When Berkowitz saw an opportunity in The University of Iowa Graduate College, he thought that it was a good time to take that step. He applied and found himself in the new role of Associate Dean for Student and Administrative Affairs.
Already interacting with graduate students in the classes he taught gave Berkowitz the feeling that this position would be a good fit for his next career move.
"I thought it was something I would get into eventually," Berkowitz said. He also said it was interesting to see how rusty his interviewing skills were since he hadn't interviewed for a job since 1988.
"Iím a touch out of practice," Berkowitz said.
The Graduate College agreed to let Berkowitz split his time between them and the J-MC School, where he doesn't teach this academic year, but still advises graduate and undergraduate students and conducts research.
He spends 60 percent of his time at the Graduate College and 40 percent at the J-MC School. He admits since taking on his new role, he has to pay close attention to his calendar and be well organized.
"It would have been difficult to teach this year," Berkowitz said. "[Not teaching] was good for the transition and learning time management skills."
In his role of associate dean, Berkowitz works closely with graduate students, helping them stay on track and on time in terms of financial aid. He assists them with fellowships, awards, scholarships and competitions. He is also in charge of the Presidential Fellowship Program, a financial award for incoming graduate students.
Berkowitz said that taking on his new role has been a challenge for him. He had to hit the ground running at his new position because no training was available. He has had to rely on what he knows already.
"When you're doing your job for the first year, you don't know what's around the corner some days," Berkowitz said. "You have to say to yourself that all my background and experiences have gotten me ready to do this."
Berkowitz enjoys being outside of the departmental level, moving into a role that spans the entire university. He also said a rewarding part of this new position is learning about new things he knows nothing about from graduate students with concentrations other than journalism.
While Berkowitz thoroughly enjoys helping graduate students succeed, he has no plans on leaving the J-MC School anytime soon.
"If I can be here and still working with grad students and advisees, I can keep a better context of what itís like to be a grad student," Berkowitz said. "It helps to stay connected."
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