Jeff Freels

Jeff Freels

Jeff Freels

What work are you doing now?

I am the Director of Institutional Assessment at the University of Texas at Austin. I manage the university's institutional effectiveness processes for academic programs, student support services, and administrative service units. Additionally, my office handles all matters related to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accreditation and other state or federal compliance matters.

What do you like about it?

The scope of my job is vast and no two days are the same. I get to collaborate with a diverse array of faculty and staff across the institution to ensure that our programs and units are fulfilling their missions and the mission of the university. Also, my office is well regarded at the university, which gives us a lot of freedom to pursue projects about which we are passionate. I work with an awesome and supportive team of colleagues.

How did your degree in the college prepare you to do this work?

The Higher Education Program at Mason was very practice-oriented when I was there. That focus on practice, as opposed to theory or abstract ideas (though there was some of that), has served me extremely well in my work. In my current position, I have to formulate, implement, and enforce policy in a huge and complex organization. My studies at Mason prepared me to consider the broad implications of those policies and to implement them with sensitivity and pragmatism.

What advice would you give current students about developing their careers?

Since beginning my doctoral program at Mason in 2010, I moved from a tenure-track teaching position at a community college to an administrative position at a research university. The most important thing I did to get here was pursue (almost) every available opportunity that I could, regardless of what it promised or what it paid. Little will come of most opportunities you pursue, but some will deliver a big pay-off. You never know which ones will deliver.