2017 Most Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs

Now in its fourth 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 community, while also serving as a useful tool for employers, career services staff and job-seekers across the country!

Institution Senior Student Affairs Officer Location Level Control Enrollment
Bellarmine University Dr. Helen Grace Ryan Louisville,KY 4-Yr Private 3,609
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Dr. Keith B. Humphrey San Luis Obispo, CA 4-Yr Public 20,186
California State University Channel Islands Dr. Wm. Gregory Sawyer Camarillo, CA 4-Yr Public 5,879
College of William and Mary Dr. Virginia Ambler Williamsburg, VA 4-Yr Public 8,437
Hofstra University W. Houston Dougharty Hempstead, NY 4-Yr Private 10,953
Indiana University Southeast Jason L. Meriwether New Albany, IN 4-Yr Public 6,442
Lynn University Dr. Phillip Riordan Boca Raton, FL 4-Yr Private 2,613
Miami University Dr. Jayne Brownell Oxford, OH 4-Yr Public 18,620
The Ohio State University Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston Columbus, OH 4-Yr Public 58,322
Olivet College Dr. Linda Logan Olivet, MI 4-Yr Private 1,058
Rutgers University-New Brunswick Dr. Felicia E. McGinty New Brunswick, NJ 4-Yr Public 48,378
Saint Louis University Dr. Kent Porterfield St. Louis, MO 4-Yr Private 17,052
Shepherd University Dr. Thomas Christopher Segar Shepherdstown, WV 4-Yr Public 4,041
Stony Brook University Dr. Peter Baigent Stony Brook, NY 4-Yr Public 24,607
University of North Carolina at Wilmington Patricia Leonard Wilmington, NC 4-Yr Public 14,570
The University of Vermont * Dr. Annie Stevens Burlington, VT 4-Yr Public 12,856
University of West Georgia * Dr. Scot Lingrell Carrollton, GA 4-Yr Public 10,206
Virginia Tech Dr. Patricia A. Perillo Blacksburg, VA 4-Yr Public 31,224

* Institution has been recognized each year since the inaugural class of Most Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs in 2014


This study was first commissioned by the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) and Diverse: Issues In Higher Education in 2011. The national survey is administered by the Center for Higher Education Enterprise (CHEE) at The Ohio State University (OSU), which is directed by professor Terrell Strayhorn. Among other things, Strayhorn served as ACPA director of research and scholarship from 2009 to 2012.

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 Center for Higher Education Enterprise (CHEE) is an interdisciplinary research center that promotes the important role postsecondary education plays in global society, especially the vital roles and responsibilities of public higher education.

CHEE is committed to improving student success by conducting distinctive research, policy analysis and outreach that will help make higher education more accessible, affordable, engaged and all-around excellent.

CHEE’s mission is to become the country’s preeminent higher education research and policy center, solving issues of national significance. In terms of vision, CHEE exists to advance the higher education enterprise through the creation and dissemination of distinctive research that informs policy, strengthens communities and enables student success. For more, go to: http://chee.osu.edu


Dr. Terrell Lamont Strayhorn (Principal Investigator) is a professor of higher education at OSU, where he also serves as director of CHEE. Author of 10 books, more than 100 journal articles and book chapters, more than 150 papers at international and national conferences and more than 300 keynotes, Strayhorn is a prolifi c scholar, internationally known student success expert, highly sought public speaker and was named one of the top scholars in his fi eld by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education in 2011.

Dr. Royel M. Johnson (Project Coordinator) is a researcher and policy analyst for CHEE. His research focuses on major policy- and practice relevant issues in education such as: college access and success; race, equity, and diversity; and student learning and development. He is coeditor of a forthcoming book on historically Black colleges and universities and has published dozens of journal articles, book chapters, and other academic publications. He holds a Ph.D. in higher education and student aff airs from OSU.

This project also benefited from the contributions of other CHEE staff who helped contact administrators, craft institutional profiles and elicit quotations. These include (in alphabetical order): Shay Merritté, Danny Ndungu, Regina Robinson-Easter, Tiff any Steele, and Catherine Wang.


Tracey Cameron, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean of Intercultural Education
Director Harambee House
Advisor to Student of African Descent
Wellesley College

Stan Carpenter, Ph.D.
College of Education
Texas State University

Kristen A. Renn, Ph.D.
Professor of Higher, Adult, & Lifelong Education
Michigan State University

Joan B. Hirt, Ph.D.
Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
School of Education
College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Sue Saunders, Ph.D.
Program Coordinator, Higher Education and Student Aff airs
Extension Professor, Department of Educational Leadership
Neag School