Stephanie Jones describes becoming a university’s dean of students as her “lifelong goal.” She will achieve her goal on August 2 when she assumes that critical leadership role at Neumann.
A veteran administrator with more than ten years of experience in student affairs, Jones sees a whole new set of post-pandemic challenges ahead. Her priority, she explains, is to re-engage students who have experienced uncommon isolation, anxiety, and stress during the last 16 months.
She wants to re-integrate them to a campus life that is social, enjoyable, and active. This focus meshes perfectly with the responsibilities outlined in her position description, “to provide leadership in the administration of key service and educational functions related to student care, wellness, and community standards.”
“The pandemic has shown us that student needs are changing and evolving,” she says. “Students are returning with a whole list of stressors that they have endured. From a mental health standpoint, we need to make sure that we have all of the resources available to provide support.”
Her view is supported by a recent study cited in The Chronicle of Higher Education. In an article subtitled An Epidemic of Anguish, the Chronicle referenced a fall 2020 survey of 13,000 college students by the American College Health Association, in which about one in five screened positive for suicidal behavior.
As dean of students, Jones also administers the student conduct process and hopes to build community standards around the concept of restorative justice. She recently completed an eight-week course in this contemporary, Christian theory of justice through the American College Personnel Association.
According to Jones, “Creating restorative justice circles helps to rebuild community and facilitate healing by creating conversations around important topics. The process gives students the opportunity to learn how their actions may have affected others.”
“This approach fits well with our Franciscan tradition and RISES values,” she explains.
Jones has been at Neumann since December of 2020 as a specialist for student conduct and community standards. She has also worked in student affairs at Penn State’s Brandywine campus from 2014-17 and Lehigh Valley campus from 2007-14.
In her role as dean of students and Title IX co-coordinator, she will supervise the Counseling Center for Wellness, student health services, community standards and student conduct, wellness/health education, and new student orientation.
“Since her arrival at Neumann, Stephanie has been a wonderful colleague,” says Dr. Christopher Haug, vice president for student affairs. “I am certain the Neumann community will find her to be a great partner, with a sharp skill set, strong leadership acumen, and an ability to connect with students, faculty, and staff alike.”
Jones enjoys working with college students. “Being a part of students’ development at a critical time in their life is the most rewarding aspect of being involved in student affairs. Helping students identify their leadership styles and figure out what they’re passionate about has always been fulfilling for me.”
Jones holds a BA in Crime, Law, and Justice and a master’s degree in Education: Training and Development, both from Penn State. She lives in Swedesboro, NJ, with her husband Bradford and children Benjamín (4), Fitzgerald (2), and Josephine (born July 19, 2021).