Jocelyn started her career in campus recreation with Middle Tennessee State University in 1994 as an Assistant Director responsible for fitness and wellness programs. She opened up the first recreation center built on campus. She was at MTSU for five years. In August of 1999, she moved east to work at her graduate school alma mater, American University. She started out as an Assistant Manager of Jacobs Fitness Center. After four years, she and the manager became Recreational Sports and Fitness. Her title changed to Assistant Director of Recreational Sports and Fitness. Shortly thereafter Jocelyn became Associate Director. By 2007, she was promoted to Director of Recreational Sports and Fitness. She has worked at American University for over 18 years.
Jocelyn received her graduate degree in Health Fitness Management from American University. She received her B.S. degree from James Madison University, where she worked in the intramural program as an official. She also played club softball for two years while attending school.
Jocelyn has worked on several university committees and work teams. She served as a member of Staff Council, the President’s Council, a member of the Campus Life and Athletics Committee, and the Access and Disability work team. She completed the first-ever 21st Century Leadership Institute that identified university leaders across campus.
Jocelyn has been a NIRSA member for over 20 years. She has been active within NIRSA. Below are Jocelyn’s leadership involvement in NIRSA:
- State Director, 2005-2007
- Member of the National Nominations and Elections committee
- Member of the NIRSA Governance Committee
- Contributor of the Strategic Plan for NIRSA
- Founder of the HBCU Summit
- Chair of the 2012 Region I Regional Conference
- Chair of the 2017 Host Committee for the National Conference
- Co-chair Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Value
- Various regional committees
- Presenter at regional and NIRSA sponsored professional development events
Jocelyn is an active member of her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, where service to the community is one of their highest priorities.
What role do you envision for collegiate recreation in higher education?
I believe collegiate recreation will have a major impact in three key areas. The first is advocacy. Ever since we developed our strategic values, NIRSA has stressed the importance of letting our constituents know that we have values that are important to who we are and what we do. I do not believe NIRSA is in the lobbying business but I do see NIRSA as an influencer. We have over 600 institutional members and over 4500 members. The task for NIRSA is to maintain a balance with our advocacy.
The second area is our research. No one can tell our story better than we can. NIRSA has access to the best minds in campus recreation that will maintain our legitimacy and relevance. I would like to be a part of continuing these efforts to be leaders in campus recreation research.
The third key area is to continue to grow as leaders in student development. There are many stories about how our students become successful in their lives by participating or working in campus recreation. I want this area to continue to grow and flourish
In alignment with the NIRSA strategic plan, what are three priorities that you would identify and believe NIRSA should accomplish during your time on the board and why are these most important?
This is a difficult question considering we are in the process of updating our strategic plan. The next Board of Directors will be operating on a new strategic plan. I think there are key areas that the plan should direct its focus.
The first is membership. NIRSA is only as strong as its membership. We must continue to offer the best professional opportunities to our members. Because of our new governance, our members have more voice to help shape the Association.
The second area is advocacy. I would like to work with the Association to communicate NIRSA’s role for advocacy. I am not sure at this moment that it is clear to our membership NIRSA’s place on tough issues in our country. We need to work on clear distinctions of when the Association wants to influence policy and when the Association is promoting our values based on a specific situation.
The third area is being a resource leader for collegiate recreation. The new strategic plan should continue to emphasize the importance of the Association’s leadership within campus recreation. There should be no other group surpassing what we do and how we do it. Our leadership in collegiate recreation starts with compelling research, a robust membership and the diversity of our reach.
What attributes, experiences and knowledge could you contribute to the NIRSA Board of Directors that speak to the competency based requirements?
My experience as the Annual Director has helped me get an understanding of NIRSA’s Board of Directors and the importance of what we do. The decisions and discussions we have to help move our Association forward are incredible. I also believe my experience as a campus recreation director has helped my understanding of the fiduciary responsibilities to the Association.
My main attributes that will help me contribute to the Board of Directors are leadership, critical thinking, being a good communicator, and integrity.
Because I am always trying to do the right thing, I find myself in leadership roles. I do not shy away when asked to take on leadership opportunities. I also believe that being an effective leader means letting others lead you when necessary. I believe that would be helpful while serving on the NIRSA board.
It is important that I am able to use critical thinking to help make the best decisions for my unit as a director. Making rash decisions without analyzing the situation can lead to disaster. It is not possible to avoid all bad situations, but if you are able to gain as much information as possible to help with the decision, it will be easier to live with the outcome.
It is very important to be an effective communicator while serving in this position. I try to be concise and clear when I am communicating. Serving on the board requires not only effective communication, but also the art of listening.
Another attribute for this position is integrity. I take great pride in upholding the values I have been taught. I will always try to do what is right. I live my life with the motto of “do as I do and not as I say”. I want to always model that expected behavior. I have a passion for what I do. I believe campus recreation is just as important as other aspects of student life. I want to make sure our students leave our campus better then when they arrived.