Dean of students recognized for contributions to student affairs profession

Jody Donovan, Colorado State University assistant vice president for student affairs and dean of students, has been selected as a Pillar of the Profession by the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) and the NASPA Foundation in recognition of her many years of outstanding teaching, research and service to the profession.

photo of Donovan
Jody Donovan

Donovan has been active in the student affairs profession since 1987. She came to CSU more than 18 years ago and held various roles in the Division of Student Affairs before being named to her current role of dean of students in 2011, followed by the addition of the assistant vice president for student affairs title in 2013. She earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership in 2006 from the University of Northern Colorado. Donovan also teaches in CSU’s Student Affairs in Higher Education program in the Division of Student Affairs and School of Education.

Donovan was nominated by Blanche Hughes, CSU vice president for student affairs.

Teaching excellence

Dave McKelfresh, program chair of the CSU SAHE program, wrote in Donovan’s nomination that she is well-known as an outstanding teacher, including teaching internationally in places such as Hong Kong and Dubai. She also helped develop the online SAHE certificate and master’s programs, as well as the free online course “Exploring the Student Affairs in Higher Education Profession” conducted in partnership with NASPA. In addition, Donovan is recognized for her scholarly publications, and is sought after nationally for presentations and consultation.

“I have been involved with our SAHE graduate program for over 30 years and know of no other faculty member who has had the broad-ranging impact that Jody Donovan has had. She is an outstanding faculty member every day on our campus, in the region, and on a national level,” wrote McKelfresh.

“Jody is the most extraordinary teacher I have ever had the privilege of learning with and from, a sentiment with which I am certain the hundreds, if not thousands, of other students she has taught over the past 18 years would agree,” Donovan’s former student Maria Marinucci wrote in nomination materials. “Jody does not only convey material in her courses, she brings the material to life and gives her students practical applications for each topic. She makes students her priority, holding one-on-ones with those in her class and keeping her door open whenever they may be struggling, responding with incredible compassion.”

‘True role model’

“Jody is a true role model and mentor who sets the bar high, and inspires all those she meets to rise to it because we all want to be a little more like her,” Marinucci continued. “Just as I am a stronger, more compassionate, and more well-rounded professional for having crossed paths with Jody, the field is infinitely better because she is in it.”

The NASPA Foundation recognizes Pillars of the Profession to serve two purposes: to pay tribute to a select group of people who have provided stellar leadership and service to the student affairs profession, and to honor these individuals with gifts to the NASPA Foundation. The NASPA Foundation supports future student affairs leaders and invests in research to further our knowledge about students, our educational institutions and the critical impact student affairs has on student success.

Donations to the NASPA Foundation in Donovan’s honor can be made online.

Donovan will be recognized as a Pillar of the Profession at NASPA’s 96th Annual National Conference in Indianapolis in March.