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Jason Seward '05 named College's New Dean of Freshmen
By Stephanie Smaglo | August 7, 2013
For many young students, beginning freshman year of college can seem a bit overwhelming. Leaving home, meeting new friends, forming good study habits, and discovering valuable campus resources are all part of the transitional experience. To help students integrate into their new lives at the College, Virginia Wesleyan recently appointed Jason Seward ’05 as Dean of Freshmen.
Seward is no stranger to VWC, having first set foot on campus in spring 2001. Then a high school senior, the Cambridge, Maryland native visited the College for an open house event and immediately fell in love with its small size and close-knit atmosphere.
“I loved the community feeling,” he says. “And the ability to interact with faculty outside of the classroom.”
As a student, Seward studied Recreation and Leisure Studies and was a member of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. He also enjoyed getting to know the VWC staff by working with Residence Life and serving as building supervisor for the Jane P. Batten Student Center. Following graduation, he accepted a position as VWC’s Director of Recreational Sports and Outdoor Activities and Assistant Director of the Batten Center.
“From day one, I contributed a lot to Virginia Wesleyan and in return it has given me so much,” he says. “As a student, I was exposed to the field of higher education through my work in the student center and as a resident assistant, so when I graduated, I felt a calling to work in that area.”
Seward was named Dean of Freshmen this summer, a position that begins with the 2013-2014 academic year. In his new role, he will help address students’ individual transitional needs, connect them to valuable resources and opportunities, and cultivate an understanding of the College’s history and traditions.
The position is a new one at Virginia Wesleyan, developed in response to freshman and sophomore retention rates, a continuous factor affecting many institutions.
“To suddenly be away from home and to be ultimately responsible for your own success can be a shock to the system for anyone,” says Seward. “We want to make sure VWC has support systems in place to help students work through those road blocks when they come to them.”
Seward is implementing new programs and activities for incoming students to help provide them with the support they need, including weekly and bi-weekly meetings covering topics such as study skills, time management, on-campus resources and the importance of student/faculty communication; assistance helping students find clubs, organizations, or on-campus jobs that are compatible with their interests; and continuing orientation events that will inform, educate, and/or entertain new students.
“One of my goals is to get to know every first-year student that comes through our door,” he says. “This is a very exciting time for these young adults. It’s a time that will define who they are as they move forward through life and through their careers. It takes a lot of hard work and commitment, but it’s something that will change their lives forever if they approach it with an open mind and the belief that they can succeed. And they will succeed.”
Jason Seward graduated from Virginia Wesleyan in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies. In 2013, he earned a master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from Regent University. In addition to his role as Dean of Freshmen, he serves as the College’s Director of the Jane P. Batten Student Center. For more information, visit the Dean of Freshmen webpage.