BY CHRISTIANNA CASALETTO // OCT. 2, 2015 //
The director of residence life position was open for several months before Jennifer Maitino stepped in. Maitino started in June, while many of students were home for summer break. Now that the school year is in full swing, she is a new and important face on campus.
Maitino has a very strong background in residence life and higher education. She received a Masters of Education in Educational Policy, Research and Administration with a concentration in Higher Education from the University of Massachusetts. Maitino has her bachelors in psychology from UMASS Amherst as well.
Before coming to Curry, she was the Associate Director of Housing and Residential Life at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston and worked several years at Bentley University as the Assistant Director of Residence Life following employment as a Residence Director.
Although she enjoyed her time at both Wentworth and Bentley, Maitino said she was looking for a place that had a broader base of academic offerings, which would enable her to work with a variety of students.
“I did miss being on a traditional campus,” Maitino explained. “I saw working at Curry as an opportunity to certainly do some of the things I have done, but also for me to grow professionally and take on more of a leadership role.”
Maitino shared that she was excited to start at Curry where there is already “some good stuff” in the works for Res Life.
“I think it’s great to be able to build and grow a department, but it’s always great when there’s some good seeds planted.”
The only changes currently in the works involve updating the RA training program. According to Maitino, the RA program is moving in “a really solid direction.” Although she isn’t able to work one-on-one with the RA staff as often as she’d like, Maitino works with the RA’s indirectly by creating processes and larger department initiatives. “If we have a really strong and engaged staff then we’re going to be able to engage students.”
There are many misconceptions surrounding Res Life, particularly around the RA position. One of the bigger misconceptions Maitino addressed was that the primary role of an RA is documentation and dealing with negative behavior. “I have yet to meet an RA whose favorite part of the job is having to document students.” She stated that Res Life’s main goal is to build a community and to make the residence halls both physically and emotionally safe. “Ultimately, the Res Life Staff are all in this because we want students to be successful.”
More than anything else, Maitino’s stressed her department’s main goal – making Curry feel like a home for the residents. “Regardless of the physical structure of a building and the layout, whether it’s new, whether it’s old, feeling that sense of connection to the other students in your hall, to the professional staff, to the student staff can make such a difference.” A major component in making this goal a reality are the Residence Assistant and Community Director staff, which Maitino said she has the upmost confidence in.
Although Maitino has only been a Colonel for four months, she’s already bleeding purple. When asked “Why Curry?” Maitino was quick to answer with excitement. She is thoroughly enjoying being part of a community that is continuing to thrive, grow and develop.
“I could do the job anywhere,” Maitino said. “But finding a place where people take pride in the community is not something you can necessarily find everywhere.”
Maitino made the observation that “students, faculty and staff alike are proud to be a part of the Curry community.” Now the proud owner of a Curry sweatshirt, Maitino is excited to show her Curry pride in the cooler fall weather, along with the rest of the Colonels.
RA applications will be available at the end of October to fill positions in January. Applications for full time positions in the 2016-2017 school year will be available in November. The Campus Life office is looking for “quality, qualified students” who are invested in “helping Curry be the best place it can be.”