We are excited to announce the reconfiguration of the College of Education and Social Services (CESS) Student Services team. This transformation is designed to create opportunities that will enhance the responsiveness of college-wide priorities related to the student experience. With this in mind, the team has a clear focus on action enabling a deeper commitment to diversity, recruitment, retention, and student success.
The following colleagues comprise the new Student Services team:
- Lynn C. White Cloud, who joined CESS in September 2016 as the Assistant Dean for Academic and Student Affairs
- Gillian Homsted, who assumed her new role within Student Services in December 2016 as the Director for Student Services
- Tiffanie Spencer, who joined CESS in July 2017 as the Assistant Director for Diversity, Retention, and Student Services
- Meghan “MJ” Jaird, who joined CESS in June 2017 as the Coordinator of Student Services
In Their Own Voices: What Inspires You?
Lynn: “I am inspired by the personal empowerment that resides within each student, and by their unwavering ethic of social responsibility and equity – Making a Difference. It is exciting to serve in my role to help prepare students to engage today and lifelong with learning, complexity, diversity, and change – embodying equal measures of intellectualism, heart, and conscience. I am grateful to have the daily opportunities to champion the academic excellence of UVM and the College of Education and Social Services as well as our enduring commitments to strengthening communities or building respectful, reciprocal relationships. In my role, I most enjoy being an educator, active listener, deliberator, advocate, bridge builder and liaison for a diverse population of students, faculty, staff, parents, families, and community partners.”
Gillian: “Our students bring a commitment to improving our communities, and to fostering a more just and humane society for all. It fills me with pride to know that I am assisting our students to navigate their journey at UVM, and to see how my actions can have a ripple effect on the community at large. I am inspired every day by the talents, skills and drive that our students bring to their work in becoming teachers, social workers and human services providers.”
Tiffanie: “I am inspired to serve in my role to foster an inclusive environment where we constantly strive for all of our students to be supported academically, personally, and as they prepare to transition to their next steps after UVM. It is exciting to work with CESS students as they continue reflecting upon their own identities while becoming empowered to think and act both civically and globally.”
MJ (Meghan): “I strive to be an accessible and knowledgeable resource for our students, fully recognizing that their values of quality education and field experience will equip them to positively impact individuals and communities. Each day, I am inspired by CESS students’ genuine enthusiasm, drive, and determination to ‘make a difference’. I am privileged to be a part of their journeys at UVM.”
As the newest members of the team, here is a bit more about Tiffanie and MJ.
Tiffanie Spencer, our new Assistant Director for Diversity, Retention, and Student Services, comes to us from the University of Georgia (UGA) where she earned a doctorate from the Institute of Higher Education. While at UGA, she worked with the Georgia College Advising Corps, a partner of a national nonprofit that trains recent college undergraduates to assist students of underserved high schools with their postsecondary search and selection process. Her dissertation research, Transitioning from Secondary to Postsecondary Environments: Striving to Advise Underserved Student Populations with Purpose, explores perceptions of the roles and responsibilities of individuals helping students to formulate postsecondary plans.
Prior to her time at UGA, Tiffanie worked for four years as a Residence Hall Director in a living learning community at Baylor University. Working with her staff, a faculty-in-residence, and faculty of the living learning programs, she devoted efforts to grow hall community pride and culture among a largely diverse and underrepresented student resident population. She also had the opportunity to participate in additional student development and institutional endeavors, such as teaching new student experience and introductory leadership courses, being an advisor to the Association for Black Students, and serving as part of a Cultural Awareness Work Team.
While earning her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of Notre Dame, Tiffanie became interested in student development throughout her four-year work-study position in the Office of Student Affairs. She further explored these interests by pursuing a Master’s of Education in Higher Education Management at the University of Pittsburgh. While pursuing her degree she worked as an Assistant Residence Hall Director of a large first year student community, and spent time as a judicial officer to adjudicate student conduct hearings. She also served as an academic coach and mentor for the R.I.S.E. (Reaching Inside your Soul for Excellence) empowerment and retention program, focused on working with underrepresented student populations.
Meghan “MJ” Jaird, our new Student Services Coordinator, comes to us from Saint Michael’s College (SMC), where she served as an Assistant Director of Admissions for four years. The coordinator position complements her interests in student enrollment management, advising, engagement, and development. These interests were particularly strengthened through her involvements in SMC admissions work, new campus diversity and inclusion initiatives, and the SMC First Generation Council.
MJ has a strong commitment to civic and social action. Prior to her time at Saint Michael’s College, she worked for two years as an Assistant Director of National Service Programs through the Washington County Youth Service Bureau in Montpelier, VT. She had the opportunity to recruit, advise, and evaluate national service members through the AmeriCorps VISTA and national/state programs. MJ enjoyed supporting the AmeriCorps members, who were placed in education and youth development initiative and organizations across the State of Vermont.
While earning her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology at Saint Michael’s College, MJ became interested in non-profit work and community development through her volunteer experiences within the Winooski and Burlington refugee communities, establishing and facilitating mentoring and tutoring programs for New American youth. Upon graduation, she embarked upon a unique, yearlong experience to create community needs assessments and establish educational and community-based programming in Selma, Alabama.
We are thrilled about the new make-up of the CESS Student Services team, and look forward to enhancing our student-centered approach for the College. To learn more about the College of Education and Social Services, please visit www.uvm.edu/cess.