“It’s exciting to be working in an energetic environment where you’re helping students at a formative time,” said Paul Cody (EdD ’17). “Education is empowering.” Cody, who currently serves as the Assistant Director of the UC Davis Center for Student Involvement, learned firsthand about the power of education to change the course of a life. After dropping out of high school to work, he found his way back to the classroom to earn his GED. He was a first-generation student when he went on to complete coursework at a community college, earn a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and complete a master’s degree from New York University.
While in college, Cody discovered his passion for higher education through his involvement in his fraternity. “I’ve always been a lifelong learner,” he said, “and I found that working in education meant I would continue to learn in new and exciting ways.” For more than 20 years, Cody has been helping cultivate a sense of belonging for students at UC Davis through his leadership within the Center for Student Involvement, a department on campus that provides resources, guidance and advocacy for 800 student organizations. He also serves as the UC Davis Staff Assembly Chair Elect, helping to direct the various activities of Staff Assembly, represent staff interests with administration and advance initiatives that improve staff experience on campus.
Almost two decades after finishing his master’s degree, Cody decided to earn his doctorate in educational leadership in order to strengthen the impact he has on the UC Davis community. “I entered the CANDEL program to change my approach to things,” Cody said, “and earning my EdD helped me grow as a leader and expand my thought process. Because of my experience in CANDEL, I now make more data-driven decisions, evidence-based decisions and decisions that center inclusion.”
As Cody continues to provide assessment and data analysis for student groups across campus and advocate for UC Davis staff, he uses the tools he gained from CANDEL to carry out his commitment to education. “The CANDEL faculty were invested in my success,” he said, “and I like to think that I’m passing on that investment every day as I work with student organizations across UC Davis.”