Chett Miller

Chett Miller
Training and Development Coordinator
UCLA Recreation

Chett Miller currently serves Student Affairs and our campus as Training and Development Coordinator for UCLA Recreation. In this position, Chett offers support to the many areas within Recreation that employ students. In all, recreation hires about 550 students and his duties include making sure that they have proper certifications and trainings to provide safe engaging spaces as well as helping to create programming to promote the development of students into well rounded citizens. In addition, he serves as supervisor for the Student Leadership team (the Student Leadership Employee Advisory Committee, or SLEAC) and as the committee lead for internal programs that include both assessment and student development. Chett is also responsible for High School Programming in the summer.

Chett started his career in recreation in what he calls a “non-traditional” fashion. He majored in Political Science and History as an undergraduate at University of Maryland Baltimore County, then spent three years working in licensing at a software company, and, finding that technical work was not meeting his long-term needs, went back to school at Ohio State University for a Master’s in Sports Management. He also became involved in a variety of recreational activities ranging from municipal parks to statewide high school events. It was at this point that his partner was accepted to a doctoral program at UCLA, and he move with her to Westwood. His sports management background brought him into conversations with key staff members in UCLA Recreation, and his Bruin career moved out of the starting blocks in October 2012.

What does a typical day in your shoes look like?

As in many of our areas, a “typical day” for Chett depends on the time of year. During the academics year, his focus is on the development, implementation, and evaluation and on-going improvement of curricula for UREC training program, including strategic planning, program and course development, instruction and evaluation. He works in a support capacity for training and development for both student, limited and professional staff.

As noted above, Chett also spends a substantial amount of time working in the student development area, primarily with the Student Leadership Employee Advisory Committee (SLEAC). He notes that Recreation employs nearly 550 students in 15 different operational areas, including Facilities, programs, marketing, business services, competitive sports, FITWELL, and many others, and SLEAC is composed of one representative from each of these areas. The committee meets bi-weekly during the academic year to provide feedback from students in the various areas and to work on leadership-related activities. In a similar area, but a much larger context, Chett also co-chairs Recreation’s internal assessment committee, which look at areas including morale among both full-time and student staff (“Making sure everyone is feeling supported and that we’re moving in the right direction as a department”); evaluation of programs, use of facilities, and responsiveness to client needs (“We want to be the best stewards we can of the resources students provide for us”); and the functioning of technology services.

During the summer, Chett’s main responsibilities center on the administration for the many high school programs that come to campus through Conference Services. One such program, Summer Discovery, comes from a New York-based company and sends 1,400 students to UCLA each summer. Chett says, “For that group, we offer everything from economics to magic classes, and I have to say, interviewing instructors for some of those summer classes is one of the most fun things I have in my job.”

What are some Projects/events you are most proud of in your work?

Chett says, “One of the things I’m most proud of is the work with SLEAC. Through that committee, we’re able to work with just about all 700 student employees to teach them about the field of recreation, give them experience in event planning, and facilitate networking outside their own areas.” He notes that two year ago, SLEAC launched a program called Rec-A-Thon in which students in each area plan and present a program, with a competition to see which program draws the greatest attendance. He recalls two events from last year of which he is especially proud. One was called RecsGiving, which was a gathering planned for the week before Thanksgiving in which the professional staff provided all the food and the students were in charge of all the logistics and preparation. This gather drew over 120 attendees between students and staff. The other was a presentation prepared in conjunction with National Recreation Day, a nationwide program coordinated by NIRSA, the professional body for Recreation. The members of SLEAC developed UCLA’s first-even presentation for this event, offering information about what the many goals of recreation as a field and the many reasons individuals participate in the programs and services offered by an organization such as UCLA Recreation.

How does your work impact UCLA and its community?

Chett observes, “We see the appeal of our services in terms of raw numbers. By our count, about 85% of undergraduate and graduate students enter one of our facilities at least once a year. I would say that’s a part of our work as a unit that makes all of us proud – the impact of our daily work on the campus and community.”

He continues, “When you think of the huge range of programs and services we offer, it’s pretty astounding. I mean, whether you’re interested in belly dancing or backpacking or learning to kayak or playing lacrosse or learning how to avoid injuries at work, we are there. We support fitness and health all across the campus, including programs like BHIP and FitSports and special programs for staff in facilities. We promote healthy socialization for students, and we have programs to help students and all members of our campus community develop healthy lifestyles and a commitment to well-being. We offer opportunities for students to learn skills they won’t necessarily get in the classroom, and for staff, faculty, and community members we support access to lifelong learning in a huge number of areas.”

What other organizations at UCLA you are involved with?

In spite of the fact that Chett’s plate seems to be very full with his responsibilities in Recreation, he is also involved with two important committees beyond the Wooden Center. One is the Campus Programs Committee, which determines allocation of funding for the hundreds of student programs related to cultural and educational activities that take place on campus. Another is the Student Affairs Staff Welfare and Development Committee, which plans and coordinates all “extra-curricular” activities for Student Affairs staff, both those with a professional development orientation and those intended more for personal development. As a sub-set of this committee, Chett is a member of a work group that is planning an updated version of a Student Affairs Orientation program for new staff just entering our organization. The aim of the Orientation is to provide new staff members (and all longer-term staff members who wish to participate) with an overview of the history of student affairs as a field, the vision and goals of UCLA Student Affairs, and information about our constituent departments and how our efforts form an integrated support system for the educational and developmental experiences of UCLA students.

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