New Jersey City University Announces New Leadership in Division of Student Development and Community Engagement (2024)

JERSEY CITY, N.J. |New Jersey City University (NJCU) has announced new leadership in its Division of Student Development and Community Engagement. Following an extensive search, Erin J. McCann has been appointed as the university’s next Vice President for Student Development and Community Engagement while Dr. Joy L. Smithhas been selected as the inaugural Associate Vice President for Student Persistence. Both administrators will return to the university after previous tenures serving the NJCU community earlier in their higher education careers.

A lifelong Jersey City native, McCann will return to NJCU after serving as the Vice President of Student Life and Development and the University Title IX Coordinator at Saint Peter’s University since August 2019.

Smith has served in leadership roles at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, N.J. since September 2016 — most recently as Associate Provost for Student Support and Services beginning in August 2022.

“I am pleased to welcome Erinand Joy home to New Jersey City University to lead ourrecently reimaginedDivision of Student Development and Community Engagement,” said Interim PresidentAndrés Acebo. “As our university continues to focus with steadfast purpose on its refreshed mission to center and uplift our students, I am confident they will drive significant leadership to our student success goalsand our student persistence initiatives as outlined in our Academic Master Plan and Strategic Enrollment Plan. I am especially grateful that two servant leaders whose careers previously brought them to NJCU believe so wholeheartedly in the important work we are doing that they are driven to rejoin our community. Each of their unique academic journeys will strengthen the innovative work we are doing on behalf of our extraordinary students alongside our compassionate faculty and staff. I look forward to their commitment, contributions, and counsel as we pave new paths at NJCU."

NJCU transformed the former Division of Student Affairs into the Division of Student Development and Community Engagement in November 2023 with four key pillars: a student-centric approach, expanded support services, community engagement, and a cultural shift to cultivate a community culture in every aspect of university life. The reshaped division continues to prioritize the holistic development and success of its students, and offers new initiatives to address the diverse needs of NJCU’s student body, including social services and mental health support. The division’s mission is toprovide comprehensive support and opportunities for the holistic development of students, ensuring they graduate as well-rounded individuals with the skills, knowledge, and resilience to succeed after graduating from NJCU.

"I am ecstatic to be returning to NJCU as the Vice President of Student Development and Community Engagement,” said McCann.“The moment I stepped back on campus this spring to discuss this opportunity, I felt like I was returning home. The NJCU community is special, as are the students we are privileged to serve every day. I am so humbled to have this opportunity to lead this division and the chance to engage and support the students and our community."

McCann, who will assume leadership of the division on July 29, has served as Saint Peter’s chief student affairs officer with oversight of programs, facilities, budget and personnel for Student Life and Development and its member departments. There, she had oversight of the Dean of Students, Student Activities, Recreational Life Center, Residence Life, Counseling, Health Services, Dining Services, Campus Safety, Conferencing and External Events, and NCAA Division I Athletics program and was a member of the Cabinet and Executive Leadership Team.

Most notably, McCannled the University's COVID-19 response — including authoring Saint Peter’s COVID Reopening Plan — managed the construction and opening of Panepinto Hall (a new six-story residence hall), and oversaw the athletics department during its history-making Elite Eight run in 2022.

McCann also assisted in obtaining over $750,000 in grant awards and orchestrated multiple large contracts including pouring rights, dining, student health, and sports medicine. She had direct supervision of 10 senior level professional staff members and overall supervision of approximately 100 professional and support staff, 150+ student employees and 125 third party contract employees.

McCann returns to NJCU where she served from 2011-18 as the Associate Dean of Campus Life, Judicial and Academic Standards, and the Chief Title IX investigator.

In total, McCann has more than 20 years of experience in higher education in the areas of emergency response, crisis management, student conduct, academic standards, Title IX, athletics, disability services, capital project management, budgeting, supervision, community partnerships, and all areas of student development.

She previously held leadership positions as Dean of Student Development Online at Berkeley College (2009-11) and Assistant Director of Student Life at Stevens Institute of Technology (2006-09), with prior roles at Rutgers University (2005-06), Gibbs College (2003-05), and Hudson County Community College (1999-2003).

McCann was raised in the Greenville section of Jersey City and has deep roots in the community. She holds a B.A. in English and a minor in History from Plymouth State University and an M.Ed in Instructional Technology from American Intercontinental University. She currently resides in Maywood, N.J. with her fiance, Mark, and their three dogs.

New Jersey City University Announces New Leadership in Division of Student Development and Community Engagement (1)

The new Associate Vice President for Student Persistence role was created to drive many of the goals announced in the university’s first Academic Master Planunveiled in February 2024, and concurrentStrategic Enrollment Plan released in April, 2024. The role will be responsible for leading and enhancing the university's efforts to promote student retention, persistence, and success, including tailored support and specialized individual assistance. In this role, Smith will design and implement strategic initiatives aimed at improving student engagement, academic success, and overall college experience. Collaborating with the Division of Academic Affairs, Smith will utilize data-driven approaches to identify and address challenges, which ultimately will foster student achievement and increase graduation rates. She will rejoin the university community on August 1.

“I am super excited to come home,” Smith exclaimed. “My (full-time) career in higher education began at NJCU in 2006, as an OSP/EOF Counselor. I had the privilege of working with some of the best students, colleagues, mentors and leaders in education here; this is where my passion was solidified. As the Associate VP for Persistence, I have the opportunity to give back to a community that means so much to me. My goal is simple: to assist the university in dismantling any barriers that prevent students from achieving their academic, professional, and personal goals. Thank you, NJCU, for welcoming me back."

As Associate Provost for Student Support and Services and Chief Diversity Officer at Georgian Court, Smithcurrently oversees the campus’ EOF, TRIO-SSS, Global Education, Career Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, Health Services, Student Life and Student Success and Retention offices. As part of her leadership roles, she convenes GCU’s Student Support and Services Leadership & Retention teams to maximize student development, success, and retention. She also administers the student code of conduct process as the Chief Judicial Officer and Title IX Coordinator and collaborates with the Dean of Students in developing and reviewing student policies and procedures.

Smith also has served as GCU’s Chief Diversity Officer for Student Affairs since January 2021 as the institution’s chief administrator for diversity, equity, and inclusion for all units in Academic and Student Affairs and as an advisor to the President’s Cabinet. She previously was Director of the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Program from 2016-2023.

Prior to her tenure at Georgian Court, Smith was the director of the Educational Opportunity Fund Program at Hudson County Community College from 2014-16 and Assistant Dean for Retention and Assessment at the Rutgers-Newark Business School(2012-14).

She spent six years at NJCU (April 2006 to September 2012) as aProgram Counselor in the Opportunity Scholarship Program (EOF).

Smith has also held roles with New Jersey SEEDS as Associate Director of Admissions and the Summer Challenge Program (2005-06) and as a Retention Counselor in the Syracuse University Office of Multicultural Affairs (2003-05).

She is a member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administration (NASPA), National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE), Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), Educational Opportunity Fund Professional Association of New Jersey (EOFPANJ), and Tri-State Consortium of Opportunity Programs, holding various leadership roles CIC, EOFPANJ, and the Tri-State Consortium.

Smith is a current adjunct professor at Georgian Court and a part-time lecturer at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education since 2018 where she teaches courses in Race, Ethnicity and Inequality in Education, Urban Education, Education and Society and Intro to Education.

She holds a B.A. from Syracuse with a double major in Psychology and African American Studies, an M.S. in Cultural Foundations of Education from Syracuse, and an Ed.D. in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education from Rutgers University. Smith resides in Fords, N.J.

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07/09/2024

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NJCU announces new leadership in Division of Student Development and Community Engagement

About NJCU:
New Jersey City University is a comprehensive public regional institution of higher learning located in Jersey City, N.J., dedicated to the development of our students, our city, our communities, and our state. We are a game-changing force for our students and have been recognized as one of the top colleges in the nation improving their upward economic mobility. In fact, NJCU has been ranked No. 1 in New Jersey and Top 10 in the nation in the CollegeNET Social Mobility Index for 2023. Whether enrolled in one of our undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral programs at our three locations, NJCU students have access to an affordable, diverse environment, and an exceptionally supportive faculty. This prepares them to go on to become the next generation of workers and leaders who improve their communities and the State of New Jersey.

www.NJCU.edu

Contact:
Ira Thor, Associate Vice President for University Communications | ithor@njcu.edu | 201-200-3301

New Jersey City University Announces New Leadership in Division of Student Development and Community Engagement (2024)
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