2023 Most Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs


Promising Places to work logos

Now in its 10th year, Most Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs (MPPWSA) is a national recognition that celebrates student affairs workplaces that are vibrant, diverse, supportive, and committed to staff work-life balance, professional development, and inclusive excellence. MPPWSA offers institutional leaders information that can be used to improve practices across their student affairs communities, while serving as a useful tool for employers, career services staff, and job-seekers across the country.

Other Years

2024 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 
InstitutionSenior Student Affairs OfficerLocationLevelControl
California Poly State University - San Luis ObispoKeith Humphrey, Ph.D.San Luis Obispo, CA4-yearpublic
California State University-Channel IslandsDr. Eboni Ford TurnbowChannel Islands, CA4-yearpublic
Case Western Reserve UniversityLouis StarkCleveland, OH4-yearpublic
Cleveland Institute of ArtDr. Jesse L. Grant, PhDCleveland, OH4-yearprivate
Elon UniversityDr. Jon DooleyElon, NC4-yearprivate
Kent State UniversityDr. Lamar HyltonKent, OH4-yearpublic
Lehigh UniversityDr. Ricardo HallBethlehem, PA4-yearprivate
MGH Institute of Health ProfessionsDr. Jack Gormley, EdDBoston, MAprivate graduate school
Miami University-OxfordDr. Jayne BrownellOxford, OH4-yearpublic
Pennsylvania College of TechnologyElliott StricklandWilliamsport, PA4-yearpublic
Rider UniversityDr. Leanna FennebergLawrenceville, NJ4-yearprivate
Rowan UniversityDr. Kevin S. Koett, EdDGlassboro, NJ4-yearpublic
Saint Louis UniversityDr. Sarah K. CunninghamSt. Louis, MO4-yearprivate
Stony Brook UniversityDr. Richard J. GatteauStony Brook, NY4-yearpublic
Syracuse UniversityAllen W. GrovesSyracuse, NY4-yearprivate
The State University of New York at OswegoDr. Kathleen G. KerrOswego, NY4-yearpublic
University of Alabama, BirminghamDr. John R. Jones III, PhDBirmingham, AL4-yearpublic
University of California, RiversideBrian L. Haynes, Ph.D.Riverside, CA4-yearpublic
University of Hawaii-HiloDr. Chris HollandHilo, HI4-yearprivate
University of Maryland-BaltimoreDr. Patty Alvarez, PhDBaltimore, MD4-yearpublic
University of Maryland, College ParkDr. Patty PerilloCollege Park, MD4-yearpublic
University of North Carolina-GreensboroDr. Cathy AkensGreensboro, NC4-yearpublic
University of North Carolina WilmingtonDr. Lowell K. DavisWilmington, NC4-yearpublic
University of PennsylvaniaTamara Greenfield KingPhiladelphia, PA4-yearprivate
University of West GeorgiaDr. Andre FortuneCarrollton, GA4-yearpublic
William & MaryDr. Virginia AmblerWilliamsburg, VA4-yearpublic
Winston-Salem State UniversityDr. Mel Johnson-NorwoodWinston-Salem, NC4-yearpublic

There’s No “I” in MPPWSA: It Takes Teamwork to Do This Work

Believe it or not, our team gets this question all the time: who’s responsible for the institution "winnin" the MPPWSA award? This question has been raised by governing board members, university presidents, provosts, and, in some cases, from senior student affairs officers themselves. Usually, the question seeks to identify the person or the office that deserves credit for earning the national recognition. After managing this project for a full decade, here’s what we have learned: “There’s no ‘I’ in MPPWSA” and there’s good reason for it. Earning this national recognition requires true teamwork and winning institutions make it a campus-wide priority.

It may sound cliché, but achieving diversity is everyone’s job. No single person or unit can do it all, nor should they. It takes a village — well, a team — to promote diversity, achieve equity, foster inclusion, pursue justice, and boost belonging in higher education workplaces, including student affairs. These terms must be more than buzzwords and deeply infuse day-to-day operations, campus policies, HR practices, and business intelligence. Winning institutions know the difference between them and use that understanding to bring talented people in as staff and leaders, to remove systemic barriers that shut some people out, and to ensure that all staff members feel heard, seen, and visible as reflected in the institution’s staff profile, equitable pay structure, core values, and DEI practices, to give a few examples.

There are many versions of this in the public domain, but we present this as a basic guide for readers. Diversity asks: Who’s present? Equity asks: Who’s (still) attempting to enter the room but can’t? What obstacles exist, seen and unseen? Inclusion asks: Are all people’s opinions heard, valued, and understood? Belonging asks: Does everyone in the room feel respected and free to be themselves, just as they are? Justice asks: How, or why, are our systems harming or limiting people? How do we fix them? And, all of these come together in a way that leads to action to achieve positive results, while paying attention to people’s experiences along the way.

Promising Places create a culture of evidence-based decisionmaking that leads to implementation, experimentation, and even revision of promising practices, policies, and programs like those mentioned in this year’s report. It’s not that they do one thing well, but they have developed a constellation of supportive policies, equity-minded practices, and cutting-edge DEI practices that provide employees, particularly those in student affairs, with a positive work environment, equitable pay, opportunities for advancement, and meaningful work that contributes to the institution’s bottom line and their personal/professional goals.

On many campuses, promising practices, programs, and services are "housed" across divisions. They’re in human resources and talent management. Diversity and inclusion. Academic and student affairs. Athletics and intramural sports, to name a few. So, the answer to the question "who’s responsible" is simple: everyone! When the institution wins, everyone wins.

Again, congratulations to this year’s highly selective set of Most Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs!


This study was first proposed by Ralph Newell at Diverse: Issues In Higher Education as a possible partnership with the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) in 2011. The ACPA Governing Board motioned for then-director of research and scholarship Dr. Terrell Strayhorn to explore the merit and extent of the project. With input from a volunteer advisory board, the project was recommended to the governing board and approved.

ACPA and Diverse: Issues In Higher Education commissioned Strayhorn to serve as the project’s principal investigator. In the role, Strayhorn developed the MPPWSA survey in consultation with experts on the project’s advisory board. The original survey was pilot tested with a small sample of non-ACPA member institutions; feedback from the pilot test helped to clarify survey items, correct logic sequencing, and determine the utility of our scoring algorithm.

The purpose of this commissioned study was to examine the extent to which diversity and inclusion permeates aspects of various divisions of student affairs (or equivalent) at participating ACPA-member institutions across the globe including administrative structures, commitments, work environments, and staffing practices.


The MPPWSA survey consists of approximately 60 items, organized into 10 major sections. For example, one section elicits contact information for the survey respondent and identifying information about their respective institution (e.g., control, minority-serving institution [MSI] status). Another section includes several items to assess the structural diversity of the institution and student affairs department in terms of gender, race, sexual orientation, and disability status. There are several sections that measure the availability and extent of support services provided to student affairs staff on campus, such as professional development.

The survey was authored by Terrell Strayhorn, with input from experts on the project advisory board, and is not available in the public domain. Now part of the larger ‘Promising Places to Work’ project, the survey has been administered by Strayhorn and his teams at various centers and Do Good Work Educational Consulting LLC. All survey rights belong to the author. All analyses presented in this edition were conducted by Terrell Strayhorn and Royel Johnson.


We invite readers to share with us how they’re using this year’s report of Most Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs (MPPWSA). Share with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram using #MPPWSA23 and tag @DiverseIssues and @ACPA.

Past editions of this annual report have been used by:

  • Accrediting agencies
  • Employers
  • Human resource managers
  • Job Seekers
  • Professional associations


    Dr. Terrell Strayhorn is professor of higher education at Illinois State University, where he also holds appointments in women’s, gender & sexuality studies. He is director of the Center for the Study of HBCUs at Virginia Union University, where he also serves as visiting scholar in the Evelyn Reid Syphax School of Education and Department of Psychology. Additionally, he is president and CEO of Do Good Work Educational Consulting Group, a research firm that partners with leading colleges and schools to improve policy and practice as a way of ensuring all students’ success. Author of 12 books, more than 200 journal articles, chapters, and reports, Strayhorn is an internationally known student success expert, equity researcher, and public speaker. Diverse: Issues in Higher Education named Strayhorn an Emerging Scholar, and he has received ACPA’s Emerging Scholar, Annuit Coeptis, and Diamond Honoree Awards. @tlstrayhorn

    Dr. Royel Johnson is an associate professor of higher education at the University of Southern California. In addition, he serves as the director of student engagement at the USC Race and Equity Center and faculty in the Pullias Center for Higher Education. Johnson is a nationally recognized expert on issues of educational access, racial equity, and student success. His work has an unapologetic focus on Black and institutionally marginalized populations like those impacted by the criminal punishment, child welfare, and inequitable educational systems. He has published over 60 academic publications, including two books: Racial Equity on College Campuses: Connecting Research and Practice and Enacting Student Success: Critical and Alternative Perspectives for Practice. In 2020, he received ACPA’s Emerging Scholar Award. @royeljohnson

    This project also benefitted from the contributions of many others who have helped contact administrators, write institutional profiles, and elicit quotations from personnel at featured institutions. These include (in alphabetical order): Stanley Gates, Shay Merritte, Danny Ndungu, Tiffany Steele, Catherine Wang, Anton Smith, Gabriel Kim, and Daniel Thomas. The original advisory board for this project included Drs. Tracey Cameron, Stan Carpenter, Kristen Renn, Joan Hirt, and Sue Saunders.


    Promising practices are specific, actionable insights that were gleaned from survey data and speaking with teams of student affairs practitioners from the most promising places to work. These Promising Practices are not necessarily “best practices” per se as what works well on one campus may not achieve the same results on another. Instead, we present them as promising practices that, according to annual and trend lines for MPPWSA, seem to consistently produce desirable outcomes in practice.


    Beyond the development of taskforces and strategic plans for achieving diversity or inclusive excellence within their division, senior leaders at this year’s Most Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs (MPPSA) maintained very clear commitments to the translation and implementation of such efforts within their day-to-day operations. For example, one vice president commissioned a committee to develop a comprehensive guide for the recruitment and retention of diverse staff. Grounded in empirical research-related multiculturalism in education and social justice, this guide offers hiring committees and supervisors actionable items to follow to achieve the diversity they envision for their unit. As another example, staff are encouraged to discuss hiring goals with human resources (HR) recruiters and to request full view of candidates without pre-screening. This strategy helps ensure that all candidates are carefully considered.

    Ensuring inclusive excellence in student affairs is hard work. It requires that we move beyond rhetoric — the mere acknowledgment that diversity is important — to action. Leaders at this year’s MPPWSA institutions have taken bold new steps for sustained transformational change within their divisions. We encourage SSAOs across the country to also engage in the necessary, and sometimes difficult, decision-making required for recruiting and retaining diverse staff within their divisions. Of course, the progress of some MPPWSA institutions may eclipse the current status of others. Indeed, each year we welcome newcomers to the list of MPPWSA institutions — hats off to all those who have been named for the first time in 2023! We also acknowledge that some former MPPWSA institutions are not in this year’s lineup, which has been true every year of the project. Generally, such changes in the lineup can be attributed to (1) significant improvements and sustained focused efforts on the part of prior MPPWSAs, (2) entry of newcomers to the annual competition who outpace others on key metrics, and (3) changes or declines in supports and services of past recipients. Interestingly, our research team has also observed that movement on- and off-the-list is correlated with leadership turnover, especially in vital student services areas. Thus, we encourage readers of this special report and senior-most leaders of MPPWSA institutions to consider these recommendations when fashioning productive work environments, promoting inclusive excellence, and managing institutional change caused by leadership transitions (e.g., promotion, separation). Doing the same thing well consistently over time has greater impact than doing something great once.


    In addition to excelling in their assigned roles or positions, staff at many of the MPPWSA were incentivized to work on projects outside of their normal divisions and functions. For an example of how allowing work across silos contributes to a promising place to work, look at this year’s featured institutions in terms of dining services, counseling services, and financial aid, to name a few. One reason for the success of these campus services is a result of the cross-pollination that occurred when they were encouraged to share ideas across units on how to best serve students. Mixing of creative ideas, effective strategies, and deeper understandings of campus needs led to innovations such as campus-sponsored food pantries, university-sanctioned clothing closets, emergency aid grants, veteran services, and reemployment support for staff.


    Enabling staff to work across invisible “functional walls” that separate teams and divisions also helped many of this year’s MPPWSA institutions to provide workplace environments where faculty and staff feel like they belong and matter.

    It is important to note that the mere provision of professional supports and services is unlikely to produce robust outcomes like workplace belonging. Instead, it is when staff support and services are intentionally designed to address the basic and specific needs of personnel and remove structural inequities that belonging, productivity, and success come to fruition. For instance, several of this year’s MPPWSA institutions offer various forms of professional leave (e.g., caregiving, educational) to staff to accommodate their academic aspirations and family needs. Other institutions offer stress reduction programs (e.g., virtual yoga), flexible workhours (even pre-pandemic), merit pay or bonuses, and childcare services to demonstrate an institutional commitment to work-life balance, family-friendliness, and holistic development.


    Institution# Full Time Staff# Part Time Staff50% Female30% Ethnic Minority5% LGBT Staff5% Staff with DisabilitiesAverage Salary SeniorAverage Salary Mid-LevelAverage Salary Entry-Level
    California Poly State University - San Luis Obispo378156YESYESN/A$194,985$81,326$60,040
    California State University-Channel Islands84065N/AN/AN/A120,54681,54659,732
    Case Western Reserve University210056YESN/AYESN/AN/AN/A
    Cleveland Institute of Art1007NONONO$99,000$85,000$48,000
    Elon University98072NON/AYES$90,742$60,757$48,191
    Kent State University2753968NON/AYES$103,871$65,426$43,654
    Lehigh University82279NON/AN/A$100,571$60,590$50,421
    MGH Institute of Health Professions6450NOYESYES$160,000$88,000$60,000
    Miami University-Oxford13322N/AN/AN/AN/A$107,750$59,497$36,760
    Pennsylvania College of Technology10715160NON/AN/A$93,996$64,844$39,333
    Rider University30476NOYESN/A$84,349$60,086N/A
    Rowan University11259N/AN/AN/AN/A$109,000$84,000$64,000
    Saint Louis University1582064NON/AYES$108,399$64,669$46,150
    Stony Brook University255363YESYESYES$160,000$78,000$53,500
    Syracuse University3009770NON/AN/A$117,735$66,388$43,466
    The State University of New York at Oswego2505257NON/AN/A$120,000$80,000$55,000
    University of Alabama, Birmingham150374YESN/AN/A$120,520$59,075$39,250
    University of California, Riverside2483962YESN/AN/A$120,202$76,496$46,295
    University of Hawaii-Hilo94360YESYESNO$110,000$70,000$50,000
    University of Maryland-Baltimore5021762YESYESYES$115,000$82,500$62,300
    University of Maryland, College Park108070757YESN/ANO$177,199$102,183$64,609
    University of North Carolina-Greensboro2155065YESYESYES$100,000$65,000$45,000
    University of North Carolina Wilmington17540060NON/AN/A$85,000$65,000$45,000
    University of Pennsylvania1601070N/AN/AN/A$225,000$70,000$50,000
    University of West Georgia901673NON/AN/A$90,266$54,808$36,694
    William & Mary1035778NONON/A$117,823$66,150$44,572
    Winston-Salem State University725056N/AN/AN/A$80,000$65,000$45,000


    InstitutionCargiving Leave For AllChildcare ServicesContinuing EdEd LeaveElder Care ServicesFlexible Work ScheduleMentoringStress Reduction Program
    California Poly State University - San Luis ObispoYESYESYESYESNOYESNOYES
    California State University-Channel IslandsYESYESYESYESYESYESNOYES
    Case Western Reserve UniversityYESYESYESYESYESYESNOYES
    Cleveland Institute of ArtYESYESYESNOYESYESNOYES
    MGH Institute of Health ProfessionsYESYESYESYESYESYESNOYES
    Pennsylvania College of TechnologyYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYES
    The State University of New York at OswegoYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYES
    University of Alabama, BirminghamYESYESYESNOYESYESYESYES
    University of California, RiversideNOYESYESYESYESYESNOYES
    University of Hawaii-HiloYESNOYESYESNOYESYESYES
    University of Maryland-BaltimoreYESYESYESNOYESYESYESYES
    University of Maryland, College ParkYESYESYESYESYESYESNOYES
    University of North Carolina-GreensboroYESYESYESYESNOYESNOYES
    University of North Carolina WilmingtonYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYES
    University of PennsylvaniaYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYES
    University of West GeorgiaYESNOYESYESNOYESNOYES
    Winston-Salem State UniversityYESYESYESYESNOYESYESYES


    In this year’s report, we offer a geographical depiction of the spread of MPPWSA institutions. As shown in the author-generated map below, this year’s featured institutions cover:

    • Thirteen different states
    • Both East Coast and West Coast, along with Midwest
    • Both public and private colleges and universities
    • Disciplinary specific (e.g., art, health) and more general, comprehensive curriculum

    US map


    California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

    California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

    This is the sixth recognition in seven years for California Polytechnic State University, one of two polytechnic institutions in the California State University system. Dr. Keith B. Humphrey, vice president for student affairs, says the university constantly strives to improve the work experience for team members. “We know that when we create the best possible conditions for them, they can be their best for our students,” he says. “Over the past three years we have increased telework options, maintained our aggressive efforts in adjusting salaries — in particular, for entry-level positions — and conducted ‘stay’ surveys of staff, as opposed to exit surveys, to learn where we can make improvements in the workplace environment.”
    California State University-Channel Islands

    California State University-Channel Islands

    Opened in 2002 as part of the California State University system, California State University-Channel Islands is a Hispanic-serving institution. It offers 54 undergraduate programs, six master’s degrees, 19 teaching credentials, and a doctoral program. “The last three years have been nothing short of unpredictable for all of us,” says Dr. Eboni Ford Turnbow, vice president for student affairs. “The division of student affairs has embraced adaptability and flexibility at levels we didn’t even know we could. We have done our best to incorporate the needs and feelings of the entire campus community to maintain a sense of connectedness and support.”
    Case Western Reserve University

    Case Western Reserve University

    A private research institution with some 12,000 students evenly divided between undergraduates and graduate students, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) launched the For a Better CWRU Task Force in the summer of 2020. The student-led endeavor was guided by Lou Stark, vice president for student affairs, and Robert Solomon, vice president for diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity. “Within student affairs, diversity and inclusion remain central to all that we do with and for students,” says Stark. “Staff engage regularly with student groups focused on diversity and inclusion. We also provide substantial support for on-campus programming and attendance at conferences serving underrepresented students.”
    Cleveland Institute of Art

    Cleveland Institute of Art

    The Cleveland Institute of Art is a private college focused on art and design. It offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in multiple majors as well as study abroad programs. “The office of student affairs operates as a strong team,” says Dr. Jesse Grant, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “We support each other in our work, which in turn allows us to better support CIA students. Student affairs staff members consistently go the extra mile to support the evolution of this up-and-coming generation of artists and designers.”
    Elon University

    Elon University

    A private university in North Carolina founded in 1889, Elon University has about 7,100 students and offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees. “Elon’s long tradition of innovation, resilience and planning has sustained us through a very challenging time in higher education and helped us focus on the success, belonging, and wellbeing of our staff as well as our students,” says Dr. Jon Dooley, vice president for student life and associate professor of education. “As a university, as well as a student life division, we are increasingly reimagining structures to support professional development, centering equity and inclusive excellence in our work, and implementing strategies to enhance workplace satisfaction and wellbeing.”
    Kent State University

    Kent State University

    With an enrollment around 35,000, Kent State University is a public research institution in Ohio recognized for the third consecutive year. “The division of student affairs at Kent State continues to listen and be responsive to the needs of its workplace to shape a positive and inclusive experience,” says Dr. Lamar R. Hylton, senior vice president for student affairs. “We partner across our university to develop and cultivate a workplace climate that enables our staff to be successful in serving our students and university community. Now, more than ever, living our institutional values of diversity, equity, and inclusion is paramount to responding to the grand challenges we face as a society.”
    Lehigh University

    Lehigh University

    Lehigh University, a private research institution in Pennsylvania, offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. “As institutions have experienced a drop-off in the number of highly qualified applicants for open positions, recruiting and hiring a diverse workforce has become simultaneously more challenging and more of an imperative,” says Dr. Ricardo D. Hall, vice president for student affairs. “It is imperative that higher ed institutions are receptive to considering new and innovative ways to recognize the performance and contributions of our diverse workforce, while actively incentivizing staff retention.”
    MGH Institute of Health Professions

    MGH Institute of Health Professions

    Based in Boston, Massachusetts, MGH Institute of Health Professions is a private university focused on the health sciences. “With support from our senior leadership, IT staff, HR staff, and others, we’ve embraced three ways to serve and engage students — in person, online, and hybrid — while allowing staff to work from home as much as 50% of the time,” says Dr. Jack Gormley, dean of student services. “Staff capitalize on frequent informal meetings via Zoom or Microsoft Teams to stay even more connected than ever. It truly is a culture of compassionate understanding, gratitude for flexibility, and strong motivation to overcome whatever challenges our community may face.”
    Miami University-Oxford

    Miami University-Oxford

    A public research university in Oxford, Ohio, Miami University offers more than 120 undergraduate degree programs and 60 graduate programs within its eight schools and colleges. “During the past three years student life at Miami University has been investing in prevention, treatment, and response efforts related to student mental health,” says Dr. Jayne E. Brownell, vice president for student affairs. “At the same time, we’ve also led the effort to pay attention to the emotional wellbeing of our staff and faculty, knowing that if our team is not well and healthy, we cannot be successful as a university.”
    Pennsylvania College of Technology

    Pennsylvania College of Technology

    A public institution affiliated with Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania College of Technology is a self-governing, applied technology institution offering programs for certificates and associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Jennifer McLean, the dean of students, says diversity, equity, and inclusion are high priorities at all levels. “The ability to serve and support students is optimized when the staff who lead student-focused efforts feel engaged, well-supported and well-informed,” says McLean. “We are fortunate to work for an organization that holistically supports all of our employees and, in doing so, supports our students.”
    Rider University

    Rider University

    “Rider University (a private institution in New Jersey) serves a diverse student body, many of whom experience the challenges of marginalization,” says Dr. Leanna Fenneberg, vice president for student affairs. “To uphold our values of holistic and individualized support for all students, inclusive of their backgrounds and identities, we have a relentless commitment to center diversity, equity, and inclusion as priorities — in our strategic plan, annual goals, professional development, staff recruitment, recognition, and everyday conversations.” Fenneberg says the student affairs team has adapted to the challenges and changes brought on by the pandemic by centering care for the students and one another.
    Rowan University

    Rowan University

    A public institution in New Jersey, Rowan University has 14 schools and colleges with undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies degrees. Student affairs comprises three divisions — student life, student success, and strategic enrollment management. The university’s small class sizes, experiential learning, leadership opportunities, and career placement network are key to the student experience.
    Saint Louis University

    Saint Louis University

    Saint Louis University is a private Jesuit research university. In the 2021-22 academic year, enrollment numbered 12,883 students, about two-thirds undergraduates and one-third graduate students, who came from diverse national and international backgrounds. “It has been and continues to be imperative that we call on our Jesuit mission of ‘cura personalis’ to care not only for our students but for our staff,” says Dr. Sarah K. Cunningham, vice president of student development. “We strive daily to chip away at systemic barriers, evaluate our policies and protocols from an accessibility and inclusion lens, and make sure we are in community with one another to learn about each other’s lived experiences.”
    Syracuse University

    Syracuse University

    A private research institution, Syracuse University is organized into 13 schools and colleges and has Research-1 status. There are almost 15,000 undergraduates and nearly 7,000 graduate students. “With the unique challenges presented by the pandemic over the past three years, the student experience division prioritized opportunities to strengthen connection and to create welcoming and supportive spaces for staff to learn and engage in virtual and in-person modalities,” says Allen W. Groves, senior vice president and chief student experience officer. “As part of these efforts, the division hosted affinity groups, wellness initiatives, new staff orientations, and professional development opportunities.”
    The State University of New York at Oswego

    The State University of New York at Oswego

    Part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system, SUNY Oswego offers more than 100 academic programs across four colleges and schools: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the School of Education, and the School of Communications, Media and the Arts. SUNY Oswego Officer-in-Charge Dr. Mary C. Toale praises Dr. Kathleen G. Kerr, vice president for student affairs, noting that Kerr “developed a diverse and cohesive student affairs team…that cultivates caring and inclusive communities… Dr. Kerr has led the division’s efforts to re-envision a collaborative, holistic approach to student development and success, while continuing to enhance a campus culture of caring.”
    The State University of New York at Stony Brook

    The State University of New York at Stony Brook

    The State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook is a public research university and one of SUNY’s flagship institutions. It enrolls roughly 25,000 students, both undergraduate and graduate. “Diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the heart of everything we do — from the types of celebrations we plan on campus, to the educational and social programming and events we offer, to our students, to the staff we hire so our students can see themselves represented,” says Dr. Rick Gatteau, vice president for student affairs. “The Diversity Leadership Initiative was created to cultivate an affirming professional development environment for historically underrepresented student affairs professionals.”
    The University of Alabama at Birmingham

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham, founded in 1969, is a public research institution with 140 programs in 12 academic divisions. “University of Alabama at Birmingham’s division of student affairs holds inclusive excellence at the center of its actions, initiatives and services,” says Dr. John R. Jones III, vice president for student affairs. “Student affairs staff find meaning in their work; they engage in important conversations to help students navigate complex priorities throughout their college journey while fostering impactful relationships as mentors and collaborative college administrators. University campuses are a microcosm of our larger society, and at UAB… we co-construct what it means to address important societal issues in the spirit of our creed, The Blazer Way.”
    The University of California, Riverside

    The University of California, Riverside

    This is a repeat recognition for the University of California, Riverside, which is part of the University of California system. “We believe in building a community of student affairs professionals reflective of the diverse student body that collectively we serve,” says Dr. Brian Haynes, vice chancellor for student affairs. “It is essential that diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice are embedded in our hiring practices and for team members at all levels of the organization… We cannot provide the highest quality of student excellence without the ability to take care of our mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Our division is fortunate to work in a collaborative and welcoming environment.”
    University of Hawaii at Hilo

    University of Hawaii at Hilo

    A public university in the University of Hawaii system, the University of Hawaii at Hilo offers 33 undergraduate and three graduate degree programs for its roughly 3,000 students. “We have intentionally looked at people’s roles and responsibilities and opened up options for flexible scheduling, including telework, and have been flexible with the everchanging demands on people due to the pandemic and how it has impacted people’s lives — from healthcare to school to work,” says Dr. Christopher Holland, interim vice chancellor for student affairs. “Additionally, we have been mapping the student lifecycle and looking at where barriers exist and are looking at reducing or removing those barriers where we can.”
    University of Maryland, Baltimore

    University of Maryland, Baltimore

    Primarily a graduate institution with professional schools in dentistry, law, medicine, pharmacy, social work, and nursing, the University of Maryland, Baltimore, is a public institution with the mission of improving the human condition. “Student affairs remains committed to creating environments where staff feel respected and valued,” says Dr. Patty Alvarez, chief student affairs officer and associate vice president of student affairs. “We remain committed to achieving our diversity, equity, inclusion, anti-racism, and anti-oppression goals to create inclusive campus climates for employees and students. To truly be a promising place to work and learn, this commitment and the supporting action must be never ending.”
    University of Maryland-College Park

    University of Maryland-College Park

    The flagship institution of the University System of Maryland, University of Maryland-College Park serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and 10,000 graduate students. “We have hired an inaugural director of diversity, equity and inclusion for the division of student affairs. Investing in people and communities is a strategic priority of ours,” says Dr. Patty Perillo, vice president for student affairs. “We have launched a strategic plan focused on inclusion, diversity, equity, anti-racism, and social justice (IDEAS). We have developed a comprehensive professional development curriculum, including coaching options, for our staff. Our new mission — Every Student Thrives — centers our work.”
    University of North Carolina Greensboro

    University of North Carolina Greensboro

    Although it is a stand-alone university, the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG) is a public research institution and part of the UNC system. Its student population of almost 20,000 is comprised of both undergraduate and graduate students. “UNCG is committed to issues of equity and inclusion and embodies a strong culture of care,” says Dr. Cathy Akens, vice chancellor for student affairs. “This team’s steadfast focus on student success has been critical to our ability to find innovative ways to reduce students’ barriers and provide them access and opportunities to achieve their academic goals.”
    University of North Carolina Wilmington

    University of North Carolina Wilmington

    Founded in 1947, the University of North Carolina Wilmington is a public research university and part of the University of North Carolina system. It enrolls approximately 17,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. “The division of student affairs strengthened its commitment to diversity through the creation of several initiatives and programs over the past year,” says Dr. Lowell K. Davis, vice chancellor for student affairs. This includes Women in Leadership Development and Brothers Breaking Bread. “By amplifying all voices, universities discover new ideas and ways to solve the challenges we, and other places in higher education, currently face.”
    University of Pennsylvania

    University of Pennsylvania

    University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League research institution with over 22,000 students, and more than half of them are graduate or professional students. The pandemic propelled the university life division to engage in innovative strategic long-term planning. “This planning intentionally involved every staff member in the entire division, allowing for everyone to have a voice during the planning process,” says Tamara Greenfield King, interim vice provost for university life and senior associate vice provost for student affairs. “It is our divisional goal and ethos that when people have a voice in the process, they are much more engaged and committed to the outcome.”
    University of West Georgia

    University of West Georgia

    University of West Georgia is a public university with both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. “In the past three years, the University of West Georgia executive administration has committed to reshaping our efforts to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion outcomes,” says Dr. André L. Fortune, vice president for student affairs. “Instead of assigning one person or one office to meet the needs of students, faculty and staff, we restructured to identify leaders within student affairs — and throughout our institution — to operationalize a team approach, focusing on the seamless integration of DEI for all members of our university community.”
    William & Mary

    William & Mary

    Founded in 1693 and the alma mater of U.S. presidents, William & Mary (W&M) is a public research institution in Williamsburg, Virginia. “The professionalism of our student affairs team has never been more essential or more visible than during the last three years,” says Dr. Virginia M. Ambler, vice president for student affairs. “With an unfailing commitment to mission, they’ve ensured that William & Mary students felt a sense of community and purpose during a time that was isolating for so many. At W&M we have a saying, ‘Who comes here, belongs here.’”
    Winston-Salem State University

    Winston-Salem State University

    A historically Black public university, Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) has over 40 academic majors and 10 graduate degrees. “As WSSU enters a bold new era, our commitment to student affairs is engrained in the work that we do on a daily basis and codified in our recent strategic plan, ‘Unleash the Genius,’” says Dr. Mel Johnson-Norwood, associate provost and vice chancellor for student affairs. “As we reflect upon our experiences over the past three years, we are looking outside of tradition and audaciously moving into spaces that may be uncomfortable but necessary for our future growth and development.”