Marly Doty recently joined the Penn State World Campus team as the director of Student Affairs. We asked her to share some insight about her background and what she hopes to accomplish in her new role.
Tell us about your background in Student Affairs and student engagement. Are there specific experiences or skills that you think will be helpful in this role?
I have spent the past 16 years of my professional career at the Penn State DuBois campus, including 10 years in Student Affairs and six years as a faculty member in Education and Human Development and Family Studies. In 2008, I founded the alternative spring break service-learning experience, which later became an embedded experience in a course. Through this engaged scholarship opportunity, I traveled with students all over the United States to further engage them in connecting with social issues like poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity. I was also the first-year seminar coordinator at the DuBois campus, where I developed a first-year mentor program for first-year students. I believe my holistic approach to the student experience at a commonwealth campus will be helpful in this role at World Campus.
What are you looking forward to accomplishing in this role?
The Student Affairs team at World Campus is a great one! I am looking forward to continuing the growth of this unit and to further collaborations within World Campus and across the University.
What first interested you in the field of student affairs?
As an undergraduate student, I was heavily involved. I started as an orientation leader, became the president of the student-PSEA chapter and a Lion Ambassador, and ended as the vice president for the student government association. I found a lot of value in the co-curricular learning experience. After completing my internship in Student Affairs, my passion for Student Affairs was solidified. Being involved not only made college enjoyable but also gave me the opportunity to build a lot of skills that would be applicable once I graduated.
Can you talk about the benefits to students of becoming more involved?
Beyond my own testimonial, there is research and theory that goes into Student Affairs and the methods we employ. As a student, being involved provides a multi-pronged approach to growth and development. Students get the chance to build interpersonal skills, navigate group dynamics, and gain lots of other skills employers are looking for upon graduation. Moreover, students are more likely to persist when they make a meaningful connection with someone. Being involved can also increase student satisfaction in their college career. There is a lot of power in networking through their peers, both inside and outside the classroom. I’ve witnessed some lifelong friendships develop from being involved.
You’re a Penn State graduate. What are some of your favorite highlights from your time as a student?
As a Penn State alum, some of my favorite student highlights include being a THON dancer during the last year to dance for 48 hours. [In 2007, the THON dancing period decreased from 48 hours to 46 hours.] The annual Penn State Summer Leadership Conference has also been memorable in meeting students from across Penn State as we all grew as student leaders. These two highlights were so rewarding to me and my peers that, as a Student Affairs professional, I have found ways to advise or serve with these initiatives to this day.