10 Things To Know About Natalie Herring
Natalie Herring is new to UIS. She grew up in Chicago, earned degrees from Dartmouth and Northwestern, and has worked in a number of academic administrative positions. At UIS, she will be creating and carrying out an enrollment management plan focused on recruitment, admission and outreach. She definitely includes online students in her planning, so we thought you might like to get to know her a little better.
- A test in 5th grade changed Natalie Herring’s life.
“I had gone to my neighborhood elementary school (in Chicago’s South Side). In fifth grade, we had to take a test. For me, as a child, it was a little traumatic because I didn’t know what it meant, but the next year, they shipped me and three of my friends off to the Beasley Magnet Academic Center.” At that school and at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, where she went next, college was a foregone conclusion. “Life at Whitney Young suggests that you are going to college,” she says.
- She was the first in her family to attend college.
“There’s something joyous about being first generation,” she says. “My parents were so happy. It’s the power of education. You transform yourself, your family, your community. The ripple effect is amazing.”
- She chose Dartmouth College in New Hampshire because she wanted a change.
“I had never seen a chipmunk. ‘Who is chopping up the squirrels and turning them brown? Like, who’s doing this?’ I hadn’t seen stars. I hadn’t seen mountains. It was gorgeous. New Hampshire looked like a puzzle that you put together. Yes, I did call it Green Acres. I did say that the town was three blocks long. It was an adjustment, of course, especially for a black girl with black hair, but it was also just so magical.”
- She feels your financial pain.
When her parents left her at Dartmouth, Herring had no money. “None at all,” she says. “I went to the bookstore and there were 24 books required for English 52, American Drama. I just wept. I called home, and luckily my parents could get me the money, but the stress and the dread of I can’t do this was horrifying that first week.” Because of her experience, she wants to be very transparent about the miscellaneous expenses at college—books, laundry, pizza, a little fun. “I have definitely lived that experience,” she says.
- She knows about online learning from the teacher’s side.
“I taught a hybrid online class at DeVry University. It was a lot of fun to figure out ways to keep folks engaged. When I am in a room full of people I can act corny or tell a funny joke. But how do I give of myself via the web? I decided, I am going to be present. I’m going to be in this moment and we are going to have this experience together. I think if you are an online instructor that’s really the gift to give your students. It was just such a joy. I really enjoyed learning how to teach online.”
- She loves technology because it can bring people together.
“I’m a closet tech nerd. I love the data bases, and I love things like Blackboard and Canvas—things that can bring us together to have a conversation. It’s just extraordinary to see technology bring us together especially when we have such division in our world right now.”
- She sells education and is happy to do it.
Following her undergraduate degree, she took time to pay off her loans and then enrolled in a master’s degree program at Northwestern University in integrated marketing communications. Marketing has everything to do with admissions, according to Herring. “I sell in my job, and I’m very happy to do that,” she says, “because what I sell is the transformative experience of an education. I’m happy to sell that all day long.”
- She looks forward to bringing more online students to UIS.
“One of the things we have to do is just be aware that we are indeed recruiting online students. We need a real strategy and a plan for that. I especially want to make more inroads in virtual college fairs because we can talk to students in a way that they are comfortable doing. We also need a plan for career changes and career advancers because I know from my own experience how important it is to keep that going. Most of all, we need to make our online history and success part of our narrative—we just don’t toot our own horn enough about our programs for online learners.”
- She has some advice for online learners:
- Put yourself at the top of the list. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Get your sleep, take your medicine, exercise, eat right.
- Congratulate yourself on what you are doing. The fact that you made this commitment is a big deal, so remember to celebrate it.
- If you hit a bump, reach out. There are supports in place for you. No person can do everything on their own, and there’s no shame in asking for help if it makes you stronger.
- Most of all, remember that the entire university belongs to you. This is a world-class educational setting, and it’s
- She’s not all work!
“Last weekend, I went to my first Comic-Con in Rosemont, Illinois. It was a bucket list thing for me. It was wonderful to be in a place where you can just be a nerd, and everybody else is a nerd, and there’s no shame. I was worried about what I was going to wear, and then I thought, everyone here is dressed up. Nobody cares what I’m wearing! It was very liberating. I even got a picture with David Duchovny of the X-Files who I think is probably one of the more handsome people on the Planet Earth. I keep the little picture right on my make-up desk so that I see it every morning, and think, that’s me and Fox Mulder! Yeah, I went to Wizard World Comic-Con, and it was awesome.”