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Dean of Students Jeanne Hart-Steffes Continues Helping College Students After Almost 30 Years

By Emily McGuinness '20 WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2019 - 12:00 PM WNE100

The current Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Jeanne Hart-Steffes, has been a part of the Western New England staff for ten years, and still feels like each day is her first working on campus.

Jeanne graduated from Marquette University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, with a minor in coaching. Later, she obtained her Master’s degree in higher education and sports management from Ohio State University. Finally, she received her Doctorate Degree in Higher Education Administration and Policy from the University of Maryland College Park.

Throughout her impressive academic career, Jeanne was involved in numerous activities as a student. She was the Campus Recreation Chair, part of the campus Ministry, and helped coordinate Senior Week, and the all-campus block party. Jeanne also loved to tap into her competitive side through intramural sports.

Hart-Steffes also had time to plan and take part in famous campus traditions at her school as well. Her favorites were the traditional block party, the Turkey Trot Run for Thanksgiving, and the Wednesday evening Mass in the St. Joan of Arc chapel.

“I liked planning and attending large events that brought people to campus to enjoy the school and each other’s company” she said.

Jeanne’s accomplishments don’t end there, however. She served two full terms, in 2004 and 2006, as the President of the American College Personnel Association; the largest student affairs organization in the world at that time with 11,000 members.

As part of her convention tasks, Hart-Steffes had the pleasure of meeting and introducing Al Gore, Mitch Albom, and Dr. Brené Brown.

“I had so much fun working with entry through senior level staff” she commented.

The first job Jeanne worked after her graduation was as a Residence Hall Director at Cornell University. She has more than 30 years of experience working with college students and previously held the position as the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at Syracuse University.

Hart-Steffes was also the Founding Director of a learning program at the University of Maryland called Beyond the Classroom Living and Learning Program.

Later, the job description of her current position was sent to her by a former Western New England Board of Trustees member and she found her fit.

As the Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Jeanne’s position entails a large variety of tasks and responsibilities. She supports students in learning and living on campus by creating a safe and welcoming environment, and teaches the campus community how to celebrate the differences amongst its members.

Jeanne has always been enthusiastic and excited about helping university students and being involved with them. When asked to be a part of this project, she responded with no hesitation, “I’m in!”

The campus life would just not be the same without someone like Jeanne Hart-Steffes in the role as Dean of Students. She is a familiar face all around campus and is even personally known for walking her dogs around whenever she can.

“Each day gives me a new start here to try and help someone, and make the world a little better” she said.

Jeanne Hart-Steffes encompasses the student life and community goals of Western New England University in her role, and has for the past ten years. She truly makes this University feel that much more like home, and her strong passion to do just that is what keeps her going.