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About Floyd Hoelting

Floyd Hoelting

Floyd Hoelting was born in Nazareth, Texas and grew up on a family farm near Olpe, Kansas. He knew he wanted to experience the world, try new things, and learn from different cultures. His adventurous philosophy first led him through four years of service in the United States Air Force, visiting twenty countries. He graduated from Emporia State University and worked and studied under several great mentors while receiving his B.A. and M.S.E degrees. This led to 40-plus years in higher education administration, as well as consulting and lecturing on over 400 campuses in all 50 of the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

For over 20 years, Floyd served as the Executive Director of the Division of Housing and Food Service at The University of Texas at Austin. Floyd managed $1.7 billion in Housing and Food Service assets, a $80 million annual budget, and a staff of 1200, providing housing, food services, conferences and student development for 8,000 students in fourteen residence halls, seven dining venues, and 750 apartments for graduates and students with dependents.

Floyd started his career in university housing at Oklahoma State University, where he pursued his doctoral degree in student personnel management in higher education. Floyd stood out from the group for his passion and "anything is possible" attitude and was promoted to assistant director in three years. While at OSU, Floyd saw and acted on the potential learning experiences of the university housing and food service field and the integration of lifelong learning opportunities as part of the educational process. Floyd left Oklahoma State University to become the Director of Housing and Food Service at Western Illinois University and Illinois State University before returning to his Texas roots and accepting the position of director at The University of Texas at Austin.

Floyd pioneered the thought that learning is a progressive, holistic, and multi-transformative activity. He integrated academic learning and residential development and utilized interdisciplinary principles to create intentional and multidimensional social interactions. He insisted that out-of-class experiences reinforce intentional learners who can adapt to new environments and integrate knowledge from different sources, and that transformative learning generates holistic development in a multitude of settings. Learning environments can be expanded from the classroom to the entire campus. The average of 75 hours a week that a student spends in the residence hall plays an integral role in his or her development. Floyd believes that the environment affects cognitive learning and forms the basis for the creation of transformative living and learning communities. The idea of "situated cognition" is demonstrated in the creation of museums and galleries within the residence halls at Illinois State University and The University of Texas at Austin. He believes that art in all forms makes life richer and participation in the arts improves both the art form and the participants. Floyd has authored five books: 5,000 + Alcohol-Free programs: A Reference Guide for College Campuses, How to Program Without Alcohol, Resident Student Development, How to Do It in Residence Halls: 1001 Ways to Program, and Residence Hall Programs. He has also written dozens of chapters and journal articles.

Another area of importance for Floyd is his persistence in improving food service on college campuses and making it a cultural learning experience. Floyd is not content with the status quo and does not believe in dining centers exuding a conventional atmosphere and serving institutional-looking and -tasting meals. Dining center menus, environments, and equipment under Floyd change constantly depending on the requests from students and what is new in the food industry. When you walk through the dining doors, expect a variety of international, organic, locally grown, gluten-free, and vegetarian food; seafood, homemade soups, and many more options. And if you are lucky, you may find yourself at a cultural dinner surrounded by ethnic music, dance, food, and history. Food service operations under Floyd provide high-quality meals and are profit-oriented enterprises without comprising one for the other.

The University of Texas Division of Housing and Food Service operates as a business within the university and does not receive state tax funds. Over the 40-plus years, Floyd's organizations have never finished in the red and have usually had a surplus to invest into university infrastructure.

Floyd is well respected among housing and student affairs professionals all over the nation and globe. Colleagues and staff members who have heard about his legacy are never disappointed when they meet him in person. Floyd earned is reputation by driving quality, by being bold and taking risks, and by introducing fresh concepts, such as the importance of teaching and administering diversity in the workplace and sticking by his commitment to diversity when few others were willing to talk about it. Floyd was ahead of his time when he began requiring his staff to learn and practice organizational diversity. Floyd coauthored the "Organizational Climate/Diversity Assessment for Program Improvement" instrument. This instrument is used by departments and universities worldwide to provide an understanding of the diversity and inclusion climate within their organization. Once staff have worked with Floyd, they will tell you that it was a life-changing experience. Floyd is known for hiring and developing an all-star staff that not only performs exceptionally when working with him but go on to become executive leaders at other institutions and industries across the nation. Floyd also introduced the importance of staff and student wellness before it was identified as a national strategy. He created fitness centers in work spaces for staff members and collaborated with departments on campus to provide no-cost personal trainers and wellness classes. Staff members are encouraged to attend wellness classes.

A seemingly indefatigably positive presence on campus wherever students live, dine and anywhere his staffs are performing their duties, Floyd has never been one to follow the crowd but succeeds by being prepared and embracing high-velocity change. He has a reputation for hiring and developing a talented and diverse workforce and providing clear leadership to successful diverse organizations. He embraces opportunity and practices planned innovation that includes selective outsourcing, restructuring, bringing in new products, and experimenting with new modes of product delivery.

Another passion of Floyd's that is embedded in his personal and work initiatives is his commitment to sustainability. In 1993, while he was working at Illinois State University, Hoelting created a first-of-its-kind program that used newsprint and recycled food waste from five residence hall dining centers to produce cattle feed. In cooperation with the University Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Department of Energy and Natural Resources, the feed produced entirely of recycled and waste products was used to feed 50 head of cattle at the university farm. He is constantly looking for ways to increase the growing of fresh produce, composting, recycling, and reusing, which allows everyone to become engaged citizens of the world and reduce their carbon footprints. In 2008 Floyd implemented the Bring Your Own Vessel (BYOV) Policy that eliminated all plastic bottles from all housing and food activities. This policy alone saves over 80,000 bottles from the landfills and streams every year. He also drove the Texas Refrigeration efficiency initiative by installing in all campus dining centers "consolidated-efficient-compressor" units. This decreased the number of compressors from 220 to 19 while also providing addressable redundant units to eliminate down time and compressor maintenance in the serving areas. By placing the new units in remote locations, all of these noise and heat sources were removed from kitchens and dining centers and the air conditioning load was decreased. These refrigeration units now utilize the campus' existing chilled water system recognizing a total energy savings of over 40%.

Despite his many successes, staff and friends will tell you that Floyd remains approachable and loves being around all types of people. Floyd has never given a second thought to his belief that everyone should be treated fairly regardless of such characteristics as race, ethnic background, religion, and sexual orientation. It is not that Floyd's commitment to justice and inclusion is stronger than anyone else's. It's just that he seems to get there sooner or first. In everything he does he models hospitality, passion and commitment. When he is not working, Floyd enjoys reading literary non-fiction (especially biographies), music, sports, travel, hiking, fitness and wellness activities, dancing, charitable fund raising, collecting Old West art and artifacts, xeriscaping, attending musical productions, and creating new friends and relationships. Floyd and his wife, JoEllen, have raised two sons, Jason and Ryan. Floyd is also a grandfather of two grandchildren, Madelyn and Gavin.

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