By Troy Osenkarski, B.A. in English Language and Literature Student
Five Questions is a regular feature in which we interview a College of Online and Continuing Education staff member. In this issue we talked with Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Business Jen Varney.
You used to be a student adviser. How does that perspective help when working with faculty?
I apply many of the same principles and actions when working with faculty as I did when working with students. For example, proactive advising is used to anticipate student concerns and/or roadblocks and reach out to them with support or remediation before the problems occur. I use a very similar strategy with faculty in being proactive and ensuring that they have whatever they need in order to best work with students and help them succeed.
What do you enjoy most about working at SNHU?
Being able to make a difference and help students succeed, the ability to use my skills and talents in different parts of the organization, and the support for professional and educational development. I also really enjoy collaborating with my co-workers and coming up with new and innovative ways to help our faculty and students become successful.
What do you consider the keys to student success?
Remembering that one size does not fit all students: We must ensure that the school environment is well equipped to help students succeed, yet flexible enough to support the varying needs of our students. Anyone in a student-facing position must be equipped with tools and information to help them determine where a student is in his/her educational journey and how to help students get to the next step. Finally, the entire SNHU team must work together in support of students. There is no part of SNHU that does not influence student success.
What accomplishment outside of work are you most proud of?
I wrote a chapter on proactive advising for an academic advising textbook: “Academic Advising Approaches: Strategies that teach students to make the most of college (13th edition).”
What about you would surprise people?
I am a four-season trip leader for the Appalachian Mountain Club and lead hikes and multi-day backpacking trips throughout the year. I actually had to rescue a participant on one of my hikes. She collapsed on the summit of the mountain and I had to drag her (wrapped in a sleeping bag) down the mountain. She was OK but the sleeping bag was not!