Niki Rudolph: Outstanding Supervisor Award Winner 2023

Leading with Strength, Compassion, and Humor

Dr. Niki Rudolph, Assistant Dean for Student Success and Advising at Lyman Briggs College has risen to the challenges of the last few years with strength, compassion and humor. From COVID to February 13, Niki is regarded as a positive leader who is understanding, supportive and inclusive.

“An outstanding supervisor values diversity and promotes an inclusive environment within the workplace and beyond. Niki Rudolph brought together a diverse team with unique talents and regularly celebrates the richness of that diversity empowering her team to feel valued, supported, and respected members of a unified team. Her positive leadership style and empowerment cultivates passion and purpose in the department’s work,” explains members of the Lyman Briggs College Student Success and Advising Team.

“Her most inspirational qualities include her wit, humor and showing up for every single member of our team,” says Lyman Briggs colleague Amanda Cho.

Her colleagues praise her for putting team members forward for promotions, working to retain and recruit staff, and creating a work culture that centers transparency, consistency, care, and compassion.

Niki Rudolph

Filling a leadership void.

“Dr. Rudolph began her role as Assistant Dean of Student Success and Advising (ADSSA) in the Summer of 2021. At that time, Lyman Briggs College (LBC) had been without an ADSSA for 12 months. The college had undergone a significant leadership transition, and we were one year into a global pandemic. Niki began her role during a time of intense challenge and complexity. She met these circumstances with a wonderfully positive attitude, a tireless work ethic, and a deep commitment to building trust, success, and job satisfaction across the SSA team. Fast forward 24 months, and Niki now has a full staff and a team of colleagues that clearly deeply value and respect her as their supervisor, colleague, and mentor,” shares Dr. Kendra Cheruvelil, Dean and Dr. Georgina M. Montgomery, Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning for Lyman Briggs College.

“Niki has steadfastly led our team in a way that has fostered an atmosphere of constant support while encouraging autonomy, initiative and ownership of our work. We have a team that truly embodies the ideals of teamwork, and it stems from Niki. It’s clear that Niki fully supports us in our work and life while always challenging us to take initiative and pushing us to discover further potential. I love working with this team and with Niki. She makes our job feel more like a purpose and calling and helps us see the bigger picture of what we do each day. I love coming to work because of the atmosphere she’s helped cultivate,” comments LBC colleague Jacki Dotts.

“Furthermore, Niki humanizes the work environment. She understands that life circumstances impact our ability to always be physically present during regular work hours. She allows for flexibility and is incredibly approachable, supportive, and receptive in our times of need. She holds space for us to share life’s difficulties and provides helpful resources and ideas,” her coworkers explain.

Dr. Niki Rudolph, Assistant Dean for Student Success and Advising at Lyman Briggs College and her team.

Infusion of Trauma Informed Approaches.

“As Assistant Dean of a residential college, extensive emotional labor is also involved across all parts of her portfolio. Niki’s workload regularly includes dealing with students’ experiences involving RVSM, OIE reports, suicidal intentions, and mental health. All the while, Niki also supervises and supports a whole team who also face these challenges regularly. Every year this is the case for Niki as ADSSA, but with the violence of February 2023, these needs were significantly increased. With Niki’s unwavering support, strength, and humility, the SSA team responded quickly, effectively, and with great compassion and thought during this extremely challenging time. Niki centered trauma informed approaches in all the SSA team’s work and provided spaces for her team and for our students for community and support,” explains Dean Cheruvelil and Associate Dean Montgomery.

From setting up a safe space in Holmes where faculty, advisors, staff, and students could connect through snacks, activities, and conversation following the February 13th campus tragedy to joining several of her team members in the four-session Self-Compassion training, Niki demonstrates her commitment to wellness and work-life balance. It is a tribute to Niki that her colleagues conclude that “We are not only a work team; we are a work family!”

View the other Outstanding Supervisor Award Winners for 2023.