by Rosalie Constable
Dr. Kristina Lantzky holds an important position at Hilbert College. Her role as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs has given her the opportunity to make a positive and meaningful impact on the staff and students. To prove her love for the job, the Idaho native and proud mother of three drives to work from her home in Rochester everyday. Many students will go through their entire journey at Hilbert College and barely speak to Dr. Lantzy. The Scribe sat down with her to get to know the woman who cares so deeply about what is best for the students and staff of Hilbert College.
The Scribe: What does the Provost and President of Academic Affairs do?
Dr. Lantzky: My job is to participate in two ways in the institution. So I participate in what’s called a shared government model. That involves faculty senate, staff senate, and senior staff. My role is to work closely with all of those entities and to make sure everybody has a voice and that we are transparent and engaged in looking at the institution holistically from what the needs of the faculty, staff, students, and administrators are. Then the other part of my job where I oversee. So I oversee student retention, the faculty, and the library. I also oversee what’s called the office of institutional research. So that is our data branch of the institution. All of our data is collected there. I also oversee the registrar’s office and online learning. I have a whole host of people who care about the students and work closely with students who we put together to make sure that the academic experience and somewhat the non-academic experience is very positive for our students.
TS: Did you always know that this was the type of work you wanted to do?
DL: Well I started at a small liberal arts school much like Hilbert and I was going to be a physician’s assistant or a physical therapist. I started as a biology major. I quickly got into general biology and said ew. Then I became a chemistry major and I got a chance to, when I was an undergraduate, be a tutor for chemistry. I got to work closely with my faculty doing undergraduate research. I loved college and I wanted to be part of the college experience. I loved when I got to substitute teach and all of this great stuff. So my faculty members that I was very close to pushed me to go to grad school. I knew that all I ever wanted to do in this world was teach and I thought that was what I was going to be doing for the rest of my life. I thought I would find a great school and teach and I did for thirteen years. Slowly I moved up the administrative ladder,slowly getting more responsibility. Then I wanted a change and a friend recommended to go and look at Hilbert. They had this provost position, an interim position, and I never thought I’d want to do it but I thought for a year it wouldn’t be bad. It turned out I really loved it. I love working with the faculty, the students, and the staff. So I didn’t always know that I wanted to do this but now that I’m doing it, I can’t imagine having another job.
TS: What would you say is the hardest part of your job?
DL: I think the hardest part of my job is balancing everyone’s needs. The faculty and staff, both collectively and individually, may have different needs. Sometimes we have to make the hard decisions at the administrative level and it doesn’t make everyone happy. But the number one question we ask ourselves, is it good for our students? And then following it up, is it good for the faculty as a whole? Sometimes those are hard decisions to make but I know that in the end I get to make those decisions and I listen to what everybody tells me. Then we weigh it and we make the best decision we can at that time. It’s hard to know that the decisions we make don’t make everyone happy but the decisions we make, make a stronger and more robust institution.
TS: What would you say is the most rewarding part of your job?
DL: The students. It is all about them. You know, I’m no longer in the classroom but I have three kids of my own and I can only hope someday when my kids go to college that they’re surrounded by faculty, staff, and administrators who not only care about student’s achievements, but also about their wellbeing. When a first-year student steps onto our campus and when they leave us after four years, the difference in them is amazing. I always tell parents, you will drop your students off and then they will come home for Christmas and you’ll look at them and go, “who is this kid?!” They are so much more mature and grown. Then when you look at them as seniors you think how they are going to go out into the world and be amazing and I got to be a small part of that. Just to watch our students go out into the world and be successful is everything that I need.