Creative writing master's degree candidate
Shadowed: Ralph J. Hexter, provost and executive vice chancellor
On November 9, 2018, I had the opportunity to shadow Provost Ralph Hexter for a day with the Leadership Shadow Program. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect from the day. I woke up that morning, somewhat nervous, and put on a professional dress, only to arrive at Mrak Hall and discover it was Casual Friday. Even so, Provost Hexter wore a suit. While I was at first intimidated to shadow a university administrator at such a high level, Provost Hexter quickly put me at ease by taking an interest in my personal experiences and listening to what brought me to the Leadership Shadow Program. I told him I was interested in the world of student affairs and higher education, especially at public universities, and wanted a “behind the scenes” look at it, so to speak. But we also discussed my passion for English Literature and Creative Writing, and it was revealed that we both had an affinity for literature.
After our conversations, Provost Hexter shared my story with almost everyone we met over the course of the day, and every single person responded with interest and kindness. Often times, we forget that university administrators are, in fact, educators, and they care deeply for their students and student development. Throughout every meeting, I saw Provost Hexter act as an advisor to other staff and provide insight on ways to improve certain aspects of UC Davis, and throughout it all it was abundantly clear that staff has the best interests of the students in mind.
My experience as a participant in the Leadership Job Shadow program was thought-provoking and allowed me to experience UC Davis life from a completely different perspective. At the end of it all, Provost Hexter made me a cup of hot chocolate.