Ode to Our Business Manager

While everyone knows that education requires ever more funding,  often, most often,  in schools the needs of the program and the business office are in a tug of war, and indeed, this was also often the case here at Dublin in previous administrations. No more: I am continually astonished at the ways our Business Manager, Jen Whitesel, finds to provide more support for our programs and our faculty. First of all, Jen is extraordinarily attentive to the health and well-being of the people in this community. She has insisted on ensuring that all staff members are included with the faculty in programs, meetings, professional development, and parties. She finds ingenious ways to keep us insured and provide additional services even as costs rise. She has created a wellness program, initiated exercise classes on campus, and worked with the kitchen to improve nutrition in our meals.  She has created an Angel Fund to take care of community members in crises. She has found and allocated funds to support students on financial aid to participate in international travel programs. Somehow Jen adds to the professional development budget every year, and this year she is working on creating a special fund to support faculty in graduate programs beyond anything we have been able to provide in the past. When additional costs arise or when faculty are being asked to fulfill additional duties, Jen finds ways to squeeze extra dollars from our always-tight budget to be sure work is compensated. She has found a way to allow us to add an extra department, and also extra vehicles so we don’t have to drive vans when transporting smaller groups of students. Many offices have candy bowls, but Jen keeps extra bags of goodies in her closet, and has dog bones for canine visitors to her office.   She books massage therapists to come to campus to provide faculty massages in comment-writing weeks.  All these things would be considered above and beyond most business managers’ responsibilities, and she also takes care of things I may not even suspect, like audits and book-keeping. But Jen stays attuned to the fact that schools are created by people, and that people do their jobs better when they are treated well, feel well, and know they are supported. Her work every day is animated by the larger view that education and growth can only occur when students, staff and faculty are safe, healthy, and energized and recognized for their contributions. There is not a more humane, kinder, dedicated or more inspired business manager in education than Jen Whitesel.