A Champion for Students
Tiffani Hinds, M.Ed., is a proponent of the golden rule: treating others as you would like to be treated. It is a philosophy she lives by in her personal life and professionally as associate provost for the Office of Student Engagement and Development. When she was a college student, administration met Hinds’ academic, social, and personal needs with care and respect. Now, she aims to give back what she was given.
“During my own college journey, I did not realize this professional role was a career path. It wasn’t until I was graduating that I realized how much I loved my undergraduate experience and thought how amazing it would be to influence other students,” says Hinds, who, after graduating in 2003 from the College of New Rochelle with her bachelor’s degree in psychology, took on part-time work at her alma mater’s student affairs office while pursuing a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology at Baruch College. It was during this time that she learned about careers in higher education and sought to help students in their own academic and professional journeys.
Working to improve student life on New York Tech’s Long Island and New York City campuses, Hinds collaborates regularly with a host of staff, faculty, external partners, and students. And what gets her most excited to step into her office each day is championing for those very students and their academic success.
Hinds, who joined New York Tech nearly five years ago as interim dean of students for the New York campuses, continues to spearhead a variety of initiatives designed to be responsive to students’ needs and elevate their experiences in the classroom and workplace. This includes chairing the committee to recognize and support first-generation college students, the remodeling and reopening of the Interfaith Prayer and Meditation Rooms, establishing Bear Bytes and the Grizzly Cupboard food and resource pantries so students have access to healthy food and wellness items, and, opening with a soft launch in spring 2024, Tech Threads, which will provide students no-cost access to new and gently used professional clothing for career-related experiences.
“In the office of Student Engagement and Development, our goal is to make sure that students are engaged, satisfied, and preparing for the real world while they are at New York Tech,” Hinds says. “I encourage my team to think creatively and innovatively to keep our students excited and wanting to come to campus each day.”
Stemming from her own personal values, programs like Bear Bytes, the Grizzly Cupboard, and Tech Threads are passion projects. Giving back and acknowledging the needs of others are some of the things that she does best—she learned these qualities from none other than her own mother and family.
Growing up in Harlem, she watched her mom help those in need, and as she made her way through grade school, high school, and college, Hinds followed suit and participated in school volunteer projects like packing and delivering food for Thanksgiving meals, collecting toy donations, and cooking at food pantries. Small acts soon became far bigger as she made volunteer trips to build houses and work on schools in New Orleans, La., Haiti, and, on multiple occasions, Matamoros, Mexico.
“As we went to Mexico each year, we witnessed the city improving. More roads were paved, and more structures were built for schools. We delivered food and supplies and built cement houses for families. Over the years, we watched the children grow up, which was heartwarming,” says Hinds, who cites Mexico as her favorite volunteer experience. “I’m most excited and proud of that work I performed in Mexico.”
Since becoming a mother less than two years ago, her volunteer projects haven’t required as much time as crossing the border, but she still gives back all the same. In November 2023, she wrapped up her most recent volunteer work as a fundraising dinner event coordinator for the Archdiocese of New York’s Pierre Toussaint Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to college students who are active in their parish and school communities.
“Volunteering may not look the same every day or even every year. Right now, I’m donating clothes, proofing students’ papers, and assisting with clothing and food drives,” she says. “But these things mean something to me. I’ll always figure out how to make volunteer work remain a part of my life and instill these values in my son.”