Jessica Black is the new director of DVM student success within the Office of Academic Affairs at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine

With a wealth of experience in higher education and a passion for supporting students, Black brings a unique set of skills to her new role.

In her position, Black will work closely with students to ensure their holistic wellness and academic success. She will oversee the Peer Mentor program, guide student organizations, and collaborate with corporate partners. With a bachelor's and master's degree in psychology from Purdue University and the Indiana Institute of Technology, respectively, she is well-equipped to understand the needs of students and provide them with the necessary support.

"What I've learned from working with students for a long time is that successful students are the ones who don't give up, and they ask for help. Because it's completely normal to need help along the way and not to be able to answer all of the questions and do all the things without guidance. I mean, that's why we're in school. That's why we're in education," said Black.

Having worked in higher education for a decade in various roles, including student success, academic support, advising, and disability services, Black has developed a deep understanding of the challenges of creating a supportive environment where students feel comfortable seeking assistance without judgment or stigma.

"Often, students struggle with asking for help because they don't want to be seen in a way that makes them feel weak or that they don't know. Nobody likes feeling like they don't know what's going on. So that can be challenging. So, my goal is to help students proactively but also, when I meet with them, to let them know that there's no judgment and that this is an opportunity for growth, and then I'm here with them.‘’

Black's arrival at the veterinary college follows her previous role as the associate director of enrollment management and student success in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech. Her professional memberships include the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), highlighting her dedication to professional development and staying abreast of the latest trends in student success.

"I'm looking forward to having an opportunity for direct interaction, workshops, and opportunities for skill building. I enjoy teaching one-on-one with a student or in a workshop environment. I also like the holistic wellness approach, so being able to partner with and pull in different resources to provide a holistic approach for student success is great,” said Black

"I love helping students realize their potential, helping them reach their goals, and being a small part of that journey. And I always say if I'm doing my job, well, they don't need me forever. So, it's bittersweet, but my favorite part is just to help coming alongside for a little bit being there in different capacities along the way."

Written by Sarah Boudreau M.F.A. '21, a writer with the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.


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