Founded in 1870 by the Roman Catholic Society of Jesus under the name of St. Ignatius College, Loyola University Chicago has grown to be the largest of the 28 Jesuit universities in the United States. It is grounded in the rich heritage of seeking God in all things and a commitment to issues of social responsibility, and, above all, justice for all communities.
Jane F. Neufeld, interim vice president and dean of students, leads the Division of Student Development, comprised of 190 full-time and 15 part-staff members across many departments, including the Athletics Department, Campus Ministry, Leadership Development, Second Year Experience, the Damen Student Center, and the Department of Student Diversity & Multicultural Affairs, among others.
Reflecting on her recent appointment as interim vice president and the division’s broader commitment to engaging issues of diversity and inclusion, Neufeld shares, “I am honored to lead [the] Division of Student Development that embodies our university’s commitment to advancing social justice and diversity.”
Whether reviewing the division’s vision or diversity statements, it is clear that student affairs staff members at Loyola University Chicago find excellence and diversity tied. In concert with this idea, student development professionals at Loyola challenge themselves to learn about diversity in all its forms, as they firmly believe that enhancing one’s awareness, knowledge and skills is imperative to best serving the university’s diverse
Further, the Division of Student Development maintains a high standard for a demonstrated commitment to diversity and pluralism among the professional and graduate student staff.
For example, the division’s cultural competence and professional development committees regularly provide
learning opportunities through in-services, lunch ’n’ learns, race- and gender-based affinity groups, and conversation partners for professionals to engage with one another about the importance of difference and the many lived experiences that are represented at the university.
Through an anonymous survey following the conclusion of this academic year’s diversity trainings and workshops series, a staff member offered, “I learned different ways to handle situations involving stereotypes, microaggressions and gender dynamics.”
A second staff member reflected on the increased knowledge gained by participating in the diversity trainings, writing, “I learned practical skills in thinking on how I would react in scenarios while also blending in and reflecting on my own experiences.”
It is their commitment to continuous learning around issues of diversity and social justice that makes the Division of Student Development at Loyola University Chicago one of this year’s “30+ Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs.”
Author’s Note: At the time of their selection as a promising place to work in student affairs, Loyola University Chicago’s Division of Student Development was under the leadership of Dr. Robert Kelly.