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William & Mary among top institutions in nation for student affairs work

  • Student Affairs
    Student Affairs  Members of the Office of Student Affairs pose for a photo after participating in a Safe Zone workshop.  Courtesy photo
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William & Mary has been ranked among the top 30 most-promising places to work in student affairs, according to a study of national colleges and universities released today.

The study, conducted by the Center for Inclusion, Diversity, and Academic Success (iDEAS) at The Ohio State University, was commissioned by the magazine Diverse: Issues in Higher Education in partnership with the American College Personnel Association in honor of the publication’s 30th anniversary.

“In my judgment, William & Mary’s people in Student Affairs do remarkably effective work pursuing diversity and inclusion on our campus,” said William & Mary President Taylor Reveley. “They believe deeply in the contribution diversity and inclusion make to creating a healthy, productive community at William & Mary, as well as to their importance in preparing our students for success in the intensely diverse world of the 21st century.”

A five-member advisory board and the IDEAS research team used a web-based survey focusing on workplace diversity, staffing practices and work environment to examine such categories as family friendliness, salary and benefits, and professional development opportunities among the surveyed colleges and universities. The study was developed before the start of the fall 2013 semester by staff members in the Center for iDEAS, as well as a national advisory board of researchers, practitioners and experts on students-affairs worklife. More than 100 institutions participated in the inaugural study.

“We recognize that our division is strongest – and we are better role models for the students we serve – when all voices are honored and when colleagues are respected for the unique expertise, talents, and perspectives they bring to our work,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler. “Creating an open, respectful environment is essential for staff to flourish in their roles. How fortunate I am to have professional colleagues who share that commitment to diversity, inspiring me every day to keep learning and growing.”

William & Mary is one of only two Virginia institutions represented in the survey, the other being Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar.

Chon Glover, William & Mary's chief diversity officer, praised the university's Office of Student Affairs and its commitment to diversity.

"As a higher education professional who spent most of her early career in Student Affairs at William & Mary, I know first hand what an inclusive division we have," she said. "Not only is Student Affairs dedicated to the holistic development of all students in being culturally competent life- long learners, the leadership ensures that those who work in the division feel comfortable, safe, welcome, and supported to carry out their job functions. So, diversity and inclusion are not what we do, it's the nucleus of who we are and what we believe. In my current role of Chief Diversity Officer, I often look to my colleagues in Student Affairs to serve as guides for other departments seeking to be more inclusive in thought and action."

Vernon Hurte, senior associate dean of students and director of the Center for Student Diversity, believes William & Mary’s commitment to diversity is essential to the institution’s success.

“William & Mary is an institution with a deep commitment to creating and maintaining a community where everyone who comes here – students, faculty, and staff – can truly thrive. As a member of the student affairs staff, I feel I’m better able to support and serve our students when I am positioned to be my best authentic self. We work to maintain a culture in student affairs where our individual authenticity and uniqueness is not only celebrated but valued as something that makes us stronger as a division.” Hurte said.

Linda Knight, director of Campus Recreation, said that it is “wonderful to work at an institution and particularity a division that values all forms of diversity.”

“Student Affairs at William & Mary is a division that does not tolerate discrimination,” she said. “In Student Affairs, all departments have their own diversity action plans and we use, and re-evaluate the plans each year. When developing the plans, we were asked to take all types of diversity into consideration. As a member of an under-represented group, I have always felt the support of my colleagues in Student Affairs. It is extremely helpful and comforting to work in a division that values who you are as well as the work you do.”