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Published: Monday, 2/2/2004

Owens worker sees bright future ahead

BY CLYDE HUGHES
BLADE STAFF WRITER
 I will try to engage students. I believe that s my job,  says Andrew McQueen, right, assistant bursar at Owens Community College, with nursing student Alex Westphal. I will try to engage students. I believe that s my job, says Andrew McQueen, right, assistant bursar at Owens Community College, with nursing student Alex Westphal.
KING / BLADE Enlarge

Andrew McQueen, sitting in his assistant bursar s office that is tucked away behind the cashier counters in Owens Community College s administrative building, is dreaming big.

But that shouldn t give the impression that Mr. McQueen, who turns 40 today, is sleeping on the job. Those who work with him will tell you anything but that.

Mr. McQueen said he sees big things for Owens, and after attending a prestigious conference for midlevel African-American managers, sees big things for himself as well. Between studying for his doctorate, helping manage the college s bursar Web site, and informally mentoring students, he squeezes in his official duties as assistant bursar.

And he s enjoying every minute of it.

“I really love what I do,” Mr. McQueen said. “I will try to engage students. I believe that s my job. Making the transition from high school to college can be tough. There s no one there to make you do things, and if you haven t developed that self-discipline, you re going to find it rough. Students need that guidance sometimes, and I hope I help.”

Mr. McQueen joined the Owens staff as a Community College Presidential Fellow in 2000. He served as the interim academic adviser for student athletes before he was named assistant bursar in 2002. He is responsible for overseeing third-party billings, accounts receivable, cashiers, and collections.

This past summer, he attended the leadership development institute sponsored by the National Council on Black American Affairs. He was recommended for the conference by Owens president Dr. Christa Adams and Chuck Mann, senior vice president of business affairs.

The conference targets African-American midlevel administrators and provides mentoring and professional growth resources.

He said talking to other black college administrators from around the country about preparation, advancement, and leadership was eye-opening and enriching.

“Before [the conference], there was a time where I didn t think I would have a shot at truly being successful,” Mr. McQueen said. “It was like living in a vacuum. After the conference, I heard the stories of others in the same situation I was in but were able to excel. It was very inspiring and I feel that I can do those things.”

Mr. McQueen said he now can see himself as a vice president at Owens or another college or university someday. He said he can see himself playing a leadership role in various other positions in higher education.

Dr. Adams said she can see the same thing for Mr. McQueen as well. She said she has brought her assistant bursar to presidential meetings and has been impressed by the way he handles himself around school officials and state leaders.

“From what I know of him, he can do whatever he wants to do,” Dr. Adams said. “He has the all the attributes and talent. He has that personality. If that s what he wants to do, he ll do it.”

Dr. Adams said Mr. McQueen s ability to reach out and relate to many students on campus help makes him one of the college s most effective administrators.

“We have a lot of nontraditional students here,” Dr. Adams said. “Andrew has been there and done that. He s working and studying for a degree like they are, so when he approaches them, he can relate to their situation. He s an outstanding role model for all of our students.”

David Basich, director of business services, said Mr. McQueen has been a “tremendous asset” to Owens because of his connection with students and understanding their needs, which often helps them figure out a way to pay for their classes.

“His background in advising is proving very beneficial,” Mr. Basich said.

A 1982 graduate of Start High School, Mr. McQueen worked at United Parcel Service while attending UT part time, earning his bachelor s degree in 1990. He left UPS in 1993 when he said he didn t receive a promotion he expected and began working in the University of Toledo s bursar s office.

In 1996, Mr. McQueen started working on his master s degree and when he graduated in 2000, he was accepted as a Community College Presidential Fellow, which led him to Owens.

Mr. McQueen said he receives his most pleasure working with the students and hopefully sharing his enthusiasm. He said his wife, Fay, and his three children have also provided a constant source of strength and focus as he dreams about the future.



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