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Aaron McPherson: Staff

Graduate Institution: Bowling Green State University, College Student Personnel, M.A.

Departments: Applied Mathematics and Statistics

Aaron McPherson, senior department manager for applied mathematics and statistics

“Coming from previous positions where I worked almost completely independently, the level of collaboration is one of the things I really enjoy about my department manager role.”

As senior department manager at the Baskin School of Engineering, Aaron McPherson oversees all administration operations for the Applied Mathematics and Statistics Departments. He works closely with faculty to support curriculum development and recruitment efforts and leads the budget planning and academic policy implementation for both departments. His favorite thing about working at Baskin Engineering is the commitment and drive shown by the faculty, students, and staff. 

Describe your journey to the Baskin School of Engineering.

I graduated from Bowling Green State University in 2016 with a master’s degree in college student personnel. Even though I started working for an education technology company right after graduating, I always knew I wanted to work in student affairs. It didn’t take me long to realize I would rather be in a student-facing role and ended up landing my first job at UC Santa Cruz, which was in the Career Center. 

I worked in the Career Center for two years before becoming an internship coordinator for the Biology Department. After a while in that role, I was interested in pursuing an opportunity where I could work closely with faculty, so I applied to the assistant department manager role with the Applied Mathematics Department at Baskin Engineering and began working here in May 2021. Over the past couple years, I’ve also taken on supporting the Statistics Department and am now the senior department manager for both Applied Mathematics and Statistics

Explain your role responsibilities as the senior department manager for Applied Mathematics and Statistics.
As senior department manager, I ensure the successful operation of both departments, which includes curriculum planning, budget management, assisting faculty with personnel requests like promotions or raises, and advising chairs on academic policies. My role allows me to work collaboratively with the other department managers at Baskin Engineering. It has been nice to tap into the support and expertise of other department managers. Coming from previous positions where I worked almost completely independently, the level of collaboration is one of the things I really enjoy about my department manager role.

What is something you’ll be focused on during the 2023–24 academic year?
One thing I’ll be focused on is getting the department assistants we’re hiring on board and integrated into the department manager team. We’re hiring three department assistants, which are new roles that will support the work of three Baskin Engineering department managers, one being me, so we can focus more on the long-term planning for our academic departments.

What would you like our extended UCSC community to know about the departments you support?
Applied Mathematics and Statistics faculty are very committed to the success of the students, both in the classroom and research lab. They consistently make sure the courses are designed well to meet the needs of students and often work with the UCSC Center for Innovations in Teaching and Learning (CITL) to find new ways to improve pedagogy.

Also, both departments are doing really fascinating, interdisciplinary research that covers a wide range of topics from climate change solutions and combating COVID-19 to sports analysis. I encourage people to check out the Baskin Engineering website to learn more about the work of our faculty and students.

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the engineering school?
My favorite thing is seeing how committed everyone is to the success of the departments, the students, and the school. From faculty to graduate students to staff, we’re always wanting to help each other and contribute. It makes it easy to come to work knowing we’re all in this together.

Interview Date: July 26, 2023

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