The new chief of staff in the San Diego State office of the president, Andrea Rollins, is excited to learn and better understand the students, faculty and staff on campus. As part of the president’s cabinet, Rollins is expected to provide executive support in President Elliot Hirshman’s top decisions, projects and meetings.
With long work hours, deadlines to meet and effectively communicate along the way, Rollins is providing her leadership experience to tackle any issues or concerns SDSU has.
“Chief of staff can mean a variety of things,” Rollins said. “In this situation, it is to support President Hirshman at the highest administrative level to ensure operations are running smoothly and issues are being addressed.”
Rollins met Hirshman and Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. James R. Kitchen during her application process for the chief of staff position. The application process was straightforward and timely.
When asked what improvements need to be made to the university, Rollins said she’s still in the process of determining that.
“President Hirshman has a good character,” she said. “He is looking out for the institution.”
According to Rollins, she and Hirshman are defining their roles as newly appointed executive leaders of SDSU as they go along.
Chief Diversity Officer Aaron Bruce believes with a reliable and trusted team, Hirshman will be able to progressively get more done in the course of each day. Bruce and Rollins provide direct support to Hirshman collaboratively to help the university run efficiently.
“Having a chief of staff who is committed to diversity, inclusion and social justice is important,” Bruce said. “Andrea brings a wealth of experience and knowledge about SDSU.”
Bruce said he and Rollins plan to work closely to support diversity initiatives, and they are making it a priority to communicate effectively to help the university prosper. It’s their job to help the president in his leadership of SDSU and to broadly communicate his future plans.
“Having been a student here, I definitely have understanding of the campus culture, environment and accomplishments SDSU has,” Rollins said.
As an SDSU alumna, she has had a personal, diversified relationship with the campus, having been a student for more than 10 years.
Rollins earned her bachelor’s in social science in 2002 and her master’s in postsecondary educational leadership in 2005. She graduated earlier this year with a doctorate degree in education with an emphasis in educational leadership. All of her educational accomplishments have been achieved at SDSU.
“Part of my challenge is getting to know everyone I need to get to know,” she said. “It’s going to take some time.”
Although it is her first month at SDSU, Rollins has met with Associated Students and various faculty and staff. In addition to taking time getting to know everyone, serving the SDSU community is another one of Rollins’ goals. She said she has the student body on her priority list.
“As far as goals are concerned, I really want to be impactful and give back to the SDSU community,” Rollins said.
She is interested in exploring mentoring opportunities and would also like to teach a university seminar class next fall. To her, it is all about learning and understanding the university.
“At this point, I have a lot to learn and understand,” she said.
Rollins said she is excited to continue her affiliation with the campus, and believes SDSU is San Diego’s premier university.