Jennifer Toof recently joined the Penn State World Campus team as assistant director of Student Affairs. We chatted with her to learn more about her role and how she will help support students.
Tell us about your background.
I have worked in Student Affairs for eight years. Prior to joining World Campus, I was involved in Residence Life as an area coordinator at a small liberal arts college in New Hampshire, and the past four years as a Residence Life/Student Activities coordinator at Penn State Beaver. Many of my past responsibilities have included community building, leadership development, and crisis management.
This is a newly created position, so can you share the vision for this role?
Some of my main duties will be providing frontline support to help students manage conflict, while I support them through advocacy, outreach, care, conduct, and concern.
What are the most important tasks on your to-do list?
My top priorities are to make sure that students know there is someone there to help them navigate through difficult situations. I want to make sure that our communication plan to students is strong and supportive for when they reach out to us in Student Affairs.
Is there anything from your own college experience that you will draw upon to help you in this role? Or any challenges you faced as a student that you want to try and help other students avoid?
I think it is important for students to know that there is someone available to help them advocate for themselves, or help them be better self-advocates. I remember as a student-athlete, when I made the difficult decision to hang up my hockey skates and not return for my second year, how important it was to get involved and to also utilize my resources around me. I was so focused on not playing my sport, that it took a member of the athletic staff to remind me that I still had my family in athletics and there were new adventures in front of me to go after. I always carry that perspective with me when working with students — that just because you chose to close a door, doesn’t mean another one isn’t there for you to open.
Any new initiatives or programs on the horizon?
I will be starting some Know the Code initiatives that focus around areas of student conduct.
Can you give examples of the sorts of things you can help students with? And how should they contact you?
Students may contact me any time they have a concern relating to their experience with the University. I also enjoy learning about a student’s journey and how I can best support and champion them in their difficulties and their successes. Students may reach me by phone at 814-865-0915 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In her role as assistant director and case manager, Jennifer Toof provides support, resources, and training to Penn State World Campus students, faculty, and staff, in partnership with World Campus and University Park Student Conduct. If during your education you encounter behaviors that are concerning, disruptive, or impeding your or other students’ performance, you can reach out to the World Campus Conduct, Care, and Concern staff to express your concerns.