By Deborah Dahn
Many of you are familiar with the newly elected President of Reinhardt University. President Dr. Kina Mallard gives hope for the promising future of Reinhardt University. She has implemented many changes such as the renovation of the Gordy Dining Hall. In this Q&A, she answers many of the FAQ amongst students on campus and you as students and individuals will get to know what kind of person and leader she is. There will continue to be more changes for Reinhardt because President Mallard has plans to make Reinhardt an even better place by first listening to what the students have to say. September 22 will be the day the students will be heard and on April 15, those suggestions will be presented to the inauguration.
The five-year plan for Reinhardt will come from those important suggestions from the students to the leaders. President Mallard’s main focus is on the students because every decision affects them. “We are working on improving the student experience at Reinhardt. Renovation of residence hall space, the new Grab n’ Go at the library, the addition of Starbucks in October, increased activities on the weekends, and a focus on school spirit are examples of student- focused changes.” President Mallard is working on “creating more opportunities for a large group meeting for student input such as the Strategic Planning session on September 22.” She wants more student representation at faculty committees and also encourages that students continue to let their voice be heard through SGA. She is further opening up the bridge of communication by personally reaching out to students and asking their opinions on certain issues. “I always want to be a president who is accessible to the students”- President Kina Mallard.
Under the new leadership of President Mallard, there will be more academic opportunities such as new degrees in Bachelor of Business Administration online and Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. In 2017, there will be a Bachelor Degree of Nursing. President Mallard will work with a leadership team of Vice Presidents and the athletic director to implement these new changes. Most of you have probably wondered what exactly the President does, besides making these exciting changes. President Mallard is an extremely busy woman and the success of Reinhardt depends on her. Strategic planning is the number one thing to do if you want anything you do to succeed. In other words, President Mallard is the sole strategic planner for the school. It is her job to “set the vision and direction of the school” and make sure that everybody else follows suit.
The President and Advancement Team are responsible for fundraising and raising money to support student scholarships, facilities and operations. One of the important jobs that President Mallard does is, in my opinion, be the school’s PR. She” maintains relationships with the students, faculty, staff, donors, alumni, the Board of Trustees, the community and the churches.” Every person has strengths and weaknesses, leaders are not exempt. I asked President Mallard what her weakness was and how she overcomes it. She said,“I am impatient, rarely do things happen fast enough for me. I compensate by being transparent and sharing with my leadership team that I realize I may expect them to move faster than they honestly can move- and I ask them to reign me in when they need to. I asked them to be honest with me when I move too fast and they are! My family figured this out a long time ago and I have a fabulous spouse who keeps me grounded.” Being a leader is not an easy task, and it takes hard work, cooperation and unity from everybody to be a success.
The advice that President Mallard leaves with the students is “- Seek God’s advice. God knows more about Leadership than anyone else. Lean into His understanding. – Listening is the most important leadership skill. You need to have your ear to the heart of your employees and your constituents. – Always respect others. Their opinions matter and can help you be a better leader. – Get things done. Great leaders get great results. – Find opportunities to laugh and have fun. Leading is not easy. You need to find joy in the work. – Surround yourself with balcony people – those who believe in you and cheer you on. The naysayers will find you and you need to balance that with family, friends, and colleagues who will tell you the truth, but believe in you 100% – Hire people who are smarter than you in their areas. Never underestimate the importance of a competent team – Don’t compromise who you are. Be authentic and honest – Always do “the next right thing!”