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New residential learning coordinators focus on community, student learning outside of the classroom


   

April Aldeen, Jason Johnson, Damian Waite, and Jennifer Martin Clockwise from top left: April Aldeen, Jason Johnson, Jennifer Martin, and Damian Waite


BLACKSBURG, Va., Aug. 20, 2010 – Residence Life has transitioned eight current staff members and hired four new staff members to serve as residential learning coordinators.

The changes will help support the commitment set forth by Virginia Tech’s Department of Residence Life to connect with every student who resides on campus. Its goal is to strengthen the focus on learning and community in the residence halls to provide support and development for students outside of the classroom.

These coordinators will be responsible for creating community in the residence halls and reaching out to each resident within their areas. They will also reside within the halls, facilitating interaction and providing residents greater access and increased connection to these staff members.

“These coordinators are tasked with more than an 8 to 5 job,” said Leon McClinton, director of Residence Life. “Their focus is to connect with and support residents throughout their time on campus. This means having meals with students and identifying different ways to actively engage with students, often outside of typical office hours.”

Residence Life’s new focus on development outside of the classroom has attracted a diverse group of highly qualified candidates from across the country through a national search. The four new residential learning coordinators are April Aldeen, Jason Johnson, Jennifer Martin, and Damian Waite.

“Virginia Tech’s dedication to student learning, exemplified through the creation of various living-learning communities, was an important factor in my decision to come here,” said April Aldeen, one of the new hires. “I left my campus interview in Blacksburg knowing that Virginia Tech is an institution dedicated not only to academic excellence but, also, holistic student development.”

Aldeen will serve as the residential learning coordinator for Newman Hall and Miles Hall. Aldeen received her master of arts in higher education administration from Vanderbilt University, and is a graduate of Berea College with a bachelor of arts in religious studies and sociology. For the last two years she has served as the head resident and graduate hall coordinator in The Commons, a first-year community with extensive faculty involvement at Vanderbilt.

Johnson will oversee Hillcrest Hall, Main and East Campbell Hall, and Main and West Eggleston Halls. Johnson recently completed his master’s degree in education from the University of Vermont, where he also earned a bachelor of arts in chemistry. He has worked with their Department of Residential Life for over a decade as a student and a professional, including roles as the office manager and housing assignments coordinator.

Martin will be responsible for the residents of East and West Ambler Johnston Halls. Martin completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia and her master’s degree in higher education from the University of Georgia. She served as a hall director at Georgia Tech.

Waite will serve as the residential learning coordinator for Vawter Hall and Barringer Hall. Waite recently received his masters degree in social work at Boston College. He previously earned a master’s of public affairs from Hamline University and a bachelor of science in marketing from Northwestern College. He is a native of Jamaica and brings a solid orientation foundation in social justice and service to Residence Life and Virginia Tech.

Four new staff members will join the eight existing staff members who have transitioned to the residential learning coordinator role. The staff members who have transitioned to residential learning coordinators are: Devin Dausin, Liz Ellis, Jess Evans, Katie Greenleaf, Jen Milburn, Aaron Stoller, Donald Walker, and Jeff Yacup.

The Division of Student Affairs at Virginia Tech encompasses departments dedicated to providing a rich co-curricular experience and essential student services. Virtually every aspect of a student's life outside the classroom is represented through the division's departments.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 225 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $496 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.