Employee Spotlight: Mac Pitts

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Rachael Pocklington
Communications, Student Affairs
rpocklington@gatech.edu

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For five years, Mac Pitts has been at the helm of Georgia Tech's Student Media and has taken his fair share of turns as "Dean on Call" in the Office of the Dean of Students. And while many of us know Mac for his love of vehicles or his striking resemblance to Gene Simmons (only at Halloween), there is much that most of us don't know about Mac.

Periodically, The Buzz at Student Affairs will feature a staff profile to help us all get to know the real people behind the scenes. This month, we are very fortunate to have Mac Pitts for our first employee spotlight.  

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For five years, Mac Pitts has been at the helm of Georgia Tech's Student Media and has taken his fair share of turns as "Dean on Call" in the Office of the Dean of Students. And while many of us know Mac for his love of vehicles or his striking resemblance to Gene Simmons (only at Halloween), there is much that most of us don't know about Mac.

Periodically, The Buzz at Student Affairs will feature a staff profile to help us all get to know the real people behind the scenes. This month, we are very fortunate to have Mac Pitts for our first employee spotlight.    


How did you get involved in higher education, specifically in student affairs?

I actually got into student affairs as an undergraduate student while attending Ferrum College, a small private liberal arts college in Virginia where I was an English/Journalism major.  In the second semester of my freshman year, the Dean of Students encouraged me to apply for an resident assistant job after working with me on the search committee for a new Vice President of Student Affairs and getting to know me.  Working as an RA, I soon realized how good it felt to help other students and what an impact student affairs staff can have on a student's collegiate experience.  After a year of serving as a newspaper reporter and photographer at the News-Virginian, I went on to get a masters degree in Higher Ed at Georgia Southern University where I served as a graduate hall director for two years. 

As a professional, I have worked in multiple positions within student affairs at a variety of  colleges and universities including University of Virginia, Bucknell University, Georgia State University, Georgia Southwestern State University, Virginia Intermont College and Agnes Scott College. 

This year marks my 20th year of working in student affairs post-master's degree - 17 of those years have been as a Director and/or Dean. I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in a variety of programming areas like Housing and Residence Life, Greek Life, Student Activities, Student Life and Leadership, Judaical Affairs, Intramural Recreation and of course, Student Media.  One of the most exciting adventures I have had in my profession includes working abroad in London, England for the Institute for the International Education of Students (IES) in 2004 and 2005. 


How did you end up at Georgia Tech?

After returning from London in 2005 I took a position at Georgia State as the Student Media Advisor in order to keep my family in Atlanta near my wife's family.  During my second year at Georgia State, I learned that Rosemary Wells, the long-time Publications Manager here at Tech, had retired, so I applied for the position and became the Director at Tech in 2007.  Moving over to Tech and being a part of the Dean of Students Office has been one of the best career moves of my life and I truly enjoy my role at the Institute and the students I work with. 

 
What does your job entail?

Primarily, I serve as the day-to-day manager and advisor of the six written publications (Technique, Blueprint, T-Book, The Tower, North Avenue Review and Erato) and WREK radio.  Much of my work is related to assisting the student editors and WREK executive staff in handling the production of their media, staffing and general operations, but I also have the privilege of helping to develop the leadership skills our students have as members of these student organizations. 

I serve as the business manager of the office to assure the needed funding is secured and help coordinate the Student Government Association fee allocations budget for each of the media organizations annually.  We are actually required to generate at least $150,000 in annual revenue for professional salaries and our office's operating budget. 

I also work with Georgia Tech Legal, multiple printing companies and advertisers/vendors to assure our students are able to create their publications and stay in compliance with Georgia Tech's myriad of policies and regulations. 

Less frequently, but also very important is my work with WREK radio and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which keeps the station in compliance with all federal broadcast regulations.  Although I report directly to the Dean of Students, I am also responsible to the Board of Student Publications and the Radio Communications Board, the governing bodies appointed by the Institute to oversee our student media operations.

 
What have you learned from your students?

What don't I learn from our students!  They amaze me daily with their insatiable appetite for learning.  But if pinned down, I would say without question, it is their drive to go above and beyond the "normal" requirements for the sake of keeping the Institute and its students enriched with publications and media that truly matter.  Tech students never fail to impress me, but working with them as they create these publications and broadcasts truly helps me to realize just how great they are as individuals.  We are all very fortunate to know such remarkable students.

 

What do your students learn from you?

I would hope that more than anything, they learn the importance of balance in their lives.  I strive everyday to model balance and hope that some of it wears off.  I also hope that my work with them helps them feel more confident about their leadership skills and contributions to the Institute as student leaders.

 

What is the one piece of technology you cannot live without?

My turntable.  Really, no kidding.  Any of you that already know me know that I am all about the vintage and culturally classic elements of my life so listening to music the way I did in my younger years is a simple pleasure of mine.  I love nothing more than going home and after the kids are in bed, sitting down with a vintage album and listening to it on my Technics SL-D2 turntable that I bought back in 1979.  Clicks and pops and all, I love it.

 

What is the biggest risk you have ever taken, and did it pay off?

Probably leaving a great job as an Assistant Dean of Students at Agnes Scott College and moving my family to London  - all of this just after purchasing our home.  I had been at Agnes Scott College for nearly four years and had been promoted to Assistant Dean of Students, but when the opportunity to move to London and work in student affairs with a diverse student population came along, we threw caution (and possibly sensibility) to the wind and went for it.

Yes, in looking back I can still say it paid off in so many ways.  Living and working abroad with college students from all over the world opened up so many personal opportunities for me as a professional, and my family will always have fond memories of the experience to look back on.

 

What is your greatest accomplishment?

Personally,  I would have to say that it is eighteen wonderful years of marriage and two fantastic kids to show for it. Anyone who knows me very well knows that I absolutely love being a husband and father.

Don't get me wrong, student affairs work is my professional career path and can't envision ever working outside of the field, but my family is what I get up for everyday and I would regret not acknowledging it. 

 

If you could have dinner with one other person (deceased or living) who would it be?

My late father, Donald A. Pitts.  While I love history and admire so many people in the world, I lost my dad unexpectedly four years ago and I would give anything to spend even a minute with him again.  While he couldn't answer all the questions I might have about the universe, he was someone I deeply admired and I still have so many things to talk to him about.

 

If you were stranded on an island, what is the one book you would want with you? Album?

Well, let me answer the album question first.  I would have to say Boston's 1976 debut album "Boston".  Riffs like "More Than a Feeling", "Peace of Mind" and "Rock and Roll Band" are songs that have a timeless sound and a lot of good memories for me.  With regard to a must have book, I would have to say the Bible...... there is a lot that I still need to learn from that book and it remains a best seller even today.

 

Tell us something about yourself that others might not know…

I was featured in two different magazines as a centerfold back in the 1990s.  Okay, the truth is that the magazines featured a couple of classic trucks that I had restored, but I am in the photos (fully clothed) and they were the centerfolds of the magazines so it is totally truthful for me to make this claim!  Stop by my office to check them out when you get the chance as I have framed copies of them on my wall.

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  • Created By: Rachael Pocklington
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Oct 26, 2012 - 11:08am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:13pm