s degree

I’ve been able to attend a few traditional undergraduate classes this semester to speak on this topic, and it’s been a joy interacting with the students.

This semester, I’m teaching a section of Principles of Writing, and the students in my class will tell you that I enjoy finding celebrity tweets with grammatical errors and corny GIFs.

What’s one of your favorite memories you have working with the Academic Operations team?

A number of times over the past few years, the Academic Affairs Office, along with our colleagues in the Rinker Community Service Center, have gone curling at the Rochester Curling Club. 

The best thing about curling is that no one is good at curling. We are free to look silly and awkward, and that creates a perfect environment for laughter and collaboration.

Sam and her teammates curling

Sam and her teammates curling

What does “character education” mean to you?

Roberts strives to offer an education to our students that prepares them to successfully join the workforce or advance their already successful careers in a way that is meaningful. 

But perhaps even more important than vocational implications, we strive to mold good humans who know how to love and support those around them. 

In today’s world filled with countless social, economic, and political issues, the goal is for our students to be prepared to contribute to society in unique and impactful ways.

What’s an interest you have outside of work?

I’m a big Philly sports fan and love to root for the Phillies and the Eagles (Go Birds!). I also enjoy staying active by jogging (not running!) and doing yoga.

There is a farm located in Brockport that offers yoga classes with alpacas, which is an experience I highly recommend!

Sam with an alpaca at the alpaca farm

Sam at the alpaca farm

What’s your favorite quote or verse, and why?

I love reading anything written by Henri Nouwen, and in his book Discernment, he reflects on the story from Matthew 14:22-33 when Jesus walks on water and calls for Peter to join him. 

Nouwen writes, “We will not succeed if we stay in the boat. We will not survive if we look down at the waves… Jesus calls us to look up and forward to the one who stands in the midst of the storm.” 

This is a continual reminder for me to fix my eyes on Jesus. I’ve been able to rely on this during an especially busy semester.

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