Youngstown State University’s Division of Student Affairs has been named one of 30+ Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs in an unranked national list developed and released by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine and the American College Personnel Association.
The list was based off a national study by the Center for Inclusion, Diversity and Academic Success. Occupants were determined by six criteria: workplace diversity, staffing practices, family-friendliness, work-life practices, professional development opportunities and salary and benefits.
Jack Fahey, YSU’s vice president for Student Affairs, said the recognition was a honor that would help bolster the quality of YSU’s hiring pool.
“It is an incredible honor. ACPA is the largest and most important professional organization of people that work in student affairs. You know, it is being honored by your umbrella organization,” Fahey said. “It is going to help us do an even better job of recruiting staff. When we have a vacancy in student affairs, the whole world is going to know that we are a really great place to work. It gives the university recognition; it is going to help us to bring an even higher caliber of staff members to our campus from a much larger area because now we have some international notoriety.”
Gary Swegan, YSU’s first associative vice president for enrollment management, joined the Student Affairs staff in November. He said his short time here has already shown that this recognition is well deserved.
“Student Affairs is new to me generally and, of course, YSU is new to me. But here is what I would say to you: I am not the least bit surprised that we got this recognition,” Swegan said. “I find this place to be an extraordinarily welcoming place. … I have found there is a very caring and student-centered attitude here, and the people here seem very happy with the work environment within student affairs.”
The Student Affairs division that has purview over a number of university operations including but not limited to Veterans Affairs, Student Health Clinic, Ombud Services and Financial Aid and Scholarships.
Elaine Ruse, director of Financial Aid and Scholarships, also spoke well of her time and work in Student Affairs.
“The financial aid profession, of course in my opinion, is among the most dynamic professions within student affairs. Financial aid staff have the ability to help to help students by identifying the financial aid offers that provide financial stability with respect to college expenses. So being in the position and profession with the goal to benefit students directly is rewarding and what I believe the majority of us enjoy about the work,” Ruse said.
Both Swegan and Ruse praised Fahey for his leadership of Student Affairs. Ruse also spoke to the successful collaborative efforts between all the directors and management of Student Affairs.
“I believe he sets the example and he influences all of us to achieve the goals that we set. We work well together because there is respect for our individual differences, and he leads by examples,” Ruse said. “We meet every two weeks as a group — all of the directors. Our unit we work very well together. He has created a team. All of us pitch in to help one another.”
Fahey, however, pointed toward his staff for his division’s successes.
“To kind of sum it up, we have really, really talented student affairs staff here,” he said. “ More than anything else, the senior managers and folks at the directors level are really, really good at making this a wonderful place to work. All of the hard work that they do, assure that this is a happy, welcoming place where students can flourish. They’re also very intentional about recruiting and retaining the best people and making this a place of employment where people can flourish as well.”
Fahey added that he leads by facilitating his staffs’ ambitions and work.
“I try to be collaborative and empowering of others. … I try to help them with resources when they need it and stay out of their way,” Fahey said. “It is really about being more of a cheerleader than anything else, helping them get to the next step in terms of something they are probably going to get to anyway.”