Staff Spotlight: Brian Williams
Position: Test Centre Coordinator
Department: Student Learning Support
What’s the first thing you do when you come into the office?
Drink my coffee, I can’t function until that happens!
In your view what makes Ryerson unique?
Diversity. It’s so refreshing to work with students and colleagues from so many different cultures and backgrounds. I am also so proud to work for an institution that celebrates diversity the way Ryerson does. I have never been so comfortable at work.
What is something that you wish more people knew about about your position?
The volume of exams my team administers on a yearly basis (19,266 last year). I have an amazing team and unfortunately being in the basement does not allow for much exposure, but they do great work.
What made you to decide to work in Student Affairs? If you hadn’t chosen SA, what would you be doing right now?
I stumbled into it, honestly. I was doing recruiting for a University in the States, but I was remote (in Chicago, recruiting for Arizona). When we moved to Toronto, I made it a goal to work at a University and to move out of recruiting. I had experience in testing centres and am passionate about supporting students through their academic journey. I was also a first generation student, so I understand what it feels like to navigate University on your own.
Where is your favourite place to be outside of work?
Anywhere with water. Cottage, beach, pool. Nothing is more peaceful to me.
What’s your favourite book?
The Front Runner. It’s the story of a closeted-ex marine who coaches track at a prestigious college. A national track star transfers to the college and the two spark a relationship that ends in tragedy. It’s a very real story for me b/c I was a competitive athlete growing up. The story was written in 1974, which was very controversial for the time. Some of the language is not what would be used in a story like this today, but for the time it was incredibly brave and progressive.
What’s your top App?
Facebook or Instagram.
Name the individual(s) who have made the greatest impact in your career?
Misty Munoz—my manager when I worked for Kaplan in Dallas and California. She taught me the importance of proper planning. She was very detail oriented and I was able to adopt some of her style into my own. It has really helped me succeed in my current role.
What’s something about you that people are always surprised to learn?
I am from Texas. People don’t believe me b/c I don’t have an accent, but I am.
What’s your favourite spot on campus?
My office. I’m very fortunate to have an office in the SLC with a view of Dundas Square. If I need a break, I can just push back from my desk and look out the window.
In what ways have you found Student Affairs to differ from your previous work experiences?
I feel that I truly make a difference in our student’s experience at Ryerson. I really enjoy supporting our student’s with disabilities and helping them succeed.
I also find that #RyersonSA is incredibly innovative and really pushing Student Affairs in Canada. On numerous occasions, I have been at conferences where people from other institutions want to know what we’re doing as soon as they know I am from Ryerson. It’s a pretty cool feeling.
What is something you are doing to increase the impact of Student Affairs at Ryerson?
Improving the Test Centre space. My goal is give our student’s the best experience we can. The bottom line is we need a new space, but I don’t know when that will happen. So it’s my goal to make the current space the best it can be for our students.
When I started working in Student Affairs I wish I had known:
How much people tweet! I am not much a tweeter (is that a thing?), but I am trying to get better! Follow me @briwilliams47.