Academic Operations Manager Excited to be Part of the Charger Community
Meet Jeff Hunt, M.A., academic operations manager for the Center for Learning Resources, who has lived in South Korea and on the West Coast of the United States, and he is now excited to call Connecticut home.
November 17, 2022
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
The lifeblood of the University of New Haven are the faculty and staff members who dedicate their lives to helping our students reach their goals. Periodically, we’ll introduce you to a member of the staff so you can learn more about them – beyond their day-to-day work.
Next up is Jeff Hunt, academic operations manager for the University’s Center for Learning Resources (CLR), who is enjoying all that fall in New England has to offer and who is looking forward to the winter weather.
Renee Chmiel: What do you like best about living in Connecticut, so far? Jeff Hunt: The best part about living in Connecticut so far is the change in seasons. My wife and I just moved up from North Carolina, and though the winters were mild, the tradeoff was that everything was mild. So far, I am enjoying autumn immensely, and the summer was a very good change of pace. Also, we’re looking forward to snow!
Before North Carolina, I lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I got my M.A. in English literature at the University of New Mexico, and I taught studio writing courses. Before that, I lived in Seoul, South Korea, where I helped run an international school, and I absolutely loved it. I’ve been to 19 countries and I hope to return to Asia someday. Going further into the past, I’m from Oregon, and did my undergraduate degree in California, so I have West Coast roots.
RC: What is your favorite book? JH: My favorite novel is Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. The writing style is a lipogramatic, which means it's an example of “constrained writing,” or “word play.” As the novel progresses, letters of the alphabet “disappear” in the story, so the chapters stop using A’s or B’s or E’s as it goes on. It’s wild. The story is a bit of a fairy tale, so it both appeals to the fact that I have a young child, as well as my background in English literature with how unique the narrative becomes. The word choice becomes interesting, but it’s still easy to understand.
RC: What is your favorite thing about fall? JH: The colors here are terrific. I grew up in Oregon, around plenty of trees, but many were pines and firs, so they didn’t change color. I also prefer wearing things like jeans and hoodies when I’m at home, so that’s another good reason to like the current season here.
RC: Tell us about your dog. JH: My wife and I got Linus, our pug, two years ago. As a puppy, we were extra careful to always make him sleep in his crate, but after a while something changed (or we got weak), and now he can’t sleep anywhere but in beds. We have a six-month old son, and, so far, the two of them are best buddies. We often joke that the dog is telling our son the ins and outs of how to manipulate my wife and me, such as, “As long as you cry long enough, they won’t make you sleep in the crib,” or that Linus is passing on tips on how to get extra snacks.
RC: Do you have any funny or unusual skills or talents? JH: I rarely get a chance to show it off, but I am amazingly good at foosball. I lived for summer camp growing up, but only because the summer camps I went to had foosball tables. I asked my parents for one every birthday growing up, but never got one – perhaps someday in adulthood I’ll get a foosball table.
Perhaps more practically, I like to write fiction, and I have gotten a number of short stories published. My wife and I have run a fair number of marathons in the past, but I’ve become a bit sedentary (and sleep deprived) since our son was born. Growing up, my family was very competitive when it came to “Jeopardy!,” and, generally, I’m not bad in beating others to shouting answers at the TV, though I recognize that it’s probably annoying.
RC: If you didn’t work in higher education, what other career path do you think you would have pursued? JH: If I wasn’t in higher education, I’d probably have a career related to travel. My first job out of college was working abroad. I thought I’d be in South Korea for one year, and I ended up staying more than five. I’ve seen most of Asia, as well as a handful of other countries and 47 states. I’m not sure what I’d do related to seeing new places. Perhaps I’d be a travel agent, travel blogger, or airline pilot? I don’t mind hotels and making flights and coordinating departure times and car pickups.
RC: What do you like best about working at the University of New Haven? JH: The best part of working at the University of New Haven is the fact that it is small. The school is about the same size as where I went as an undergraduate (Chapman University), and I’ve always enjoyed that type of work setting. I think that the school has a personal touch that is invaluable, and even as a member of the staff, I don’t at all feel “like a number” when working with people in the provost’s office or when speaking with HR or when trying to figure out parking.
The professors I’ve met so far have been kind and inviting. Everyone seems really focused on the type of work I do every day – student support. This is a university with so many resources to assist students. I help manage the Center for Learning Resources, where we have tutors, and I head up the Learning Assistant Program. We work closely with the Writing Lab, the Math Lab, the Career Development Center, the Center for Teaching Excellence, Counseling and Psychological Services, the list could go on. All of these places are doing distinct, important work, and you don’t find that at all universities.