My First 3 Months in ESTEEM: Discovering the Scope of a University’s Operations

Author: Jessica Millen

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As an undergraduate here at the University of Notre Dame, I thought I knew a lot about how a large research University works. Clearly, there were the top-notch faculty members whose classes I attended, the dining hall workers who prepared delicious food, the landscaping crew that made campus beautiful, and the Residence Hall staff who made sure Ryan Hall was a clean place to live with a caring community. All these moving parts worked together to make Notre Dame a top-15 University and to produce an unrivaled educational experience.

However, since joining the staff as Operations Coordinator here at the ESTEEM Graduate Program in February, I’ve learned that I knew very little about how a large educational institution works -- there are many more moving parts than I ever realized!

Bulletin Board

As the largest employer in the South Bend community, Notre Dame has a huge number of staff members who work together each and every day to keep the University running smoothly and efficiently.

These first three months of working at ESTEEM have been a steep learning curve with many different systems to learn. There’s the payroll system, the financial accounting system, the student record system, the buying and procurement system, the admissions system, the faculty hiring system, the travel system, the mailing system, and the list goes on! The myriad of procedures, although seemingly complicated and overwhelming at first, are what allow both ESTEEM and the University at large to be a great place to study and live.

What's been most impressive is the fact that such a large conglomerate of different offices, institutes, and centers are able to all work towards the same goal: to make Notre Dame a preeminent research university with a distinctive Catholic mission and an unsurpassed undergraduate education.

Framed by the institutional values of accountability, teamwork, integrity, leadership in excellence and leadership in mission, the thousands of employees working for Notre Dame are able to create a welcoming place for students, staff and faculty.  

Office View

It has been both a challenge and a pleasure to dive into the inner workings of the University – tackling projects like discovering how to maintain student records, learning how to pay for food for a Lunch n’ Learn event, figuring out how to track spending on the Silicon Valley Spring Break trip, and determining the fastest way to bike to campus from Innovation Park.

I look forward to learning even more about the University’s operations -- and to serving our students as they jump into the entrepreneurial sandbox of the ESTEEM Graduate Program.