Executive director of Student Affairs and his team supported University emergency communications during pandemic and moved programs housed at the SMC Campus Center to online platforms.
The Champions of Excellence campaign is a multiyear branding campaign at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) in which we highlight individuals and teams that exemplify extraordinary accomplishment and represent excellence at the University. This year, UMB is highlighting the employees who've done exemplary work during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the next few months, The Elm will be featuring these UMB Champions, who are making Baltimore, our region, and in some cases the world a better place.
Today: Bill Crockett, MS, RCRSP, Executive Director, Student Affairs
From the outside, the SMC Campus Center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) appears quiet and empty. When the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in March, UMB leadership closed the center to the public in an effort to keep students, faculty, and staff safe and physically distanced.
The center was closed for five months, but UMB’s Division of Student Affairs team was hard at work supporting the University community by providing resources and communications assistance to the Office of Emergency Management while moving programs online involving fitness, wellness, diversity, co-curricular education, student leadership, and more.
“The Campus Center has such value to UMB not only as an amenity, but also as a tool on the front lines to support the University during the time of COVID,” said Bill Crockett, MS, RCRSP, executive director, Student Affairs. “One thing we’ve stressed is that whether we’re open to the public or not, the building needs to be utilized for the betterment of the campus and to support COVID recovery.”
(Watch video below.)
The Campus Center reopened its first two floors for the fall semester with protocols in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but on-site amenities such as URecFit and the CulinArt Café remain closed. Crockett says one of his team’s biggest challenges has been finding ways to engage students, faculty, and staff without being able to use many on-campus resources.
“When we opened the Campus Center in 2009, we looked at it as a culture-changing facility that would bring people together from different disciplines and provide a way to build a campus community,” he said. “This pandemic is the antithesis of that.”
But Crockett sees the COVID-19 challenges as an opportunity to learn. By using mediums and platforms such as Zoom, Webex, and Google Classrooms, Student Affairs has found new and innovative ways to engage UMB students.
“When we move forward, there will still be students in a distance learning environment or attending one of our satellite facilities,” he said. “We’re planning to take some of the best practices we’ve learned and use them even after pandemic restrictions have been lifted.”
Crockett’s positive attitude, initiative, and leadership skills are no surprise to Dawn M. Rhodes, MBA, vice president and chief business and finance officer, who nominated him for the UMB Champions of Excellence Award.
“Bill has gone above and beyond in serving UMB through emergency planning, preparedness, response, and recovery,” Rhodes said. “He is always on the ball, responsive, and positive when meeting the challenges. We admire his professionalism, leadership, and commitment to UMB.”
Crockett said he’s looking forward to the day when the pandemic ends and “we can use the Campus Center as a location to celebrate our return to normalcy.” As for the UMB award, he said it’s a reflection of his team.
“I have a great team, and they have been doing the heavy lifting to support our students and make sure they are successful and healthy,” he said. “My role has been to facilitate an orchestra at work. The music is created by those who are performing it. I just hope I’ve had an impact on influencing the way that it’s heard and gets performed.”