Staff Spotlight: Keitha Prospere
Welcome to Staff Spotlight, where we give the members of #RyersonSA the opportunity to discuss everything from their own approach to the industry to their favourite literature. Swing by to get to know your colleagues a little bit better.
Position: “In Transition”
Department: Student Life
What’s the first thing you do when you come into the office?
After saying hello to my colleagues, I go straight to my computer so that I can begin work. My colleagues would say that I am task-oriented.
In your view what makes Ryerson unique?
Ryerson is comparably a “young” university which gives us great opportunity for innovation and growth. There is more flexibility to adapt to the needs of our students and to be creative in offering high-level academic programs and delivering quality support services that cater to those needs.
What is something that you wish more people knew about about your position?
My current position in Student Life is still being defined but I would say that my work cannot stand alone and has many touch points i.e. each staff in Student Life impacts the work that I do and vice-versa.
What made you to decide to work in Student Affairs? If you hadn’t chosen SA, what would you be doing right now?
Volunteering in my 1st year certainly helped me obtain part-time work beginning from 2nd year during my undergrad. Working was a way of financial support but working in Student Affairs was also a way to give back to an area that had helped me a lot when I came to Ryerson as an international student. It was an invaluable community of support that truly made a difference in my life and career path.
Where is your favourite place to be outside of work?
I am from an island, so if I could I would chill on the beach, but otherwise I love movies so the cinema is one of my favourite places.
What’s your favourite book?
That isn’t one of my favourite questions and I sometimes respond with “the one I will eventually write”. I don’t have a favourite book.
What’s your top App?
My top app is Facebook because it keeps me connected to my family and friends back home but also to the many friends, including Ryerson alumni, who have moved away and wouldn’t be able to be in touch otherwise.
Name the individual(s) who have made the greatest impact in your career?
Yvonne Harte and Kate Moore gave me the opportunity as a student-staff which started my career in Student Affairs but the greatest impact came from the previous Coordinator, International Student Support, Diana Ning. I had the pleasure of having her as my supervisor and mentor for 9 years of my full-time professional experience. She had a vision of where she wanted our work to go and even through challenges, she got there. It is truly inspiring how much she cared for our work and international students.
What’s something about you that people are always surprised to learn?
Hands down, that I have an identical twin sister.
What’s your favourite spot on campus?
Easily the quad because it is a little oasis that can make you forget that you are downtown.
In what ways have you found Student Affairs to differ from your previous work experiences?
As you can tell by this point, my work experience is deeply rooted in Student Affairs but I can say that our work has significantly improved since I started. There is a greater focus on supporting the development of professional staff which enhances our competency to do our work even better, to build stronger communities of collaboration, and give greater care to our students and each other.
What’s your self-care like?
My self-care is a work in progress but I think that sleep is important and I didn’t always think that way. I go to bed early enough to get a full 8 hours of rest and I can easily tell that there is a difference if I don’t.
What is something you are doing to increase the impact of Student Affairs at Ryerson?
I think that how we interact with our students is important, so I hope that I give them as much information as I can and make them feel that they are cared for. Social media is also a great way to share our work and the stories of the work that we are doing. Being engaged on social media spreads the word, shows that we support each other and gives us an unlimited platform to engage with colleagues and people around the world. For me, most of that activity is on Twitter.
When I started working in Student Affairs I wish I had known:
That it’s ok to let go of your work. Sometimes pride in our work means that we don’t want to let go, move on to something else, something that needs just as much passion and hard work as it took to build what we have achieved thus far. We have seen that a few times in Student Affairs through restructuring or repurposing of positions/staff because of where the needs are, and it works. I am going through that experience myself and it is amazing to see how important that is, becoming less fearful and more appreciative of the opportunity.
If you’d like to be featured in a Staff Spotlight, please contact Lucas Gobert at LGobert@Ryerson.ca.