SMC Campus Center

Award honors the best places for student affairs practitioners to seek employment by recognizing workplaces that are vibrant, diverse, supportive, and committed to best practices.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Office of Academic Affairs announced that UMB was selected as one of the 2019 Most Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs by the American College Personnel Association (ACPA)-College Student Educators International and Diverse: Issues In Higher Education magazine.

UMB was one of 20 institutions selected for this honor, which identifies the best places for student affairs practitioners to seek employment by recognizing workplaces that are vibrant, diverse, supportive, and committed to best practices. This was no surprise to Patty Alvarez, PhD, who has seen the Office of Academic Affairs’ commitment to excellence in these areas firsthand as UMB’s assistant vice president of student affairs for the past year.

“Student Affairs at UMB is a hidden gem, but perhaps no longer with this award,” Alvarez says. “This recognition is an incredible honor. The award will give the University some well-deserved attention and allow Student Affairs and Campus Life Services at UMB to stand out as a national model. 

“Since I joined the University in January 2018, I have been impressed by the culture and climate of respect that exists within the division, the importance placed on professional development and learning, and the commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.” 

Alvarez thanked UMB leaders for laying a strong foundation upon which to build an excellent Student Affairs workplace, including Jay A. Perman, MD, president; Bruce Jarrell, MD, FACS, provost and executive vice president; Roger Ward, EdD, JD, MSL, MPA, senior vice president for operations and institutional effectiveness; and Flavius Lilly, PhD, MA, MPH, associate vice president of Academic and Student Affairs. 

“When I came to UMB in 2010, there really wasn’t a Student Affairs function centrally, and Dr. Ward and I really set about building that,” Lilly says. “We said very early on that we wanted to build a good place to work, so it’s immensely gratifying for Student Affairs to be recognized with this award. 

“We developed a professional development program for the people who work in Student Affairs called Emerging Leaders, and that program has expanded to be available to everyone at UMB, and it has had eight cohorts. A lot of the people that I hired in Student Affairs are still here today or have gone on to other leadership positions within the University. I think they feel like they found a home at UMB, which is really nice.” 

Alvarez also praised Bill Crockett, MS, RCRSP, executive director, Campus Life Services and the SMC Campus Center, for his efforts in completing the award survey. The application highlighted UMB’s commitment to promoting inclusive excellence, professional development, work-life balance, and other policies that communicate and support the high value that the University places on employees and their families. 

“We have a talented and diverse group of professionals within Campus Life Services who are committed to students and partnering with faculty and staff to advance University goals,” Alvarez says. “Our words and actions communicate our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We look forward to continuing the important work of creating welcoming environments where everyone feels valued and can be successful.” 

UMB and the 19 other institutions will be highlighted in the March 7 edition of Diverse, which offers news, commentary, and special reports on diversity in higher education and has given out the student affairs award each year since 2014. Alvarez and Crockett will represent UMB at the award presentation during the ACPA’s annual meeting, March 3-6 in Boston. 

Read a news release about the 2019 winners.

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