October 1, 2022

Fleming, Jones Tapped to Advance Student Experience

Two University of Mary Washington administrators dedicated to the student experience – Associate Dean for Student Involvement Melissa Jones and Assistant Dean for Residence Life and Housing Dave Fleming – begin this 2022-23 academic year in new roles.

Dave Fleming and Melissa Jones

Dave Fleming and Melissa Jones

Jones has been named dean of students and associate vice president of student affairs. Fleming has been named dean of residence life and housing and serves as assistant vice president for student affairs. Both will be working in crucial campus roles held for decades by Cedric Rucker who retired this summer.

In their new positions, Jones who came to UMW in 2014 as assistant dean for student involvement, and Fleming who arrived in 2015 as associate director of residence life, will continue to enhance the campus experience, in what they call UMW’s, “conversational” approach to student engagement.

“I love watching them apply the skills they’re learning in class, through their involvement in clubs and throughout college,” Jones said. “We try to make sure Mary Wash students have a seat at the table, become engaged and get involved.”

Assistant Dean of Student Involvement Melissa Jones thrives on her role helping new college students find their way.

As Assistant Dean of Student Involvement Melissa Jones thrived on her role helping new college students find their way.

Promoted to associate dean in 2017, Jones has led UMW’s Student Involvement team, overseeing Orientation, Campus Rec and Student Activities and Engagement, fostering a peer mentorship program and highlighting the importance of student collaboration.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and English, with a minor in African American studies, and a master’s degree in social foundations of education from the University of Virginia. She also earned a master’s in counseling psychology with a concentration in college student personnel administration from James Madison University.

Having been in higher education since 1999, Jones worked in residence life and housing, student conduct and academic integrity, and residence education at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). She also worked in residence life at the University of Richmond. She has taught courses and held roles in student conduct, Title IX, crisis management, career services, student leadership development, and in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Promoted to assistant dean for residence life and housing in 2017, Fleming has led critical areas such as residence hall strategic planning, budget management, program development and assessment, and staff development and supervision. He’s been a leader in crisis management, assuring after-hours emergency response and adherence to protocols, all with a focus on students.

Dave Fleming on move-in day in 2017

Dave Fleming on move-in day in 2017.

Most recently, he’s served as co-chair of the University’s Public Health Advisory Working Group throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve been able to move the University through, while minimizing the impact on students and making sure they’re having as good an experience as possible,” he said.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with a minor in business administration, from Salisbury University in Maryland and a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology from the University of New Haven in Connecticut. He has worked in higher education since 2006, holding various positions in residence life at Salisbury University and at VCU.

In his new role as dean, he’ll continue to lead the charge to optimize residential life for UMW students, and as assistant vice president for student affairs, he’ll also oversee the area of student conduct and responsibility.

Together, Jones said, she and Fleming will strive to maintain the feeling she found her first day at UMW. It’s a goal they’ve shared on and off campus, as Jones and Fleming married in 2015.

“I remember coming to the conclusion that this really feels like home and hoping that’s what it feels like for our students,” she said. “Eight years later, I know that’s what it feels like for our students.”