The Institute is the only New England college named to the Most Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs list by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine
During new-student orientation sessions, Dean of Student Services Dr. Jack Gormley always stresses the importance of the MGH Institute being a school that is inclusive and supportive in every sense of the words.
It’s a message that’s not exclusively for students.
“The things we want for the student experience is same for staff and faculty – feeling safe, welcome, and supported in all we do,” said Gormley. “We’re always looking to find new ways to support each other and build community across the campus.”
The efforts of the Office of Student Affairs and Services (OSAS) have been recognized by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine and ACPA – College Student Educators International, as the Institute was one of just 27 colleges and universities – and the only one in New England – named to this year’s prestigious list of Most Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs.
The award celebrates student affairs workplaces that are vibrant, diverse, supportive, and committed to staff work-life balance, professional development, and inclusive excellence. For Gormley, that has meant implementing several changes since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020, such as his staff working half their week from home and promoting teamwork and collaboration within OSAS.
“It recognizes a culture of flexibility, whether it's for people to take care of their own health or take care of their children and their families, and so much more," said Gormley, who traveled to New Orleans to accept the award at the ACPA's annual meeting. "We’re committed to finding ways we can do our jobs really well and avoid burning out because if we do burn out, we can’t be effective for anyone.”
OSAS staff members are Luella Benn, Director of Accessibility Resources and Wellness; Ronan Campbell, Assistant to the Dean; Emily “M” Meyer, Accessibility and Wellness Coordinator; Nada Jovanovic, Writing Center Director; and Jessica Upton, Center for Career and Professional Development Manager.
"We're thrilled to see the Institute recognized for excellence in student affairs,” said President Paula Milone-Nuzzo. “OSAS and everyone involved in supporting students should be proud of this award and proud of the teamwork and dedication to an inclusive, respectful environment that it represents.”
Gormley noted that his team’s work involves collaborating with myriad academic programs and other IHP teams frequently to tie everything together for students. That means working with Campus Services, Human Resources, Information Technology, and the Office of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) to name just a few.
“For the Institute to be recognized this way signals that we are living out our commitment to student success, to student wellness, and to our shared JEDI values in exciting ways that intentionally support the staff and faculty experience as well as students,” he said.
He added that the OSAS team has been essential to launching the IHP Wellness Council, community pantry, and Mental Health First Aid certification courses in recent years. Additionally, they have worked closely with student leaders and developed new workshops and resources to meet the changing needs of the entire IHP community.
“So many people have stepped up and helped ensure our students are getting the services and the resources that they need to successfully complete their programs,” Gormley said. “It speaks to the Institute’s culture of collaboration because no single department can make the kinds of changes that have been made in the past few years, so it’s about empowering our staff and our students in new ways and acknowledging that the past three years have presented unprecedented challenges and opportunities for us all.”
Even with all that the OSAS team has done, Gormley noted they will not rest on their laurels.
“Now that we're trying to put Covid in the rearview mirror, we need to combine the traditional supports with these new approaches to maintain this culture of flexibility, gratitude, and collaboration, especially to maximize the time we’re together on campus because there is no substitute for in-person events to let our students see and feel the powerful support of this very special community,” he said. “We welcome the challenges and fully embrace the connection between belonging and success, whether it be for students, staff, or faculty. And we’re not done yet.”