How long have you been at SPU?
Seven years. (Note: Later this month Dyana is leaving her position at SPU. Staff Council wishes her well and thanks her for seven years of service.)
Tell us about a memorable good day at work.
One of my favorite days at work each year is the Education Job Fair, at which we host HR staff from 35 or so school districts in Washington state. It’s fun to see our students dressed up, resumes in hand, ready to connect with employers, and step at last into the teaching/school counseling/school administration jobs they have trained for.
Plus, the bacon-wrapped chicken from catering is always a huge hit and afterward we give away our dozens of helium balloons to students walking around campus.
How does your faith impact your work?
The story of Christ’s life is one of radical love and inclusivity, and the reversal of traditional power structures. This model can be directly applied to the field of education and the responsibility that educators have to serve all students and communities, and to try to disrupt and dismantle inequitable systems.
In our society having “power” often means hoarding or holding onto resources — whether those are knowledge, money, or time. Being an educator requires constantly giving away those resources to others. I believe the example of Christ tells us this is how our power is to be used, and that the result is more for all.
Tell us the piece of your life journey that brought you to Seattle Pacific?
I am an alum of SPU’s MFA in Creative Writing program. I was planning to go to law school after undergrad — had taken the LSATs and everything — but a friend of mine from college in Tennessee who came to SPU for a PhD in clinical psychology saw a poster for this brand-new writing program, hanging in Marston and emailed me about it.
Writing has always been my first love, so I applied one week before the deadline and was accepted. I lived in Tennessee while completing but moved to Seattle after I graduated, and took over coordination of the program.
That was my first job at SPU out of five positions (four as staff and one as adjunct faculty) spanning seven years. In a nice twist of fate my college friend is now a professor in the Psychology Department and our families live down the street from one another (shout out to Dr. Jake Bentley).
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?
Anyone who knows me even a little likely knows I belong to a community garden. Seattle has a great community garden program (called “P-Patch”), and I belong to the one in Interbay. It’s just south of the driving range on 15th and is a great place to sit and stroll if you’re ever looking to take a sack lunch off campus.
Just don’t pick anything out of the plots, because the gardeners get really cranky about that! I recently saw a sign posted that read: “I know the person who stole from this vegetable patch believes in God. What have you done???” I think that’s an overreaction, but do have a new level of appreciation for how much effort it takes to grow food.
What's something that few people know about you?
I have a keen interest in employment law and human resources. I am an on-call copyeditor for World Vision. I am a Pushcart-nominated poet. I make a mean buttermilk biscuit.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
Hands down, the people I work with. Educators tend to be hard working, fun, collaborative people who believe that individual efforts (such as those made by teachers in the classroom) contribute to real, systemic change. I don’t always feel like the world works that way, so am often buoyed by the optimism of my colleagues.
What’s the most important thing that you’d want people to know about you?
I am a passionate advocate for prison reform and better reentry systems and support for returning citizens and their families.
Anything else you'd like to share?
Yes, and this is very important. Two years ago I won second place in the year-end Staff Council social pie baking contest, and I am still a little miffed that I lost out to Clint Kelly’s bourbon pecan pie, because no matter how tender your crust or how precise your lattice, it is impossible for a fruit pie to beat out a boozy sugar pie. Especially when it’s made by Clint Kelly, who as I understand it is a wonderful person in addition to being a wonderful baker.
Please join Staff Council in congratulating Dyana Herron as the September 2019 Staff of the Month!