August 18, 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.”

UMW Goes Online for New Student Orientation

Thirty student orientation leaders, along with Mary Washington faculty and staff, will shepherd first-years and transfer students through UMW’s first-ever virtual orientation.

Thirty student orientation leaders, along with Mary Washington faculty and staff, will shepherd first-years and transfer students through UMW’s first-ever virtual orientation.

When Shannon Hardy misplaced her bookbag at her UMW orientation, it felt like a disaster. But the help and reassurance she got from her orientation leaders reinforced that she made the right college choice.

“That’s just how Mary Wash is,” said Hardy, a rising junior. “Everyone here wants you to succeed and gives you the tools to make that happen. I want every new student to feel the sense of belonging that I’ve felt since that day.”

Hardy’s among the 30 student orientation leaders who will shepherd hundreds of new Eagles through the University of Mary Washington’s 2020 orientation. Unlike her own orientation, though, she is connecting with incoming students via a computer screen.

Freshman orientation, pandemic style. Like other universities, UMW has had to shift from its traditional model of having new students experience life on campus to exploring their new home via Zoom. Today marks the first of nine one-day virtual sessions geared toward freshmen, while transfers had their pick of three events that began earlier this summer.

But that’s only the beginning – a series of online engagements with UMW faculty, staff and current students will guide incoming students throughout the summer and prepare them to step onto campus in the fall. Read more.

UMW Goes Online for New Student Orientation

When Shannon Hardy misplaced her bookbag at her UMW orientation, it felt like a disaster. But the help and reassurance she got from her orientation leaders reinforced that she made the right college choice. “That’s just how Mary Wash is,” said Hardy, a rising junior. “Everyone here wants you to succeed and gives you the […]

Melissa Jones Named Excellent Eagle Employee for June

Staff Advisory Council is pleased to recognize Melissa Jones as the Excellent Eagle Employee for June. The award for this honor is a designated parking space for the month.

In nominating Melissa, her champion wrote:

[Melissa] is the Assistant Dean of Student Involvement and I believe she’s brought nothing but great things to our campus since she was hired. She’s brought fresh ideas and a great attitude to anyone she’s come in contact with. She has taken on the leadership of three departments since her arrival: the James Farmer Multicultural Center, the Fitness/Wellness Center and the Office of Student Activities and Engagement. She has also been bestowed with the great responsibility of running the New Student Experience/Orientation, as well as advising the Student Finance Committee, and overseeing the construction and planning of our new University Center. There are countless other responsibilities on her plate, I’m sure, but her excellence has been shining through in these particular areas. I really admire her, her work ethic, and her spark.

Congratulate Melissa when you see her, and remember to send nominations for Excellent Eagle Employee to Excellent Eagle Employee nomination.

New Assistant Dean for Student Involvement

Melissa Jones

Melissa Jones

On June 10, Melissa L. Jones began her tenure with UMW as assistant dean for student involvement. Jones will have oversight for the Orientation program and will supervise the offices of Campus Recreation, James Farmer Multicultural Center, and Student Activities and Engagement.

Jones was formerly with Virginia Commonwealth University in various positions including associate director of residence education and associate director with the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity.  She received her master of education in counseling psychology with an emphasis in college student personnel administration from James Madison University and her master of education in social foundations of education and bachelor of arts in history, English, with a minor in African-American studies from the University of Virginia.

The Assistant Dean’s office is currently located in the Student Activities and Engagement suite in Seacobeck Hall. Those offices will move to the new University Center once it opens in 2015.

Please join the Division of Student Affairs in welcoming Melissa to the UMW community.