For Megan Cranney, working to help students become leaders has been a goal since she was a college student herself. For her, becoming Temple Ambler’s new Assistant Director for Student and Campus Life is coming full circle.
“I was an orientation leader during my junior and senior year while I was working on my degree. It truly opened my eyes to student life and becoming involved on campus in general,” said Cranney, who will hit the ground running as she begins her tenure at Temple Ambler on Monday, August 27, the first day of the fall 2018 semester. “I got to know the staff and discovered that working in the student life field could be a career. I knew then it was the right path for me.”
The director of student life, Cranney said, “has to be someone that students feel comfortable coming to when they have ideas for campus programming or have concerns.”
“I’ve been working in student life for eight years now. I think the most essential part of the job is building relationships with the students,” she said. “Students are going to get out of Temple what they put into it. I want to know what types of experiences they would like to have while they are at Temple Ambler.”
Cranney joins the Temple team with several years of student life experience at Chestnut Hill College and Drexel University. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations from Millersville University and a Master of Science degree in Higher Education — with a concentration in student development and affairs — from Drexel University.
As Associate Director of Student Activities at Chestnut Hill College, Cranney planned student programs, oversaw student groups, developed student leaders and managed social media for her department.
More recently, as Student Organization Financial Advisor at Drexel she shared oversight of a budget for 300 student organizations, managed student activity fee expenses, funding and allocations, and negotiated contracts and payments with vendors and outside entertainment.
“Megan brings a great deal of experience working with a wide variety of student groups and organizations to Temple Ambler — she’s familiar with the needs of a commuter campus combined with an understanding of large, urban university settings. She has a great deal of creativity and will be able to adapt to the needs of Temple Ambler and its students very quickly,” said Tara Stasik, Director of Academic and Student Services. “She wants to create a partnership with the students on campus. She’s relatable — she has a very positive outlook and attitude – she will be someone students want to get to know.”
As a member of the Academic and Student Services team at Temple Ambler, Cranney will ensure that students are provided with an “exemplary and engaging academic experience outside of the classroom,” according to Stasik. She will collaborate with faculty, departments, staff and external stakeholders to plan, develop, organize, implement and evaluate all student and campus life activities and events, student engagement programming (on and off-campus), leadership development opportunities, oversight of student organizations and community service initiatives at the Ambler Campus.
“This is a position, where, I think, I’ll have the opportunity to wear many hats and that was exactly what I was looking for. I love collaborating as a team to provide our students with the best college experience possible,” Cranney said. “I want our students to have the opportunity to learn about and understand their strengths as leaders, to improve upon them and work collaboratively with other students that may have different strengths.”
Described as a “perpetual optimist, ultimate team player and collaborator,” and “someone who makes all of her decisions with the students in mind, we are excited to have Megan join our team, helping to build student life, shape the university experience for our Ambler Owls and assist with planning and implementation of our new array of community events!” said Stasik.
Cranney said community events, and community service in particular, give students opportunities to “expand their experience outside of campus in a positive way.”
“When you are working toward a common goal, I think it helps build a real connection between the students and the surrounding communities,” she said. “It gets area residents invested in what we are doing on campus and they can, in turn, become part of supporting our students’ success though networking, internships or job opportunities.”
Cranney — who says students are “welcome to call me Meg” — will have her first opportunity to meet the campus community during the first day of class. She will be greeting students, helping them to acclimate, or re-acclimate, to Temple Ambler during the Campus Barbeque on August 27 and Taste of Philly on August 28. Students will also have a chance to “pop” into the Learning Center of August 29, where Cranney will serving up information about campus activities while she’s also serving up hot popcorn!
A student’s time at Temple, Cranney said, “is the perfect opportunity for them to try new things.”
“College is all about new experiences. What I hope our students are able to do when they graduate is talk about how Temple changed them in positive ways; that they learned from all of their experiences here, inside and outside of the classroom,” she said. “I want them to have a terrific experience and I want to help our students grow as people — academically, socially and professionally.”