Jen Walsh, Ithaca College Student Leadership and Involvement program coordinator, has accepted a new position as the director of student engagement and leadership at Beloit College in Beloit, Wis. She has been a part of the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs staff since January 2010. She said she accepted the new position to challenge herself and to live closer to family in the Midwest.
In addition to being the senior class adviser, Walsh works with other programs, such as the Student Leadership Institute, the Business and Organizational Leadership Development Conference and the Leadership Weekend Retreat.
Walsh’s last day at the college is Dec. 21, and there are currently no candidates to replace her as leadership program coordinator.
Staff Writer Sage Daugherty spoke with Walsh about her current role at the college and her plans for the future.
Sage Daugherty: Why did you come to Ithaca College?
Jen Walsh: I moved to Ithaca with my now husband [Pat Walsh], who found a job as a residence director. We both moved to Ithaca from Illinois but moved because we love Ithaca, which makes it bittersweet that I’m actually leaving. I started the job in January 2010 and then transitioned into my current role, leadership program coordinator, in August 2010.
SD: What are some of your favorite moments at the college?
JW: My favorite moments are when I get to see programs in action, when you get to see the efforts and the hours of preparation and planning come to fruition and that the students are getting a good experience out of it. Some of the best moments are probably advising the senior class, and my favorite moments are usually during senior week, specifically the splash event when people jump into the fountain. That’s such a rewarding experience for me as an educator and also for the students, as that’s kind of a symbolic transition into their next step. And then even the fireworks at the end of senior week is kind of a traditional symbolic moment, where the families are all there, and you get to see everything that you do to help the students grow and succeed, pays off at that point.
SD: Why are you leaving the college?
JW: I had an incredible opportunity come up. I’ve been offered a position of being director of student engagement and leadership at Beloit College which is in Beloit, Wis. It’s a very small college, about 1,200 students, but I see it as a challenge for myself and a step up for me but also an opportunity to get closer to family, so it’s completely bittersweet. I’m not trying to leave Ithaca, I mean, I love Ithaca a lot, and I plan to visit as much as possible, but I am excited about this new opportunity.
SD: What are your future plans?
JW: I think at some point we will settle down, my husband and I and my dog, and start a family of our own. I don’t know when that will be, but at some point we would like to do that. I’m hoping that my husband will also get a job in the area we’ll be living in, but I don’t know. I’m always a funny person when it comes to the five-year plan question, because I think life happens, and this is a perfect example of life happening. I did not expect to get this offer, and I did not expect to go where I’m going, but that’s life right? And life kind of happens, and you roll with it, so I imagine, even if I told you exactly what my plans were for the next year or five years, I am positive someone would throw a wrench in that, and it’d go a different direction, but that’s just how life goes.