Through her many roles in University Student Housing, Haney made a positive impact on students and their families.
When Janis Haney was a young child growing up in Lubbock, she would walk to the drugstore at Broadway and College Avenue (later named University Avenue) to get a milkshake. She would sit looking out at Texas Technological College and daydream about going to school and working there someday.
"It has been my life's dream, my passion and my heart," Haney said. "I went from being a clerk with only one semester of college in 1971 to being Associate Managing Director with a master's degree in higher education from Texas Tech University."
Now, one Texas Tech degree and 30 years working with University Student Housing later, Haney is retiring to spend more time with her family.
When Haney started her career with Texas Tech in March 1990 as a clerk for University Student Housing, she was excited because she believed it was going to be her dream job. However, the first three weeks were a struggle. She was used to working on her own schedule with more face-to-face interactions with people.
Her mindset started to change when she walked around the campus. She saw the students she was helping and turned to her faith to have a more positive outlook.
"As I typed in a student's name on the green screen, I began to pray for that student," Haney said. "I prayed they would have peace as they left behind their old friends and came to college and made new friends. I prayed they could let go of their last dance at prom and their room at home as they moved into a residence hall and began their social life at Texas Tech."
This led Haney to develop a new love and respect for her job. Things continued to improve later in her first year, when Texas Tech started New Student Orientation (now Red Raider Orientation).
When students and their families came to campus, she got to meet them in person instead of having primarily phone conversations. Getting to visit with them face-to-face helped her find her passion for the job.
"They would tell me they didn't know why, but they felt like they knew me and trusted me for some reason," Haney said. "I told them the same, even though I knew why. I knew then this job was truly my destiny and I never wanted to let go."
That shift became her favorite memory because of the people she got to know and work with.
"This job changed my life and my complete way of thinking," Haney said. "I became totally service oriented, and I remember when that change took place during my data processing days."
Evolving with the times
In her first role as a clerk, Haney worked with students and parents over the phone and in person to gather information for housing. Technology was limited, Haney said, with no internet, emails or faxes used.
"I remember the day we installed our touchtone phones and they had a hold button," Haney said. "It was a Friday, and I couldn't wait to come back to work on Monday so I could put someone on hold."
As she moved up in the department, the technology advanced as well. She became a coordinator as the university switched over from the TechNet Mainframe system to Banner. With this transition, the department implemented the internet, email and fax into its operations, changing everything.
Haney said it was an exciting time because no longer did they need a desk for data processing and a desk for a typewriter. Instead, they could have one desk with one computer that could do it all.
When she became a manager, she coordinated the new Housing and Residence Life software system. This allowed them to run automated assignments and roommate matching for students, which Haney said made the department a leader in the housing industry for student assignments.
"The new age of technology was stepped up a notch for us once again," Haney said.
The technology continued to evolve in the department, and with it came changes in how University Student Housing marketed to students and handled their placement in residence halls. Throughout all the changes, Haney was there and ready to work.
After serving as a manager, Haney became assistant director in charge of the reservations area of the department. This included the Welcome Center, the housing software system and the marketing aspect of the department. When the Welcome Center, University Student Housing Marketing and Communications and University Student Housing Information Technology became the client relations division of the department, Haney continued to manage those areas as associate director. She eventually moved up to her final position – associate managing director of client relations.
Each day surprised her with new challenges in this role, but the one constant was the family atmosphere of the department. She said that's what she cherishes the most about her time with the university.
"I truly love working with everyone I have worked with over the years," Haney said. "We have gone through marriages, births, deaths, divorces, retirements, birthdays, anniversaries and all of life together for 30 years. We have lived a full lifetime together. Neither my staff, nor I, expected me to stand before them and lead, but to stand beside them and walk together. That was just our style."
Serving a purpose
In all her positions within University Student Housing, Haney loved being able to provide excellent customer service to the students and their families.
As students transition into college life, each person they interact with leaves an impression. Haney said she will miss getting to help them through that transition period time.
"The students, the parents and the siblings are excited, scared and don't know what to do, what to think or what to feel," Haney said. "How we as staff communicate with them is critical to their emotions and their decisions. I will miss being there to make a difference in someone's life."
As Haney moves on from the university to spend more time with her family, she hopes people remember the importance of service to others and how they too can make a difference in someone's life.
"All of us at Texas Tech have a job, and that job is service," Haney said. "Service to students, to parents and to each other. Embrace your job because no matter what your job is at Texas Tech, it is your career, and it is your life. And your life matters to others on a much bigger scale than you can ever imagine. Through the joy and gift of having a job at Texas Tech you are giving that gift of life to others. From here, it's possible."