Longwood feels like the kind of place where I am at home. I started my journey in higher education in Virginia public universities, and to come back to one now as a dean feels like a full circle. One thing that resonates with me is Longwood’s ability to impact students from very diverse backgrounds. Some of the first students I’ve gotten to meet this summer are aspiring teachers through the Call Me MISTER Summer Institute, and that’s been a real treat. I’m a first-generation college student myself, so the ability to work with students like that is very meaningful.
My priority for this semester is to meet one-on-one with every faculty member within the college to get to know them personally, understand their expertise and goals, and find points of intersection where we can work more closely together. With more than 100 faculty and staff, that’s a pretty big task, but it’s really important to me to know the people I work with on a personal level and to know the culture of the college. I’ll also meet with student organizations and plan to host some open forum sessions for faculty, staff, and students to provide other opportunities for me to learn and listen.
I’ve got some sense of what I’d like to start working on within the college over the coming years, specifically enrollment in programs that are linked to community needs, working with community partners and other universities, and student success.
The College feels like a big family. Peggy Ward, who has been the executive administrative assistant here in Hull for many, many years, is retiring at the end of the month. I’ve watched every day as people come by and wish her well, share memories and a laugh, and spend some time with a friend. That’s the type of thing that happens when you’re at a place where the people matter. I’m doing my part–adopting one of her kittens before she goes away!
In just the past two months since I started here, my 10-year-old daughter has already started to fall in love with this place too. She’s been at two camps over the summer, and is starting to learn faces and names of buildings, so it’s been really special to sort of grow into a place with her around.