Lancin takes on a new role, but remains at UM

If you’re looking for Heather Lancin in the Smith Tucker Involvement Center (STIC), you won’t find her. In January, Lancin-previously assistant director of student activities-was promoted to director of orientation and commuter student affairs.

After graduating from the University of Tennessee’s undergraduate program, Lancin came to the University of Miami as an intern in student activities while pursuing her master’s degree in student affairs at the University of Florida.

She was working as a graduate assistant for student affairs at UF during the school year and began interning at UM in the summers to gain experience in private institutions. As a result of her experience through internship roles, Lancin was offered the position of assistant director in student activities after graduation. Lancin took the position and has worked for the past four-and-a-half years in the office, helping to manage Hurricane Productions and student event programming. Although she was happy with her job, Lancin began to look for more.

“I was searching for new challenges and professional opportunities while staying at UM,” Lancin said.

In December, the director position in the office of orientation and commuter student affairs opened up, when former Director Web Morgan and Assistant Director Dana Ponsky left to pursue other endeavors.

Morgan decided to make a career change from student affairs and left the university. Ponsky applied for an opening at Barry University for the position of director of their orientation. She accepted the job and began looking for a replacement. In the interim, Ponsky took over as director for the fall semester and assisted in the nationwide search to find a new director.

Lancin was one of four candidates interviewed for the job. At the conclusion of the fall semester, the university called to offer her the position.

She explained why she was interested in the position and willing to leave her work at the STIC.

“I would still be involved in programming, but on a larger scale. I would get supervising experience, and get to work with a different subset of students,” Lancin said.

The transition between the offices is still taking place. For example, the UM website still lists Dana Ponsky as the director of orientation and commuter student affairs. Hurricane Productions still is trying to find ways to cope with the absence of their assistant director. To help facilitate the change, Cynthia Chapel, assistant director of student activities, and Renee Callan, director of student activities, have taken over management of Hurricane Productions along with the help of an intern and the chair of HP.

“[Members of Hurricane Productions] are some of the best kids I ever worked with,” Lancin said. “They provide service to students and get real experience.”

Lancin still maintains good relationships with the STIC and is assisting in making the transition as smooth as possible.

As for her new role at UM, Lancin has fresh ideas to bring to orientation and commuter student affairs.

“[We’re] going to look at orientations in other schools to explore new ideas and add more career and education information,” she said.

For commuter student affairs, one of the first changes is to re-name the department to “off-campus student services.” Lancin would like to create more ways to help off-campus students make bonds.

“We hope help enrich the commuter student experience,” Lancin said.

Lancin’s 10-year plan includes staying at UM to make a positive difference in the orientation and commuter student affairs office and working towards a Ph.D. in student affairs.

Candice Castaneda can be contacted at