Gatepost Interview: Meg Nowak Borrego – Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator for Students

How has COVID-19 impacted your work?

It has changed the way I work significantly because I coordinate the COVID-19 Emergency Planning Group. Every morning at 8:30, I am leading that group of people and then depending on how our discussion goes, that changes my priorities for the day or period. I am not seeing my team or the students as often and as informally as I used to be able to. Part of the job that I really, really like is seeing students not only for the reason they stop in, but seeing them as they’re going to lunch or walking through the hallway or across campus.

What is your role in keeping the University running?

Since I coordinate the COVID-19 Emergency Planning Group, my role right now is trying to help all the departments that need to be working together, work together. Making decisions, plan forward and respond to all the new ways of thinking that we have in place in the world. So, it’s kind of like interdisciplinary thinking and interprofessional thinking. I might look at a topic and look at it from a student point of view because I am the dean. I would say the main role I play is making sure there’s a meeting every day at 8:30 and making sure it’s done around 9:30 and not later. Having a platform for all the people engaged in the meeting, which is about 20 people with different points of view. This allows for each to have a say. I collect topics over the 24-hour period until the next meeting and prioritize them. My role is to make sure we don’t shy away from the hard decisions.

Is your job more difficult remotely?

I would say it’s different. I have a job where I work through tough situations with our students. I’m the student Title IX coordinator and it’s harder to do that work with Zoom because it feels less personal, echoing back to just saying, “Hi,” to students in the hallway. I am focusing on something that I don’t normally focus on. I typically don’t work on emergency health preparedness plans every day of my week. What I love most about my job is the human-to-human interaction, which I am not able to do in the same way.

Have you faced any major challenges in the past few weeks or months?

I think the challenges are feeling comfortable for myself that I am supporting and that my staff is offering services that our students can use when they are ready. Counseling students. I want to make sure we are prepared to work with them in a way we can right now, which is not in person.

What advice do you have for FSU students?

Try and stay positive. To practice self-care and to make good decisions based off the health advice we are receiving. That way, they can help themselves stay healthy and help their families stay healthy. Also, to try and do activities that help their mind, body, and soul. Whether it’s taking a walk or talking to someone, even if it must be on Zoom, do something. For school, don’t allow yourself to get so overwhelmed by the difficulty. Just take one step at a time.

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