Director of Student Services and Retention

Meghan “MJ” Jaird (she/her/hers) serves as the Director of Student Services and Retention in the College of Education and Social Services (CESS) at UVM. In this role, MJ co-oversees with the Assistant Dean for Academic and Student Affairs the development, implementation, and assessment of the Office of Student Services’ unit and priorities, partnerships and collaborations, various program models, and particularly the new CESS FTFY (First-Time, First-Year) Student Holistic Advising Model. MJ provides leadership and guidance for enrollment management, data analysis, major event planning (e.g., Commencement, ASVs), integrated strategic delivery systems, student academic progression planning and interventions, student enrichment and success resources, and workshops. MJ co-supervises the team with the Assistant Dean. MJ co-leads with the Assistant Dean the CESS incident and emergency response services, as well as tiered care and case management. MJ connects with students who are considering a leave from the University and helps them imagine and concretize what a successful re-entry would look like. Additionally, MJ serves on the UVM Student Services Collaborative (SSC), the UVM Strategic Enrollment Partners work group, the UVM Sophomore Experience committee, the “Navigate” system advisory group, and serves as the CESS primary liaison with Student Accessibility Services. Prior to the Director role, MJ formerly served in the CESS Office of Student Services in the Coordinator, Assistant Director, and Associate Director of Student Services and Retention roles.

MJ Jaird’s professional arc has centered on pillars of diversity, social justice, and educational access. MJ is committed to innovative program development, and student-centered recruitment, retention and advising practices.  Prior to UVM, MJ served as an Assistant Director of Admission for Saint Michael’s College (SMC) for four years. This position strengthened and refined her established skill sets in student engagement and development, particularly through her leadership in piloted campus diversity and inclusion initiatives and her advisory role on the SMC First Generation Council. MJ recently completed her M.Ed. degree in Educational Leadership at the University of Vermont, with a thesis project focused on the ways in which public, selective U.S. universities message and provide support for neurodiverse undergraduate learners in their website presence.

MJ worked for two years as an Assistant Director of National Service Programs through the Washington County Youth Service Bureau in Montpelier, VT.  She recruited, advised, and evaluated over 100 national service members through the AmeriCorps VISTA and National/State programs.  The members were placed in education and youth development initiative and organizations across the state of Vermont.  Additionally, MJ worked as a collaborative team member to conceptualize, coordinate, and facilitate extensive monthly professional and skill development trainings, rooted in evidence-based leadership development theories.

MJ earned her Master of Education in Educational Leadership at the University of Vermont (January 2022) and her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, during which she became interested in non-profit work and community development through her volunteer experiences within the Winooski and Burlington refugee communities. Upon graduation from Saint Michael’s in 2010, MJ embarked upon a unique, year-long experience to create community needs assessments and establish educational and community-based programming in Selma, AL.

Originally from Saint Albans Town, MJ currently resides in Essex Junction and enjoys running, paddle-boarding, traveling, and hiking with her dog, Pace. MJ also volunteers for the Essex Community Justice Center’s Restorative Justice panel.

Meghan "MJ" Jaird

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

  • Advising for CESS Undeclared Majors
  • Student Academic Progrssion Planning
  • Student Enrichment and Success Resources
  • Academic and Holistic Advising
  • Retention
  • Case/Care Management


  • M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, University of Vermont
  • B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology, Saint Michael’s College


  • (802) 656-1442
Office Location:

528 Waterman