VPUG Candidate Profile: Jessica Waters
Jessica Waters, an associate dean of the School of Public Affairs and faculty member of the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology held her VPUG town hall on Feb. 22 where she expressed a need for transparency and improved faculty training.
Waters received her undergraduate degree from the University and continued on to receive her justice degree from the Washington College of Law, where she served as an adjunct professor before becoming part of full-time undergraduate faculty. As Associate Dean, she has worked on multiple projects to meet the needs of SPA students, including establishing a travel fund for unpaid internship opportunities.
“I have tried to say to the students throughout the process, if you have questions, if you have concerns, come see me, and I will address them directly, and every student who has come to see me, that is exactly what I have done, and that is how I would act as Vice Provost,” Waters said.
Waters strongly addressed the current expansion of the University and resource allocation in order to provide the necessary support to students, citing the Counseling Center having a waitlist as an example of a resource that needs more funding to meet the needs of the student body.
“I can tell you the things that are important to me and I can tell you the things I would advocate for,” said Waters. “I can’t promise you that I would always win, but I can tell you I would fight.”
Waters also stressed that better faculty training could solve several issues related to trigger warnings in classrooms, technology illiteracy and the incorporation of more diversity in subject matter. By doing so, she hopes to have more constructive debates in the classroom.
Other topics Waters covered included not mandating a university-wide grading policy but rather mandating each professor publish on class syllabi, improving Living Learning Communities, and supporting the new General Education program currently in development.
“Change is scary, and change is hard," she said. "The way that you navigate that is through open communication and transparency and doing what you say you’re going to do.”
Overall, Waters would continue her current style of leadership as an Associate Dean to improve the office of VPUG and the University as a whole.
“The chance to think of creative solutions to the actual problems facing students…and the chance to do some of that on a much larger scale, that excites me.”