A sign in her office reads, “Be awesome today.” That’s exactly what she challenges her students to do. With roles in the Clemson University Honors College, the National Scholars Program and the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice, this Tiger is able to engage students from the beginning to the end of their time at Clemson. At each stage of their personal and academic development, she challenges her students to soar.
Meet Sarah Winslow.
Title: Senior associate director of the Clemson University Honors College and director of the National Scholars Program
Years at Clemson: 13
What I do at Clemson: With the Honors College, I have significant responsibility for admissions processes and decisions, curriculum development and innovation, student engagement and experiential learning, college operations and long-term strategic planning.
As director of the National Scholars Program, I recruit and mentor academically exceptional students, maintain strong relationships with University partners, raise scholarship and programmatic funds, engage in donor stewardship and alumni and parent relations, coordinate and co-lead annual study abroad experiences for three cohorts of scholars and manage all budgeting, daily operations and strategic planning for the program.
In simpler terms, my job is to contribute to and enhance the academic, personal, and professional development of Clemson’s highest-achieving students. I like to say that I develop “scholar-leaders.”
What I love about Clemson: I love that Clemson affords the personalization you usually find in much smaller schools, with the resources and opportunities of a large research university.
My defining moment at Clemson: Becoming Faculty Fellow for the National Scholars Program (which I did before I was director) was really what made me realize that working with high-achieving students was my niche. I was relatively newly-tenured and, frankly, pretty burned out. Then I met this accomplished, bright engaging group of students who would be the first cohort of National Scholars with whom I worked. They challenged me — writing papers and asking questions that left me speechless, fact-checking me in class and working to make important changes on this campus and in society. They showed me that caring about my students, being challenging, being liked and being respected were mutually reinforcing, and that has really motivated me to continue doing what I do.
Accomplishment I’m most proud of: Personally, my family is far and away the best thing I’ve ever “done.” As a former (or maybe still reforming!) workaholic, finding a way to have enough time for my family, work and self-care has been a major accomplishment.
Professionally, I frequently say that directing the National Scholars Program is the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my career. What I mean by that isn’t the accomplishment of earning the position, but the many ways it allows me to have an impact on students’ lives and this University. It is truly a gift to be trusted with recruiting and mentoring some of this University’s most exceptional students and then to watch them grow academically, professionally and personally. I like to think my job is believing in them until they believe in themselves, and each time one of them achieves a goal they didn’t think was possible, I experience one of my greatest accomplishments.
Where I see myself in five years: Ideally, I would like to continue and expand my administrative work. I am particularly passionate about strategic recruitment activities, diversity and inclusion, work-life issues for faculty and staff and enhancing the academic experience for exceptional students. I hope to be in a role that continues to allow me to enhance Clemson as a place to study and work.
Last thing I watched on TV: Cars 3 (I have two-and-a-half-year-old twins). But for myself, Grace and Frankie.
Guilty pleasure: When I travel for work, I give myself at least one night of ordering take-out and watching mindless television in my hotel room.
One thing most people don’t know about me: I think a lot of people don’t know I still have an active research agenda even though I have an administrative role. I just finished writing a book (with my co-author Rebecca Joyce Kissane at Lafayette College) on fantasy sports. I’m also a co-PI on Clemson’s NSF ADVANCE-IT grant. We’re currently gathering time diary data from a sample of faculty to better understand workload distributions.
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