For the second year in a row, the American College Personnel Association and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education have named the College of William and Mary one of the “Most Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs at Research Institutions” in 2015.
Ohio State University’s Center for Higher Education Enterprise first began this study in 2014, naming the top 30 best places to work in student affairs, and this year chose the top 14.
The College’s division was recognized both years by CHEE as one of the “most promising” after being evaluated on a number of criteria. According to Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler ’88 Ph.D. ’06, CHEE surveyed student affairs departments using classifications such as the division’s workplace environment, practices, diversity, friendliness, professional development opportunities and salaries.
A number of departments fit under the umbrella of the Division of Student Affairs at William and Mary. These include the Dean of Students Office, the Student Health Center, the Counseling Center, the Cohen Career Center, Campus Recreation, the Office of Community Engagement, the Sadler Center, the Office of Residence Life and the Office of Community Engagement.
Chief of Staff to the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs Greg Henderson noted that some of his various responsibilities are to help manage functions of the division like staff development and budget.
“I love the collaborative nature of the work we do, not only across the Division of Student Affairs but also throughout the university,” Henderson said in an email. “Quite simply, I joined Student Affairs because I enjoy working with students.”
Assistant to the Vice President and Director of Student Affairs Planning and Assessment Jodi Fisler spent her first few years in student affairs as a graduate assistant while pursuing her doctorate and was hired as a full-time staff member in 2009.
“I chose a graduate assistantship in student affairs because I wanted more experience advising and working directly with students,” Fisler said. “I remember going to my first Student Affairs Division meeting in August 2005 and thinking it just felt right to be there.”
Fisler said that the Division of Student Affairs’ commitment to certain values such as collaboration, inclusion, integrity, professional excellence, respect and student centeredness assisted the College in being honored with this recognition.
“We strive to keep those values at the center of what we do,” Fisler said. “We appreciate the different strengths that each member of the staff contributes to the division as a whole.”
Fisler attributed the success of the division to the leadership of Ambler and other senior leaders.
Ambler, who has worked for the division since 1991, said her own experiences as an undergraduate at the College and being mentored by former Vice President Sam Sadler ’64 M.Ed. ’71 for 18 years inspired her to pursue student affairs as a profession.
“I am immensely proud to have been a part of William & Mary’s Student Affairs Division for the past 24 years,” Ambler said. “How fortunate I am to have professional colleagues across the division who share a deep commitment to diversity … building a strong community where each individual can flourish.”
Henderson said that the recognition validates the Student Affairs Division’s work.
“This recognition is a validation that the work we do is meaningful and that we value colleagues who bring different backgrounds and perspectives to their work,” Henderson said.
Fisler and Ambler both stated that being designated a “Most Promising Place to Work” will help attract future employees.
“I am delighted by the fact that this honor, which we’ve now received twice in two years, will enhance the awareness and respect [William and Mary] enjoys in the higher education world more broadly,” Fisler said.