The stereotype for many academics may be a life lived in the ivory tower, but Sandra Stone, the new chancellor for the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, started her career as a social worker who saw people living in harsh conditions before she was a college administrator. We spoke to Stone about the most important elements in her curricula vitae. 

PHOTOS BY EVAN SIGMUND

Mildred Cline
I was an early reader and that served me well through the years. When I started first grade, I went to this schoolhouse with just three rooms for eight grades. This teacher gave special treatment to me because I could already read and I was rewarded with special trips to the library because I was much more advanced.

Dalton State
I started as a social worker, then started research projects and worked through the doctoral program. It was important in just learning how higher education works and how a university works.

Reframing Organizations by Lee G. Bolman and Terrance Deal
It shows you how to look at an organization through four different frames: structure, human resources, politics and symbolism. Pretty much all problems and activities within an organization will go into these primary frames, and the different way you deal with issues should depend on what the primary frame is. It’s important to correctly identify a problem. Like if you have got a political problem in an organization but you just fire somebody, you are dealing with it as an HR problem. You have to correctly identify problems to find a correct solution.

Book Clubs
It’s important to never lose touch with fiction. I was in a couple book clubs in Atlanta, and enjoy reading books. There is something to be learned from telling stories and getting into people’s life experiences.

Historical Fiction
That’s my favorite genre. I like learning while also reading a story too.

Angel Statuette
A student gave this as a thank you gift. It’s an angel of learning. It’s those gifts out of the blue that just pop up that can keep you going.

Fire Engine Toy
When I was a vice president at Dalton State, among the vice presidents and the president, we talked about how all we did was put out fires. I bought a set of fire trucks and gave one to everybody. It reminds me of our days putting out fires all day long.

Bryn Mawr Summer Institute
They do a Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education and Administration. It was like an administrator boot camp. We lived on campus for an entire month, and we did a lot of reading, homework and classes. It was a wonderful professional development experience. It was helpful to me to get a bigger picture, and to see how all the pieces fit together.

Georgia Board of Regents
I spent time with the Board of Regents and it gave me a system perspective. I learned about different types of institutions, and how you pull them together all into one system, and leverage resources and things to scale to save money.

Yoga
I don’t do as much as I’d like. When I get in a regular routine, I do it two or three times a week. It’s great exercise both mentally and physically. It’s very calming, a way to stay grounded and reconnect. I do mostly Hatha yoga, but Yin is my favorite. SRQ