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A Family Growing and Learning About Diversity

Since its founding in 1865, Washburn University has been providing students of all walks of life a place to realize their dreams. Washburn enriches the lives of students by providing opportunities for them to develop and to realize their intellectual, academic and professional potential, leading to becoming productive and responsible citizens. The university is committed to excellence in teaching, scholarly work, quality academic and professional programs, and high levels of faculty-student interaction. Washburn develops and engages in
relationships to enhance educational experiences and the community.

Denise OttingerVice President Denise Ottinger leads the Department of Student Life, comprised of 31 full-time and part-time staff members across various departments, including Career Services, Counseling Services, Multicultural Affairs, Residential Living, Student Activities & Greek Life, and the Student Recreation & Wellness Center, to name a few.

Student Life staff members at Washburn University see themselves as a family working to continually grow and learn, particularly around issues of diversity. Director of Residential Living Mindy Rendon offers, “Washburn’s Student Affairs Department has long had a culture of inclusivity and for truly being a safe place, a supportive one — one that feels familial.”

It is perhaps this familial environment that keeps Student Life staff members at Washburn for long careers. As a 33-year member of the student life staff, Dean of Students Meredith Kidd has witnessed the physical transformation of campus as well as the growth in enrollment and services offered by the department. She remarks, “While student life at Washburn University was good 25 years ago, for the past 20 years we have maximally valued all students and continue to strive to create environments, which foster the sustained development of wellbalanced, civic-minded individuals.”

In addition to their commitment to learning about issues of diversity and inclusion, it is clear that Department of Student Life staff members value their commitment to their students and each other. Thinking about her time with student life, Vice President Ottinger says, “In reflecting on my tenure at Washburn, I have been fortunate to work with a wonderful group of individuals.” It is this commitment to their students and the work of inclusion and diversity that makes Washburn University one of this year’s “30+ Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs.”

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