Pioneer Spotlight: Jen Artz
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Jen Artz, assistant director of the Department of Residence Life, is in her 13th year at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. In this role, she supervises Dobson Hall, Hugunin Hall, Melcher Hall, Pickard Hall, Bridgeway Commons and Rountree Commons. Artz has a long-standing family tradition at UW-Platteville, including ties through her great-great aunt Bee A. Gardner, for whom Gardner Hall is named after.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The students. I love working with the students and seeing the growth that happens from when they are freshmen to working with them through the Residence Hall Association and as resident assistants. They swing into my office to tell me about an internship that they got or about something new that they learned in class. It is really rewarding to me to watch that happen and engage with students in that manner. You hear, “Oh the millennial generation.” I have a very positive experience with this generation. They are invested in their future and they want to help make changes. Working with them on their personal development is the most rewarding for me.
How did your interest in higher education begin?
Back in high school was when I was first intrigued by psychology classes. I wasn’t entirely sure that was the route that I wanted to go. As I worked as a community advisor at UW-Stevens Point, I changed my major from English education to psychology. Working with students through residence life really intrigued me. I have huge interests in mental health and stomping out stigma. I want to help students normalize the experiences that they are going through because we all have bad days and good days.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
There is not a typical workday for us in the Department of Residence Life. Right now, I am working with resident assistant interviews. I also work with resident directors on large projects, and that is very rewarding to me. They are such a great team of people, and each one is so student-focused. A typical day includes staying on top of emails and communicating with whoever comes into the office. I hear conduct cases between students. I meet with our students, and I meet with our central staff team. Soon, I will be focusing on room reservations and the occupancy of our residence halls.
What are your proudest accomplishments during your time at UW-Platteville?
On the personal side of things, I met my husband here at Platteville and we got married and have two babies. I think my family is definitely one of my proudest accomplishments. I get really excited when the department is honored. Right now, we are working through Boxes and Walls and the department received a front page story on the Telegraph Herald. A couple years back, I received the UW-Platteville advisor of the year through working with Residence Hall Association. That was very meaningful for me, because I love working with that group of students.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in counseling and residence life?
Counseling and the Department of Residence Life are two very separate subjects, but I think they can go together very well in the fields of Student Affairs and Higher Education. By working in this field, you need to have a base understanding of people and how they all think differently. There are a lot of different avenues that you can follow to work in the fields of residence life or student affairs, and counseling was just the one that I chose. There are many avenues that are acceptable. The field has more to do with the experience of understanding the residence halls and what it means to develop an inclusive community that is open for everyone, as well as understanding how to reach the individual to integrate with the community. The most important part is to gain the experience through learning about student affairs.
Interview conducted by Dalton Miles, student writer, Communications. To nominate someone for the Pioneer Spotlight, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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