Chuck Scott, executive director of Facilities Management, Parking, and Transportation at Illinois State University, is the 2016-17 President of Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA): Leadership in Educational Facilities International, a professional association for educational facilities managers. Scott was elected to this position from among the APPA membership, which includes more than 12,500 members from 1,650 institutions in North America. Scott was installed in July as president during APPA’s annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. This past year, he served as president-elect and he will serve a year as past-president in 2017-18.
We recently interviewed Scott about this achievement.
Why did you run for APPA President?
It was on my journey toward Eagle Scout back in the early 1960s when I came across a metaphor that would ultimately become my personal philosophy; Keep my campsite cleaner than I found it. My campsite can be defined as my workplace, my community, my family, or many other scenarios. That childhood philosophy has translated into multiple manifestations and shaped me into what I have become as an adult. Keeping my campsite cleaner than I found it lead me to a work ethic, a moral standard, a loyal family member, an active community servant, and now leader of an international facilities association. Since I was already engaged in various APPA leadership roles, the APPA presidency was simply another example of how I might be able to “clean that campsite” and help to advance the profession.
How has your experience at Illinois State University helped you prepare to serve as APPA’s President?
I have worked at Illinois State University since December 1985. During those 30+ years, I earned a master’s degree in political science/public administration. The in-class experience provided me with knowledge of public sector work, public financing, and the politics of governing. Simultaneously, my on-the-job experiences taught me about human resources, relationships, and a myriad of facilities-related topics. Each tidbit of knowledge has built upon previous experiences and offered me a well-rounded base that transitions very well into volunteer leadership.
What will this position involve?
There are a fair number of conference calls that occur every month, most of which I will facilitate. There is great value in gathering input from APPA members and other volunteer leaders and sharing that information with the APPA membership as a whole. We have all heard that knowledge is power. Yet, I firmly believe the knowledge known is only powerful if it is shared with others, so I will be discussing lots of topics with lots of people. In addition to the conference calls, there is some travel that will take me to the six Regions of APPA across the United States. During my three year tenure, travel will also include some international journeys where APPA maintains strong strategic alliances with facilities associations abroad.
With every opportunity, I will deliver the APPA message. APPA transforms individual facilities professionals into higher performing managers and leaders, which helps transform member institutions into more inviting and supportive learning environments, which elevates the recognition and value of educational facilities and their direct impact on the recruitment and retention of students, faculty and staff.
What will be APPA’s focus during this year?
Facilities professionals need to conduct work differently in order to remain aligned with their university mission and the shifting sands of higher education and higher education finance. My theme for the year is “Creating the New Normal.” There are three primary pillars that uphold the theme. The pillars are: Redefine the Association, Remake the Facilities Organization, and Reinvent the Facilities Professional. Specific goals for each pillar have been established and many are in their infancy of implementation.
The strength of each pillar will allow it to stand upon its own. Yet, the strength of the three together will support something greater than my theme, they will support APPA’s strategic plan. It is critical that in our every deliberation we consider the impact on the strategic plan.
How has involvement in APPA helped in your leadership role at Illinois State University?
Similar to how my ISU experiences will aid in my role as APPA president, my APPA experiences will aid me in my role here on campus. I have learned that personal relationships, sharing of knowledge, and a curiosity of how best practices are implemented elsewhere have all been valuable. I can reach out to countless facilities professionals throughout the world to learn of their potential solutions to a problem I may have on campus. All facilities leaders have similar concerns, however, many approach solutions differently.
Illinois State University also will benefit from the APPA experiences of over 20 ISU Facility Management staff members that have attended various regional or national professional development opportunities. I have hosted APPA training here on campus so the larger group of facilities supervisors would have exposure and get opportunities for their own personal and professional development as well.
President Dietz is very supportive of my participation in APPA. He sees this as something good for me and also good for ISU. The University understands there is a really strong alignment between the quality and condition of facilities and the ability to attract the best students, faculty, and staff. I like to believe the work accomplished by the Facilities Management staff contributes significantly to President Dietz’s Points of Pride, including the University’s high rankings by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Money and Washington Monthly magazines, strong graduation and retention rates, and solid enrollment.
To read more on Chuck Scott’s leadership role please visit the APPA: Leadership in Educational Facilities website.