Written by: Rachel Murdoch
My name is Rachel Murdoch. I am a mom of a precious 2-year old girl and I live in Omaha, Nebraska. I am originally from Sioux City, Iowa but have not lived in the Midwest since I left for college quite a few years ago. My pursuit of education, adventure and professional development took me to Minneapolis, MN; Suzaka, Japan; Los Angeles, CA; Anchorage, AK; and most recently to Omaha, NE. In December of 2014 I took some time away from the workplace to be a mom and regroup after such a big life transition.
However in August of 2016, the stars lined up and a mutual friend introduced me to Shannon Snow of Snow Consulting Services. The first time I met Shannon we talked through my resume and she shared contacts and leads for me to follow up on, so that I could re-enter the workforce. Shortly after, Shannon approached me and asked if I would be willing to join her team part time on a project basis. Though I did not anticipate this development, I am thankful to be working with such a passionate, caring and skilled group of individuals. Shannon is one of the most genuinely kind, generous, talented and supportive leaders I know and it is truly an honor to be a member of the Snow Consulting Team.
My professional life has been focused on the programming side of the college, university and life. Much of my time has been spent finding creative ways to teach and foster learning outside the classroom. As a Student Development practitioner and a life long learner, I deeply want students and individuals to understand there are opportunities for learning embedded in all areas of their lives, even outside the classroom. Yet I am convinced that learning doesn’t just HAPPEN. As leaders and educators a high degree of intentionality is required to prepare learning environments to ensure they are ripe for learning.
As administrators, it is our responsibility to name the things we hope for our students/clients to receive so that we can measure success and if necessary adjust our direction going forward. As the Director of Residence Life at Biola University I was a part of the leadership team that established program objectives, learning outcomes, assessment and evaluation standards for students within the residential housing community. Each year, one of my favorite things was reviewing the creative programs students and staff planned throughout the semester, identifying evidence of learning, providing feedback and celebrating successes!
Programming Focus Area
I help lead the Programming Focus at Snow Consulting, these efforts evaluate the delivery of services intended to meet the needs of students or clients. They evaluate what services are being delivered and modifications that need to be made to the client-facing product in order to achieve goals. Snow supports these efforts through our main services; Project Facilitation, Report Generation, and Advisory Services.
Programming Focused projects often have a very narrow scope, focused on solving an individual problem within the organization. Projects developed in the Program Focus usually require the involvement of people with detailed knowledge about the delivery of services and the population they’re trying to impact. As a result, these projects often get stereotyped as being siloed.
Strategies developed in the Program Focus area may result in a need to evaluate organizational priorities and shift resources to achieve goals. Some of the projects organizations my chose to complete that have a Programming Focus include:
- Program Development or Academic Plan
- Housing Study
- Academic or Program Assessment
- Student Services Compliance
The Programming Focus is important because it supports other areas by exploring how goals identified in the Community and Operations Focus areas can be achieved.
An Environmental Scan is typically approached with a Community Focus and may identify a specific workforce need. The Programming Focus will help identify the specific activities that are currently being done to meet this need, and inform strategies around how to promote these services or develop new ones.
Snow Consulting Services has the ability to navigate these complex dynamics and relationships between focus areas to help ensure community-responsive and operationally sustainable programs are developed. In my book, this is a recipe for success!
Rachel Murdoch is a Project Facilitator with Snow Consulting Services. She has extensive experience in Student Services, including housing and student compliance. She has worked nationally, and brings her professional network and vast expertise to Snow Consulting to represent the Program Focus area with our clients.