Jeremy Battjes Appointed Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Chancellor Charles Robinson has named Jeremy Battjes as vice chancellor for student affairs effective Feb. 1. Battjes succeeds Melissa Harwood-Rom who served in an interim capacity for more than a year.
"With 20 years of experience working in both academic and student services within higher education at the U of A, Jeremy can help the Division of Student Affairs reimagine its role in the co-curricular experience, define priorities and unify behind specific objectives," Chancellor Charles Robinson said. "He has a vision that will help drive the division forward as part of our forthcoming strategic planning process."
"I want to sincerely thank Melissa Harwood-Rom for her leadership as interim vice chancellor and am grateful she will be continuing in her position as senior associate vice chancellor and dean of students," Robinson said. "Her role is critical to our mission, and she truly excels at advocating for and supporting our students.
Battjes joined the university in 2003 as a graduate assistant in the College of Education and Health Professions. He has been a facility coordinator, senior associate director and executive director for University Recreation as well as other senior leadership positions since that time.
In 2016 Battjes was named assistant dean for finance and administration in the College of Education and Health Professions. When University Recreation moved under the Division of Student Affairs in 2020, Battjes was named an assistant vice chancellor for Student Affairs and executive director of UREC. In May of 2021 Battjes became the associate vice chancellor for Finance and Administration for Student Affairs and transformed the finance and Human Resources operations, strategically bringing more efficiency to these functions and enhancing staff's knowledge of how these areas impact the division, and ultimately students.
Battjes said he is looking forward to this leadership role in part because of the experiences that he has been grateful to have in his time at the U of A with University Recreation, the College of Education and Health Professions, and Student Affairs.
"These roles have been opportunities for me to learn about the value of relationship building, engagement with stakeholders, assessment of needs and priorities, and the importance of thinking strategically and collaborating across departments," Battjes said. "I am eager to work across the division to identify priorities that will enhance and support the experience of our students, unify the efforts and sense of community of Student Affairs, and complement the university's strategic plan."
Battjes' approach to the Division's finances has been to empower staff to dive deep and really understand their budgets, and how those can impact operations and students' experiences.
"Student Affairs has exceptional staff members, many with long tenures in their roles. I intend to continue to empower staff to build upon their existing talents and abilities and also to incubate new ideas," Battjes said. "I'm excited to focus on long-term strategy, engaging staff along the way, knowing there are great leaders guiding day-to-day operations and that we are all learning all the time."
Battjes knows that the work of student affairs professionals and the division are vital to creating a culture of student success and belonging on this campus.
"Our division is essential to student success and we have the fortunate responsibility to create co-curricular experiences that complement the academic mission of the University of Arkansas," Battjes said. "We will create intentional opportunities for students to feel that they belong, are engaged, and are in a position to succeed and reach their ultimate goals of graduation and post-graduate success."
"I'm excited to celebrate and support the enormous, necessary and variety of work of the Division of Student Affairs," Battjes said. "I'm eager to continue learning, leading and exploring innovative and effective practices of serving students and creating space for them to thrive."
Battjes is married with three children. "He holds a Doctor of Education in higher education from the University of Arkansas, a Master of Education in recreation management from the University of Arkansas, and a Bachelor of Science in Education from Central Michigan University.
About the Division of Student Affairs: The Division of Student Affairs supports students in pursuing knowledge, earning a degree, finding meaningful careers, exploring diversity, and connecting with the global community. We provide students housing, dining, health care resources, and create innovative programs that educate and inspire. We enhance the University of Arkansas experience and help students succeed, one student at a time.
John Thomas, director of core communications
Scott Flanagin, executive director of communications
Division of Student Affairs
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