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"A Miami moment with ... Gerald Yearwood"

04/12/2012

Gerald Yearwood
"A Miami moment with ..." is a Q-and-A column featuring Miami employees.

Oxford resident and Harlem native Gerald Yearwood, senior administrative director in the office of diversity affairs, said summer is his favorite time of year, because it gives him time to travel, reflect and enjoy life. He says his background as a college basketball player and high school basketball coach inspires his work in higher education because it taught him how to mentor young people.

Q: What is your daily routine with the division?
A: I usually begin my day by returning emails and calls. I follow that with a general overview of what meetings or appointments I may have with students - both current and prospective, along with individual sessions that focus on student apathy, financial aid, social and cultural interactions. I attend meetings where I represent my office. I coordinate our general staff meetings once a month and meet individually with members of my staff bi-weekly.

Q: What makes you want to come to work every day?
A: Students. They’re the future of our country and it’s an honor to have the ability to share my experiences with them, to help them grow and develop in a period of four to five years. And the beauty is first, you see them in their undergraduate experiences and then you see them in their professional lives. It’s alarming how far they’ve grown.

Q: What are your goals while in this position?
A: I have many goals, however, my primary goal is to make sure the office of diversity affairs is meeting the needs of all students who use our services. I also want the entire student affairs staff to continue to achieve the goals we set in place addressing issues of cultural awareness, inclusion, difference, sexual orientation, gender and race.

Q: What do the students teach you?
A: First and foremost, they teach me how to understand the different situations they experience on a daily basis, number two, to be a good listener, and number three, to operate as a surrogate parent when the time calls for you to take on such a role.

Q: You have a pretty interesting background. What were you doing before you came to Miami?
A: I have a background in mental health and substance abuse counseling. For a period of 15 years, I worked at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, New York, in the emergency room as a psychiatric caseworker and later as a chemical dependency counselor. I was appointed chief of addiction services at the Syracuse Community Health Center, where I managed the daily operations for the Counseling Addiction and Psychiatric Services (CAPS).

Q: Coming from Harlem to Oxford is quite a move. What entertainment do you enjoy?
A: Outside the office I see myself as an adventurous, caring individual who likes movies, jazz, art, reading and, to a degree, sports. Coming from Harlem, I learned that tomorrow isn’t granted to you, and all you have is today.

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